Bill Bentson: Louisiana wins Little League World Series, fall sports get underway

By: 
Bill Bentson
Wheelin' with WEB

Do you have a television routine? I kinda do, especially in the early part of the evening. I watch the national news at 5:30 p.m. and then I tune in the local news. That starts, usually, after my wife fixes me (us) a scrumptious evening meal.

After the news, I get into Wheel of Fortune. I’m also surfing, especially checking out the public television stations.

If you’re not aware, the public television stations have a lot of concerts. I really like those that include music from yester-year. This past Tuesday night was no exception. I came across a Bee Gees concert.

I just love the sound of the Bee Gees. The concert I saw was part of a tour back in 1989 (I believe), featuring three of the brothers: Barry, Robin and Maurice. What a unique sound!

The Little League World Series (LLWS) is over. Louisiana is your winner, beating Curacao (international champion), 8-0. Following the game there was an interview with the winning pitcher. During the interview he said, “I’ve dreamt of this since I was a kid.” Really? He’s 12 years old! One of Louisiana’s players, Reece Roussel, had 17 hits during the World Series, which set a new record. He went 17/23 in the LLWS.

In the new format, since 2001, Louisiana is the first team to lose its first game and come back and win it all.

Also making history was Maddie Freking, female shortstop on the Coon Rapids/Andover team. Freking is known for her defensive prowess on the field. Only 19 girls have played in the Little League World series in the 72-year history of the LLWS, and Maddie is one of those. Another Minnesota gal, Krissy Wendell, (1994) played when the Brooklyn Center team made it to the LLWS. You may remember Krissy from her hockey fame at the University of Minnesota and on the national teams.

Most notable of all the girls has probably been Mo’ne Davis, Philadelphia (2014). Davis was featured during this past LLWS on the “kids broadcast” of the World Series. Davis has now graduated from high school and will be attending Hampton University, Hampton, Va., this fall. Davis originally (back in 2014) wanted to play basketball in college, but has decided to keep her spikes and play softball for the Lady Pirates.

There have only been seven Minnesota teams in the Little League World Series: Duluth Central (1963), East Tonka (1985, Minnetonka), Brooklyn Center (1994), Little Lakes West (1995, Arden Hills), Coon Rapids (2007), Plymouth/New Hope (2010) and Coon Rapids/Andover (2019). I believe Coon Rapids/Andover went 1-2 in Williamsport this past summer.

Volleyball

The volleyball season is underway. The Southeast Conference (SEC) has had several conference matches already. By the time you read this WEB, Saturday, Monday or Tuesday, there would have only been a couple Three Rivers Conference (TRC) matches, but will get going in earnest Thursday, Sept. 5.

Lee Epps is going to send me the SEC standings, so we’ll have that for our Reader readers again this fall.

The next update on the state rankings is Sept. 2, so should have something new is next week’s WEB. In case you forgot, Section One A has four teams in the top ten: Kenyon-Wanamingo (1), Medford (2), Mabel-Canton (6) and Caledonia (8). When it comes to the sub-section tournaments, which will be here sooner than you want them, K-W and Medford are in the West sub-section and M-C and Caledonia are in the East sub-section.

In the Class AA rankings, Stewartville is number one and Kasson-Mantorville is number six. The AA class is also in sub-sections, East and West. Interestingly, Red Wing is in the West and Stewartville is in the East. I don’t think it was accidental that K-M is in the West sub-section and Stewartville is in the East sub-section. The same scenario could have been created, simply by cross-bracketing the final four (two from each sub-section), without making it so obvious.

When you get down to the final two in each sub-section, the top in the West should play the number-two team in the East and the top in the East should play the number-two team in the West. That’s what should be happening in Class A this year, especially if K-W and Medford remain as the top two teams in Section 1A.

Football

Thanks to Brad Johnson, Section One A executive director, I have the correct teams in each of the football sections.

I don’t really know what is happening with the Minnesota State High School League website, but something isn’t right. I mentioned last week that Wrenshall was listed in Section 1A football.

