Bill Bentson: Spring sports teams deep into tournament action

Bill Bentson
Wheelin' with WEB

I’ve probably told this story before, but when we wintered in Texas (three years), the natives down there would ask us, “What do you do in the summertime in Minnesota?” My answer was always the same, “If it falls on a Sunday, we go on a picnic.”

Believe it or not, summer is here. Not officially, but temperature-wise. Today we were in the low 80s. Hallelujah!

In the past week I’ve had two road trips, one was 756 miles and the other is 422 miles.

Last Thursday I was up and out of here (Halstad) by 6 a.m., headed for Wabasha-Kellogg High School to do the public address (PA) announcing for the 1A East sub-section softball games. I got done with the two games and was back in my truck for the return trip home. I got home about 2:30 a.m., wrote three sports stories for the Chatfield News and got to bed about 6 a.m. My wife, Carol, got me up about 7:22 a.m. as we had to get to the Sanford Clinic in Fargo for some tests. Needless to say, when I got back home I hopped on my bed for a two-to-three-hour nap. I’ll get into the softball playoffs later in this WEB.

This past Tuesday (yesterday, as I’m writing this Wednesday night) I went up to Baudette to watch the Ada-Borup West softball team play in their sub-section tournament. I had never been to Baudette before and I found the trip to be most satisfying. The softball game wasn’t so great, as our Cougar gals lost to Red Lake Falls (8-2), which ended their season.

Going up I went through Bagley, Bemidji, Turtle River, Tenstrike, Blackduck, Kelliher and Waskish. After Waskish there were no more towns until I got to Baudette. Coming home I headed west first and went through Warroad, Roseau, Salol, Badger and then headed south at Greenbush. I suppose all these northern towns are common for you fishermen, but it was all new territory for me. A lot of the drive was pretty similar to any other drive, cows, trees, big fields, but it felt exciting. I was on top of Minnesota and it felt pretty great! That Marvin Windows plant in Warroad was awesome, probably covering a six-block square area.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see Lake of the Woods in Baudette, but was told later than the town is down river (Rainy River) from the lake. But when I got to Warroad I got a full-view at a park on the north side of town. Wow! That, too, was awesome. 

The next time I head that far north again, I will get into Canada.

So much for the road trips, although I’m making a couple shorter ones on Thursday (Fergus Falls, track) and Saturday (East Grand Forks, also track). I still have the state tournaments coming up that will take me to North Mankato (softball), St. Paul (track), Becker (golf) and Jordan (baseball). Also have to get down to Grove City for a parade that grandson, Payton, will be marching in with his drumline.


Section track stuff is happening this week, so will get state qualifiers into the paper (for Chatfield) next week. I wrongfully stated, or showed, that four qualified from each sub-section. Only three automatically qualified, and then any others who made standard, or were top 8, would advance. I think it only affected one athlete. My apologies for the error.


The first round of the section golf meet was held this past Tuesday. The finals were on Thursday. Class A played their sections at Willow Creek and the AA schools were up in Cannon Falls. I’ll get the state qualifiers in next week’s paper, too. They will have a whole week off before the state meet, which will be on June 11 and 12. Class A will be in Becker and Class AA in Jordan.

The golf coaches association came out with a new ranking this past week, probably the last one going into the state meet.

Madison Scheevel has moved into the top spot in Class A girls. Hailey Lange is ranked number 21 and Taylor Bushman is at number 22. The Fillmore Central team is ranked fourth, behind BOLD, Lac qui Parle Valley and Park Christian. Last week Caledonia was at number five, one spot ahead of the Falcons, and this week, nothing. What’s that all about? Surely a team doesn’t drop out of the top five in the state after winning a conference championship. Is somebody trying to play a game, other than golf? Really?

The Lady Falcons had their five-year Three Rivers Conference championship run come to an end last week. Caledonia won the Three Rivers girls crown.

The Fillmore Central girls also have a five-year run on the section championship. Is that coming to an end this year too? We’ll know by this weekend, after Thursday’s final round of play.

For the boys, Jake Fishbaugher is ranked 30th in the state. Wyatt Pruter, Kingsland, was ranked, but I don’t see his name this week. None of the area boys teams are ranked in Class A.

