GGF notebook: Eagles earn top seed
Going to the polls wasn't easy for Mike Marek this spring. Marek's East Grand Forks Sacred Heart girls fastpitch softball team takes the No. 1 seed in the South Division into the Minnesota Section 8A tournament, which begins next week. In a 5 p.m...
Going to the polls wasn't easy for Mike Marek this spring.
Marek's East Grand Forks Sacred Heart girls fastpitch softball team takes the No. 1 seed in the South Division into the Minnesota Section 8A tournament, which begins next week. In a 5 p.m. first-round game Tuesday, Sacred Heart hosts the winner of the Norman County West-Hillsboro/Fertile-Beltrami play-in game.
Section seeding is done by a vote of coaches.
"I think the seeding voting was the hardest it's ever been," Marek said. "This year, there are so many teams that could have been No. 1 -- everybody has been beating everybody else up. (The No. 1 seed) is an advantage. But you still have to play at a high level."
Sacred Heart is 11-4 despite an injury that has kept ace pitcher Tracy Roach off the mound most of the season. Lindsey Marek has stepped in as the top pitcher. She's been helped by an offense that has scored 10 or more runs in more than half the Eagles' games. Leadoff hitter Tia Klein and Roach in the No. 3 spot in the order have been the most consistent hitters.
"Our offense has played really well," Mike Marek said. "We've hit the ball hard, and our lineup is deep. We don't have many easy outs. The offense has carried us. Tia and Tracy have been consistent. The rest of the girls all have had their moments. If one part of the lineup isn't hitting, another part usually is picking it up."
n While the Eagles open at home, East Grand Forks Senior High figures to be on the road for a first-round game in the 8AA fastpitch playoffs Tuesday.
The Green Wave were 3-10 going into a pair of games Friday. While the Wave have rebounded from an 0-9 start, which included five 1-run losses, Senior High coach Heidi Spicer anticipates that her team will be a lower seed. The 8AA seeding will be completed by Monday.
"This year, I don't know if the seeding matters a lot," Spicer said. "In our subsection, I think most of the teams are pretty even. Most of us have inexperienced pitchers and most of us have been hitting the ball pretty well.
"Our pitcher, Karly Nelson, has gotten better. Our defense is better than earlier in the year. And our baserunning has improved -- when you lose all of those one-run games like we have, mistakes on the bases are big."
Here's a look at other local teams entering the postseason next week:
Grand Forks Central and Red River play in the East Region baseball tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Wahpeton. The top four finishers advance to the North Dakota Class A state tournament.
Seeding won't be done until next week. Red River coach Mark Varriano, whose team is 11-7 in the region, figures to have a top-four seed. The trio of Brian Lillemoen, Taylor Steen and Jesse Sturman lead a deep pitching staff.
"Our pitchers have kept us in games," Varriano said. "They've done a good job. But if we don't hit, we'll struggle. And hitting has been a struggle. We've had to scratch and claw for every run."
Steen has been the Riders' most consistent hitter.
Central, 6-11 in the region, is looking at a No. 7 or No. 8 seed, co-coach Kyle Beckstead said. Pitchers Gage Salquist and Taylor Cantrell have been consistent for the Knights, while Cantrell and Nick Moe have been the leading hitters.
"The biggest thing for us is our pitchers throwing strikes," Beckstead said. "They've been pretty consistent. And our defense has done its job. And we've been able to get baserunners. But we've left plenty of them on base."
EGF in subsection
East Grand Forks Senior will compete Thursday in its subsection track meet at 3 p.m. at Crookston. The top five placers in individual events and the top two placers in relays qualify for the Minnesota Section 8A meet.
Green Wave boys coach Kirk Misialek points to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton as the team to beat. Senior jumper Marshal Pederson figures to be the Wave's top title contender, with thrower Beau Scheving, vaulter Josh Regorrah, hurdler Jake Kallock and 400 runner Alex Miller also expected to contend.
"If Marshal hits his marks, he's a favorite in all three events," Misialek said. "He's made 6 feet in the high jump, 42 feet in the triple jump and he's been close to 20 feet in the long jump. Those are good numbers."
Senior High coach Liesa Hanson looks at Crookston as the favorite in the girls division with its depth and strong throwing corps. The Green Wave have two top title contenders in Jaclyn Scanlan in the 800 and Marina Galstad in the 3,200.
"Jaclyn and Marina are looking very good," Hanson said. "They're both unbeaten against Section 8A runners. And we're looking at our 4x400 and 4x800 relays to do well."
Wave in subsection
East Grand Forks Senior High will play in the Minnesota North Subsection 8A boys and girls golf tournament Thursday in Warroad, beginning at 10 a.m. The top three teams, as well as the top six individuals on non-advancing teams, qualify for the Section 8AA tournament.
Neil Thompson and Brock Amundson have been the most consistent golfers for the Green Wave boys team. Coach Jay Frydenlund points to Roseau, Crookston and Warroad as the favorites.
"We'd have to play really well to knock one of them off," Frydenlund said. "They've been the top three all year. We've consistently been No. 4. But individually, I think we have several kids who could advance."
Roseau and Crookston are the top two in the girls division, Senior High coach Paula Hedlund said. "After that, I think we have a good shot advancing as a team," Hedlund said.
The Wave have had three consistent players in Kelsey Schlenk, Maggie Tweten and Karley Thiel. "We need somebody else to step up and shoot under 100," Hedlund said. "And a couple of our other girls are capable of doing that."
Ryan seeded first
East Grand Forks Senior High's Joel Ryan takes the No. 1 seed in the Minnesota Section 8A boys tennis singles tournament.
The 8A tournament begins Monday with dual quarterfinals at the highest seeds. The dual tournament concludes Tuesday in Park Rapids, with the winner advancing to state. Singles and doubles play is Tuesday and Thursday in Park Rapids, with the top two finishers qualifying for state.
Ryan advanced to state last season as the 8A runner-up. "He's our best chance to get to state," EGF coach Jim Wyatt said. "It won't be easy, by any means. But Joel is playing a little better than he was last year. He's working harder and is more focused."
Wyatt said Logan Engelstad of Thief River Falls and Alex Renner of Park Rapids are Ryan's top challengers. The Prowlers' Connor Hutton and Micah Rodahl are seeded first in doubles, while Thief River Falls is No. 1 in the dual tournament. Senior High, seeded third, hosts Wadena-Deer Creek in a 4:30 p.m. quarterfinal Monday.