I found another interesting tidbit. When I went to the full schedule for Ada-Borup-West football I saw that ABW is playing Lake Park-Audubon at Caswell Park, Underwood at UMD, and Fosston and Waker-Hackensack-Akeley at Lake of the Woods.

There doesn’t seem to be any explanation anyplace either.

I’m already experiencing getting scores from any source for volleyball, so just hope that all the coaches are really diligent on getting me their stats and scores.

Here are the teams in each of our sections, down here in southeast Minnesota.

Nine-man: Grand Meadow, Houston, Kingsland, Lanesboro, LeRoy-Ostrander, Mabel-Canton, Southland and Spring Grove.

1A: Blooming Prairie, Fillmore Central, Goodhue, Hayfield, Randolph, Rushford-Peterson and Wabasha-Kellogg. Only seven teams this year. Somebody is getting a bye when it comes time for playoffs.

1AA: Caledonia, Chatfield, Dover-Eyota, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Lewiston-Altura, St. Charles, Triton and Cotter/Hope Lutheran. No bye this year.

1AAA: Pine Island, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Rochester Lourdes, Stewartville, Waseca and Zumbrota-Mazeppa. There are only six teams, two byes.

Think section football with only four teams making the playoffs. I used to think it was OK to reward a team for being number-one, but not any more. A bye is such a physical advantage.

If your team didn’t make the playoffs and you want to play a friendly game with somebody, go for it! If the League, or section, is worried about loss of revenue for those first-round games not being played, charge the teams a fee to play that extra game to help defray the loss of those playoff games.

I also think a game between the number-one and number-four seeds and the second and third seeds will be much more competitive than a game between number-one and number-eight (or number-two vs. number-seven, etc.). Generally speaking, the only good game in the first round was usually between the number-four and number-five seeds. Now I know that a number-five, number-six or number-seven will sneak into the second round, but not usually.

Bits and pieces

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals pitcher, has exceeded 200 strikeouts this season, his eighth season in a row. Tom Seaver, New York Mets, holds the record with nine 200 strikeout-seasons in a row.

Jonathan Schoop became the seventh Minnesota Twins player to hit more than 20 homeruns in a single season. This ties the major league record, shared by the Baltimore Orioles (1996, 2017), Toronto Blue Jays (2000, 2010), Texas Rangers (2005), New York Yankees (2009) and the LA Dodgers (2018).

Schoop hit two homeruns in the game against the White Sox this past Tuesday, and now has 21. The other Twins “Bombas” are Max Kepler (35), Eddie Rosario (27), C.J. Cron (21), Nelson Cruz (33), Miguel Sano (26) and Mitch Garver (24).

The Twins are likely to hold that record all by themselves, as Jorge Polanco is sitting at 19 homers and Marwin Gonzalez is at 15.

The next record could be made with more than 30. There are several teams with four players at more than 30. Maybe?

I’d rather have the team go deep into the playoffs, and maybe even get into the World Series!

I ran into some of my Reader fans recently. Herm and Linda Freese were at the state fair last Friday, taking in the WCCO (Morning News with Dave Lee) “Minnesota Hospital” show. They were former Fountain residents and have now moved to Grand Meadow. They were/are friends with the Speers (Stan and Sharon) in Fountain and I saw that Shannon Speer Knoepke was giving them the grand tour around the WCCO facility at the state fair.

Also, Dean and Teresa Narveson were at the Fillmore Central versus Hayfield volleyball match last week. They have a connection (relative) with one of the Hayfield players (McKenna Chick). Abby Nosbisch (granddaughter, Chatfield volleyball player) was there, too, so she was doubling-up with the relative thing and probably scouting.

That’s going to do it for me for another week. Wow, school has started. Where did the summer go? Last week’s road trip was only 1,004 miles. I gave the Ford a break! Hey to the Great 8, my Fab 4 and my super, understanding, wife. Thanks, Melissa, and to you, the greatest weekly readers in the country. Hasta luego, my friends. Get out and enjoy some high school activities.

Easy does it, one day at a time. WEB