Bill Bentson: As state tournaments continue, another road trip awaits

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Bill Bentson
Wheelin' with WEB

It’s 4:22 a.m. Thursday morning. As soon as I get this WEB done, I’ll be heading off to the state softball tournament in North Mankato. Should have gotten my article done last night, but didn’t have my writers “feel” last night.

This upcoming weekend is/was the start of the state tournaments for me. I usually spend one day (Thursday) at the softball tournament, then I head up to Hamline University for the state track meet. For many years I did some radio broadcasting for the state track meet, but the last couple of years I’ve been more spectator, but still cover some athletes for the newspaper.

Chatfield has a couple relay teams in the meet this year, but will also be keeping an eye on Tucker Peterson (Pillager, 100m, 200m), Jordyn VanVickle (Pillager, long jump, 400m, 200m), Mason Miller (Ada-Borup/West, shot put, discus), Ben Oie (Pillager, discus) and Verdis Barber (Ada-Borup/West, high jump).

Even though I don’t cover Fillmore Central/Lanesboro for the paper, I do report on them for the WEB. A couple years ago I predicted that Emma Breitsprecher (LFC, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles) would be a state champion. If she follows the right steps, she could be a double-winner this year.

Another trackster I have a special interest in is Carson Kiehne (LFC, 400m). Carson’s dad, Benjy (Harmony), ran on the sprint medley relay team that my son, Jim, (Preston-Fountain) anchored (800m) for a state championship back in 1990. It wasn’t Fillmore Central in 1990, but a sports co-op between Preston-Fountain and Harmony. Lanesboro and Preston-Fountain/Harmony hooked up in 1991, 1992 (state True Team champion), 1993 (state True Team champion) and then in 1994 (state True Team champion) they became Lanesboro/Fillmore Central, and have been LFC ever since.

Hopefully, I’ll get into this year’s track participants a little later. Space for the article may limit this week’s pre-meet coverage, but I’ll have all the results for next week’s weekly Reader.

Whalan fastpitch

I got a copy of Whalan’s girls fastpitch schedule for this summer from Kim Reimann, and then talked with Everett Johnson, Whalan’s softball guru to confirm everything.

On June 6 they a hosted a double-header between Dover-Eyota and Chatfield (12 and under). Other dates to put on your schedule include June 17 (double header, 18 and under, Gamblers vs. Winona), June 27 (double header, 18 and under, Winstars vs. Gamblers) and July 2 (double header, 12 and under). I didn’t have teams listed for that special July 2 date, but I do know that is a special day!

The annual Fourth of July Whalan Fastpitch Tournament is taking a twist this year: July 4 (all day tourney, 12 and under), July 6 (all day tournament, 14 and under) and July 7 (all day tourney, 18 and under).

All of the competition is for girls’ fastpitch. Thanks, Kim and Everett, for the great info. Hope you keep me posted on the results. If you like fastpitch softball, you’re going to want to be in Whalan!

And speaking of fastpitch softball. I saw about 85% of the NCAA softball tournament in Oklahoma City on television. Wow! Congratulations to UCLA on their victory over Oklahoma. What a great tournament.

State softball match-ups

By the time most of you read this article, the tournament will be over. I’ll get the results in next week’s article, just in case this is your only source for sports news (I hardly believe it would be, but just in case).

Class A. South Ridge (18-5) vs. New York Mills (No. 1, 23-2), Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (No. 5, 21-4) vs. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, No. 4, 22-0), Isle (18-3) vs. Randolph (No. 2, 22-2), and New Ulm Cathedral (22-2) vs. Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian (No. 3, 17-5).

Teams in the state tournament and their final state ranking (coaches association): New York Mills (No. 1), Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (No. 2), Randolph (No. 3), New Ulm Cathedral (tied for No. 6), Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (tied for No. 6), Isle (No. 13), Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian (tied for No. 14) and South Ridge (not ranked, at-all or ever during the season).

Class AA. Esko (18-6) vs. Norwood-Young America (No. 1, 23-2), LeSueur-Henderson (No. 5, 18-7) vs. Thief River Falls/Goodridge (No. 4, 23-3), Annandale (17-8) vs. Rochester Lourdes (No. 2, 22-3), and Concordia Academy-Roseville (21-4) vs. Pipestone Area (No. 3, 24-2).

Teams in the state tourney and their final state ranking (coaches association): Norwood-Young America (NYA) (tied for 4th), TRF/Goodridge (6th), Lourdes (7th), Pipestone Area (8th), and Concordia Academy-Roseville (14th). Esko (as high as tied for 8th), Annandale (as high as tied for 9th) and LeSueur-Henderson (as high as 9th) were not listed in the final state rankings. NYA beat Maple Lake twice in the Section 5 finals to knock out the top-ranked team. Cotter (No. 2), Zumbrota-Mazeppa (No. 3) and Chatfield (13th) were all in Section 1, which was won by Rochester Lourdes.

