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home : columns : joel alvstad May 24, 2016

4/9/2013 4:41:00 PM
A bit of Charlie Brown syndrome while we patiently wait for spring

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

As I sit at my desk writing this, I can only shake my head in disgust.
Outside, on an early April spring day, rain is falling. That rain is freezing when it comes into contact with the ground, vehicles and anything else. Soon, that rain will be changing over to snow. By the time this storm is done, we could have several inches of the stuff.
It makes me think back to when I was a kid. Every Sunday, I would tear open the comics to read one of my favorites, the classic strip Peanuts, written by Minnesota native Charles Schultz.
Schultz's Minnesota humor clearly showed in the life of Charlie Brown. But days like today bring me back to one strip in particular.
Charlie Brown, as you know, was an athlete - not a very good athlete, but an athlete nonetheless. And baseball was clearly his favorite sport.
So when the calendar turned over to spring, that meant one thing and one thing only to Charlie Brown: baseball.
The strip I remember showed Charlie Brown excitedly waking up, excitedly grabbing his trusty baseball hat and glove and getting ready for that big baseball game on the first day of spring.
And the last windows of the strip show Charlie Brown, standing alone on the pitcher's mound, with snow falling all around him, piling up to his knees.
"But the calendar says spring!" he exclaims. "It's time to play baseball. Where is everyone else?"
That is truly a moment that could, it seems, only happen in Minnesota.
It's hard to imagine, but a year ago golf courses had been open for nearly a month. Baseball and softball teams had been not only practicing, but playing scheduled games.
Track and golf teams were holding meets as scheduled.
Now, it would seem, the entirety of the spring sports season is going to be crammed into one very busy month. With games apparently unlikely for the rest of this week, the season will essentially be April 15 to whenever things wind up in May or June. For many teams and individuals, that season will be over, almost before it even had the chance to get started.
What the lousy spring weather will allow me the chance to do is to catch up and do season wrap-ups for a number of different things, including youth wrestling, youth gymnastics and youth hockey.
I also have a couple of story ideas in mind that I just haven't had the chance to address as of yet due to various reasons.
As always, I'm also open to story ideas. I'm always seeking story ideas that may be a little bit off the beaten path. They may not run right away - particularly once Mother Nature decides to cooperate and give us spring weather for our spring sports season. But for those instances when the weather isn't being cooperative, it's always nice, in the newspaper business, to have something to plug in, just in case.
So if there is something interesting in the local sports scene that you would like to see, give me a call at (800) 658-2510 or drop me an e-mail at joela@windomnews.com. I might not know about it or, in the case of some of the things I'm trying to catch up, maybe I just haven't had a chance to run it. But either way, let me know your ideas and I'll do everything I can to get them in the paper.
Almost perfect start
Friday afternoon was a bit chillier than one would have liked for a season-opening baseball game.
Throw in the fact that most teams have had limited (if any) time outside, and the ingredients were in place for a sloppy afternoon of baseball.
But apparently the Windom Eagle baseball team didn't get the memo.
The Eagles were nearly perfect in more ways than one, as they rolled to a 10-0 victory over Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
Now, at this point in the season it's understandable to assume that pitchers are going to be ahead of hitters, but Eagle pitchers Collin Lovell and Zach Bartosh proved to be unhittable.
The duo combined for a six-inning no-hitter, with only a couple of balls even leaving the infield. One of those balls resulted in an out, thanks to right fielder Devin Nielsen being in the right position to quickly field the ball and throw to first base for an out.
The lone Falcon baserunner in the game reached on an Eagle error with two outs in the sixth inning, on a ball that skated off the glove of an Eagle infielder. At the time, the score was 2-0. The Eagles plated eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game via the 10-run rule.
The stellar defense that was a hallmark of the Eagles' playoff run last year was evident Friday. Balls that may have been seeing-eye singles against many teams were turned into outs by the Eagles.
Now, don't get me wrong here. It's early in the season. The Eagle offense is still working out the kinks. And, as seen in Saturday's 11-8 win over Murray County Central, there are still questions about the Eagle pitching rotation.
But Friday was a near-perfect start for the Eagles. Hopefully, that stellar play can continue.
National champion
Williston, N.D., isn't just the home of the nation's latest oil boom. It's also the home to a national championship hockey team.
And a former Windom athlete was a key performer for that squad.
Ryan Presthus was a standout defenseman for the Williston State College hockey team, which recently captured the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship in New York.
Presthus was a two-year player for the Tetons, after playing two years of Junior 'A' hockey in Canada.
He is hopeful that his play at the junior college level will help him land on another college squad next season. Williston State is a two-year school.

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