Red Wing is ranked number three for both the boys and girls teams and Lake City is the number-two ranked girls’ team in Class AA.


Most of the sections around the state, all four classes, are down to two, or maybe three teams. I think maybe there is one section that will crown its champion on Friday, May 31, but the rest will be done on Thursday, May 30.

Section 1A has Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (21-0) going up against Mabel-Canton (15-7). WEM is undefeated and M-C has one loss.

Here’s last week’s final rankings, and the team’s current record and status.

1. New York Mills (22-2)…only undefeated team left of three in Section 6.

2. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (21-0)…in Section 1 finals against Mabel-Canton.

3. Randolph (22-2)…Section 4 champion.

4. Carlton (15-6)…knocked out of Section 7 tournament by Cherry.

5. NCE/UH Titans (19-5)…one loss in Section 8 tournament, one of three remaining.

6. Badger/GB-MR (20-4)…undefeated in Section 8.

6. New Ulm Cathedral (21-2)…undefeated in Section 2.

8. Cherry (22-4)…one loss in Section 7.

8. Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (21-4)…knocked out by Lac qui Parle Valley (18-5) in Section 3.

8. Red Lake Falls (21-5)…one loss in Section 8.

The lowest seed in any section is Mt. Lake Area (No. 4, Section 2A). They’re going up against number-one New Ulm Cathedral.

Class AA rankings from last week, and how they’re doing now.

1. (1) Maple Lake (22-1), in Section 5 finals against Norwood-Young America.

2. (2) Cotter/Hope Lutheran (22-3), Section 1 finals against Lourdes.

3. (6) Zumbrota-Mazeppa (19-5), knocked out of Section 1 by Chatfield (19-6).

4. (7) Norwood-Young America (21-2), in Section 5 finals with one loss.

4. (5) Park Rapids Area (23-2), one loss in Section 8.

6. (8) Thief River Falls (22-3), no losses in Section 8.

7. (3) Rochester Lourdes (20-2), no losses in Section 1.

8. (4) Pipestone Area (21-2), no losses in Section 3.

9. (13) St. Cloud Cathedral (18-3), one loss in Section 6, against Annandale (16-7).

10. (10) Proctor (20-4), one loss in 7 AA finals against Esko (17-6).

All AA teams in the final two, or final three, of every section, are number-one, number-two or number-three seeds, in the section, or their sub-section.

Number-one seeds that are out of the tournament, in all classes, are Wabasha-Kellogg (1A East), Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (1A North), Sebeka (5A West), Upsala (6A South), Zumbrota-Mazeppa (1AA West), Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta (3AA North), Hill-Murray (4AAA), Sartell-St. Stephen (8AAA), Lakeville North (1AAAA), and Chanhassen (2AAAA).

The biggest surprise is Visitation (10-13) is the number-seven seed in 3AAA and is going up against Holy Angels (15-7) in the finals.

The state softball tournament is Thursday and Friday, June 6 and 7, in North Mankato. If you’re a softball fan, you want to be there. They have at least eight fields that they can use at Caswell Park and a great sight line for the main four fields. Well, a great sight line for us media people. We get to stand up above the fields and look down at all the action. Great view.

NCAA softball

Are you following our Lady Gophers? They take on UCLA in the first round of the College Softball World Series. First game was this past Thursday, I believe. Wouldn’t it be great if the gals could bring home a championship in their first appearance at the tournament?


Some of the sections around the state are just getting going. I’ll bring everybody up to speed next week. In the meantime, check out or the league website.

The latest numbers that I saw, 3,566 of 3,568 baseball scores have been reported and posted and 3,730 of 3,731 softball scores are up. Those are some pretty good numbers.

That will do it for me. Hope you have a great week, one day at a time. Hey to my Fab 4, the Great 8 and my lovely wife, Carol. You are the greatest and the bestest! Thanks, Melissa. Don’t get too anxious now that this is coming in Wednesday night, early Thursday morning. Thanks to all the sponsors. Hey, Joe, how’s the show? Keep shakin’ those dice boys! WEB