"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

Focus of pride in Morris MN: our school! - morris mn

Focus of pride in Morris MN: our school! - morris mn
Our school in Morris is a hub of community activity and enrichment. (B.W. photo)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

MACA baseball, softball active in 3AA play

Baseball: success vs. two
Saturday of Memorial Day weekend can be a sleepy time, as people usher in the summer months, but it was most demanding and successful for MACA baseball.
The Tigers played two games. They were primed for success. The setting was the Section 3AA-North playoffs.
The quarter-final phase saw hurler Jacob Torgerson doing the job nicely in a 4-1 win over Redwood Valley. Jake set down six Redwood batters on strikes while walking just one. He allowed four hits and the one Redwood run which was unearned.
That lone Redwood run came in the first inning. The Tigers put up two runs in that frame. The orange and black went on to add one run each in the third and fifth innings.
The MACA line score was four runs, nine hits and four errors. Redwood Valley played errorless ball but they were deficient in other categories. Helping the Tigers overcome those four errors was Tyler Henrichs who was a power merchant. Tyler got maximum mileage out of his two at-bats, socking a home run and double. He drove in two runs and scored two.
Tanner Picht looked comfortable at the plate as this Tiger went two-for-three including a double, plus he drove in a run and scored one. Mac Beyer doubled as part of his nifty two-for-three showing.
Chandler Erickson went one-for-four with a run scored. Bryce Jergenson and Logan Manska each went one-for-three. None of the Redwood players had multiple hits.
On to the semis! Now, the Tigers are taking the field against an athletic program that is often a nemesis for them. You can probably guess: the Wildcats of New London-Spicer. The Wildcats were hardly a nemesis on this day. The 'Cats were tamed indeed in a 10-1 Tiger victory.
Mac Beyer pitched the whole way, setting down eight Wildcat batters on strikes. Mac overcame five walks and five hits, allowing just one Wildcat to cross home plate. How about parlaying this success into sports like football and basketball, where NL-Spicer is often a formidable obstacle?
The Tigers had a line score of ten runs, 12 hits and one error. The Wildcats hurt themselves with four errors.
Not only was Beyer effective pitching, he wielded quite a stick too. He came at the 'Cats with three hits in as many at-bats. He scored two runs and drove in one.
Jacob Torgerson was a force at the plate with two hits in three at-bats including a double, plus he drove in a run and scored two. Lincoln Berget added a three-for-four line to the mix. Tyler Henrichs doubled and drove in two runs.
Bryce Jergenson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Tanner Picht and Chandler Erickson both went one-for-four.
The Tigers asserted themselves immediately in this game, scoring five runs in the first inning. They went on to score one in the third and four in the sixth.
 
Softball: a win and a loss
The Tigers shone vs. Worthington and stumbled against Pipestone as the time came to confront teams from southern Minnesota. The Tigers often square off vs. these southern teams around Memorial Day weekend when the post-season moves forward in earnest.
We'll start by reviewing the Worthington game which certainly seems more palatable. Pitcher Mackenzie Van Batavia pitched a shutout! The MACA ace was in command, setting down nine Worthington batters on strikes. She walked no one and allowed four hits. Sarah Ebbers took the loss.
Van Batavia got the offensive support she needed in the third inning: three runs. Abby Daly highlighted that rally with a two-run single. The other three MACA runs came home in the seventh.
Chelsey Ehleringer had a two-for-four boxscore line. Becca Holland finished two-for-three. Brooke Johnson had an RBI as part of going one-for-three. Abby Olson was nailing the ball as she went three-for-four with three RBIs.
Nicole Strobel went two-for-three and Abby Daly one-for-three.
The 11-1 loss to Pipestone naturally had far fewer highlights. Only two Tigers hit safely against Pipestone's Tasia Woelber. Sadie Fischer went one-for-one and Abby Daly one-for-two. Pipestone's Paige Petersen connected for a home run.
Mackenzie Van Batavia was the losing pitcher. A telling stat was the Tigers' five errors.
The lone MACA run came home in the first inning when Fischer hit an RBI double.
The Tigers entered their 3AA contest vs. Fairmont with a 13-8 record.
We're almost into June. Before long we'll be thinking fall sports! But first let's enjoy lots of Legion and VFW baseball.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A boomer's memory includes a dark side