Class AAA. Mankato West (23-1, No. 1), Northfield (18-3, No. 3), Cloquet (19-4, No. 5), Benilde-St. Margaret’s (16-8, No. 6), Becker (19-5, No. 13), and Mahtomedi (13-8-1, No. 14) all made the state tournament and all made the final state rankings in Class AAA. Detroit Lakes (17-6) is in this year’s state tournament and got a top ranking of 13th during the season. Visitation (11-14) beat the first, second and third seeds in the Section 3AAA tournament to reach this year’s state tournament, but was no-where to be found in the state rankings, anytime during the season. Congratulations, Lady Blazers, on a great run and good luck at the state tournament. Their first opponent at state was number-one seed and number-one ranked Mankato West.

Class AAAA. At the end of the day, St. Michael-Albertville (STMA) (19-5), Edina (16-7) and Eden Prairie (19-6), which all made this year’s state tournament, did not make the final rankings. STMA did get as high as a tie for 15, but the other two, “not a smell.” In the final rankings, Forest Lake was number one, Maple Grove was number two, East Ridge was third, Stillwater Area was number ten and Farmington was tied for 14th.


Class A. Hayfield (22-2) eked out an 8-7 win over Spring Grove (No. 29, 16-8) to win the Section 1A crown. Hayfield also has the number-two QRF ranking ( in the state. The QRF ranking is the only comparison we have, state-wide, in baseball this year. So, any rankings I use will be those of the QRF.

The Class A state tournament is going to be played at Jordan, Chaska (consolation) and Target Field (championship game) on Thursday, Friday and Thursday, June 13, 14 and 20. Everyone should be able to use their ace in game one and in the championship game, with five days between game one and the championship game.

As of this writing, Thursday morning, Section One is the only section that has determined a champion. Here are the other match-ups around the state, knowing that when you read this, one of the teams listed will be the champion. The high school league website and Minnesota-scores website will have the state tournament match-ups.

The team listed first will be the undefeated team in the section, and the ranking showed is the state QRF. Section 2, BOLD (No. 1, 16-5) vs. Springfield (No. 3, 20-4). Section 3, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (No. 6, 19-1) vs. Lac qui Parle Valley (No. 20, 16-6). Section 4, Randolph (No. 5, 20-2) vs. Goodhue (No. 37, 10-13). Section 5, Sebeka (No. 15, 17-7) vs. Menahga (No. 51, 8-13). Section 6, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (No. 10, 13-9) vs. New York Mills (No. 4, 16-4) or Parkers Prairie (No. 22, 13-11). Section 7, South Ridge (No. 7, 19-5) vs. Ely (No. 11, 18-6). Section 8, East Grand Forks Sacred Heart (No. 21, 12-8) vs. Fosston (No. 17, 16-6).

If an “if necessary” game (when an undefeated team gets beat) is needed, it is scheduled for right after the first game. I’m not sure when the “if necessary” game for Section 6 is scheduled. I really hope they don’t make somebody play a third game on the same day. Ouch! They have done that up here in softball, and I think that is totally outrageous!

Class AA. La Crescent (No. 7, 21-5) came back from the losers bracket to defeat Caledonia (No. 17,19-5) twice and win the 1AA crown. Here are the rest of the AA match-ups, same format as in Class A.

Section 2, St. Peter (No. 13, 18-5) vs. LeSueur-Henderson (No. 15, 21-4). Section 3, Paynesville (No. 10, 20-2) vs. Luverne (No. 9, 21-3). Section 4, Minnehaha Academy (No. 2, 17-4) vs. St. Paul Johnson (No. 24, 17-5). Section 5, Glencoe-Silver Lake (No. 19, 18-5) vs. Holy Family Catholic (No. 11, 14-7). Section 6, Pierz (No. 5, 21-3) vs. Foley (No. 3, 22-3). Section 7, Duluth Marshall (No. 1, 22-1) vs. Esko (No. 22, 18-7). Section 8, Perham (No. 4, 21-2) vs. East Grand Forks (No. 16, 18-5) or Wadena-Deer Creek (No. 14, 23-2).

There are some champions decided in Class AAA and AAAA: Austin (1AAA), St. Thomas Academy (3AAA), Monticello (5AAA), Little Falls (8AAA), New Prague (1AAAA), Eden Prairie (2AAAA), East Ridge (3AAAA), Stillwater Area (4AAAA), Mounds View (5AAAA), and Blaine (7AAAA).

Again, all the results can be found on Minnesota-scores or the league website.

It looks like I’m out of space, so have to pass on the other info for track.

I am ready for another road trip in the making. Feel free to send me any questions you have. Check out the new look on my website, It’s under new management starting June 7. Check it out. It’s an ongoing project. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Hey to the Great 8, my Fab 4 and to my lovely wife, Carol. Have a great week, one day at a time. Hasta luego, my friends. See you all next week. WEB.