I remember when a former Minnesota Daily cartoonist came to UMM to give a presentation. It wasn't Steve Sack or that Ohman fellow. This was very early in my print media career, so a good guess as to the year would be 1979.
Those were much more relaxed times. We wouldn't think of getting pulled over and given a seat belt ticket.
The artist's presentation was at Edson Auditorium, then part of a building that was bare bones compared to today. No Oyate Hall. No computer-study lounge, because there were no personal computers.
This visiting artist, last name of Wagner, came to the downtown newspaper office during the day to suggest some coverage would be nice. That wouldn't happen today because the UMM website would accommodate everything. How could UMM function without a website? Well it did, and it did so quite nicely.
I remember when someone in the P.E. department told me Brian Curtis was getting "burned out" doing the SID work. I had to shake my head because just a few years earlier, UMM didn't have an SID. So now, it was necessary for someone to get "burned out" doing it?
I remember when working for the Morris newspaper was a pretty relaxed proposition. Somehow everything in our society had to shift into a hyper mode where it certainly is now. 
I covered the cartoonist's presentation at Edson. He came up to me afterward and said he barely knew I was there, because I "fit right in." I could still look and act the part of a college student.
There was no PowerPoint then. So, what Mr. Wagner showed us on a screen was "slides." One was of a cartoon from National Review. National Review was a pioneering conservative publication that had a reputation for high-mindedness. William F. Buckley in fact gained high stature partly because of pushing aside a lot of the backwater and ignorant conservative thought (e.g. the Birchers).
National Review wasn't high-minded enough for college students in the year 1979. At that time, I assure you, conservatives and Republicans were highly marginalized on college campuses. I say this not as a conservative who is resentful. I am in fact a Democrat. But I am a social observer by my innate nature.
The visiting cartoonist spoke in a mocking way - young people at that time could really mock - about a National Review cartoon. It showed someone smoking a marijuana cigarette. Mr. Wagner was proud to note in a dismissive way that the guy in the cartoon wasn't holding the "joint" right. There were strict norms that young people of that time adhered to.
You had to try to be "cool." There was a certain way to hold a "joint." And of course the National Review cartoonist, a very un-hip sort because of his affiliation, wouldn't understand this. Sigh.
I personally and privately rejected a lot of the norms my generation subscribed to in the '70s and slightly beyond. It was tough to not go along with any of it. I suspect a lot of kids did quietly go their own way. They found a way to just keep to themselves. In fact, the majority of any young generation is probably like this. It's the minority that defines a certain generation with symbols and excesses of various kinds. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
I was forced in at least one environment to hang around peers who had the questionable habits such as smoking weed. Another bad habit was to play rock music on the stereo so loud, that today most of them probably require hearing aids.
It's possible the marijuana smoking had long-term effects too, along with alcohol which became legal for 18-year-olds in Minnesota for a time. I seem to recall the shift in drinking age happening as I graduated from high school in 1973. We were excited about being able to go into bars. I did this in Detroit Lakes. The first drink I ordered was a Tom Collins.
I wish I hadn't bothered with any of this foolishness. Marijuana was a curiosity that had no benefits for anyone. Somehow my generation just had to do things to differentiate us from our parents. Today's kids would be disbelieving about this.
I recently attended a New Wine presentation at First Lutheran Church and was amazed at how clean, positive and respectful all these kids were. If only my generation had been guided in such a way. Part of the problem is we had just been through the Viet Nam War. Our parents fought "the good war" of World War II but we got stuck with the Viet Nam war. No volunteer military. We were fighting according to the World War II model in a place where we didn't belong.
The Cold War seemed to make us all miserable. The school seemed to give us too much homework. We got our faces pushed into algebra, probably because of this national agenda of "competing with the Russians."
Well, if the U.S. was depending on me to do this by learning algebra, we were going to be in trouble. I never had any problem learning basic arithmetic or multiplication tables. But I hit a wall after that and it permanently affected my self-esteem.
Drugs and rock music might have been escapist for us. My generation didn't buy the need for such conflict in the world. The Cold War seemed much ado about not a whole lot. In protest we leaned leftward politically, arguing the North Vietnamese didn't need to be demonized (because of being "Communist"), nor the Russians really.
We felt we could all just get along. As it turned out, pure Communism, whatever that was, faded because the people rose up. It wasn't because of U.S. military intervention anywhere or our bravado posturing.
We almost couldn't believe it when the Cold War ended. For that matter, we couldn't believe it when inflation in the economy ended. I could have sworn inflation was going to be with us forever. It made me resigned about even trying to do a menial or low-level job, because could our wages even keep up? A restaurant owner seemingly had to print a new menu every few months.
Cynical movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" came at us, in which authority figures could be portrayed as boobs (such as by Jackie Gleason). Us young and hip people were nothing like them, naturally.
We played our stereos until the walls shook. We drank alcohol. Boys learned to walk with a slouched posture. The most fashionable attire could be described as "poverty stricken." Young people became so alienated from the mainstream Christian religious denominations, we had an organization in Morris called Young Life, the expressed purpose of which was to try to get kids interested again.
Young Life was billed as separate from the established "fuddy duddy" churches. A young person reading this (like a "New Winer") might say "you've got to be kidding me." No, I'm not.
I remember one of the Young Life volunteers being Cindy Perkins who then had her maiden name. I was enlisted to cover this group (i.e. to promote it) through the print media. The parents of that time (like Dale Stoebe and Ed LaFave Jr.) were trying to get kids to be idealistic again. Hats off to them.
Our culture steadily improved through the 1980s. Ronald Reagan, assailed by the smartass element of my generation at first, led a pretty impressive recovery in our values.
We can never predict the future. But we can certainly forget the "correct" way to hold a marijuana cigarette.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's revive "Texas Across the River"

Mention the movie "Texas Across the River" and you might not get an immediate reaction. The name might not register. But if you're speaking with a boomer like me, you might get a glint of recognition by reminding of some movie details.
This is a movie that to my knowledge hasn't turned up on cable TV in the modern era. Which is surprising, given this movie was a staple of the prime time fare of broadcast TV once. As schoolkids we'd laugh the next day after a showing, by reminding each other of certain scenes.
I'm a mid-boomer. The movie of which I speak was made in 1966. Get some of the Monkees' hits playing in your head. On a sad note, remember that the Viet Nam War was escalating.
How ironic we could have such fun movies turned out, including those featuring Don Knotts, when being a kid in the U.S. had such a cloud hanging over it (the draft).
Our society was struggling in other ways. Women's liberation hadn't arrived yet. Racial sensitivity was far from having been attained.
Guys my age can remember female elementary teachers who were quite brilliant. Those same women today could more readily find better careers. We were fortunate.
Unenlightened as our society could be, we still knew how to laugh. "Texas Across the River" is an escapist gem that appears to have slid into the dustbin. And it's pretty obvious why. Although I find the movie innocent, there are qualities that one might judge politically incorrect. Well, they are politically incorrect but I sense no sinister intent by the creators.
How do I know this? I just do. It's just intuition.
It's the same intuition that allowed me to laugh at Johnny Carson's "Aunt Blabby" character. It just seemed benign to be. I loved the way "dear sweet lovable. . .old Aunt Blabby" would ogle Ed McMahon. She wielded her cane in an absent-minded way. But I didn't see the character in a disturbing or disrespectful way.
It's intuition, the same intuition that makes me remember most fondly that cinema release "Texas Across the River."
If it still doesn't register with you, I'll toss out two of the prime stars: Dean Martin and Joey Bishop. "Dean-o!" A "rat pack" man. Those were still the "Mad Men" days, weren't they?
"Texas Across the River" has references to Native Americans that would cause some to bristle today. I would argue this movie was a total parody that seized on elements of the traditional western with no holds barred.
The Indians are incredibly funny. They are Comanches, a tribe referenced in a way that automatically induces fear. "We're crossing Comanche territory." But the Comanches in this movie aren't blood-curdling. They only have the outward appearance of being menacing (and that's barely). Really it seems they're just a bunch of white guys dressed up as Indians, which in my mind contributes to the humor. It's like kids dressing up for Halloween. They copy what they see on the movie screen.
Stereotypes. So what? It's just plain funny.
The Indians in the movie seem lovable. They only go through the motions of "fighting." (We hear calliope music when they're about to behave in an absurd way.)
The chief, named "Iron Shirt" (played by Michael Ansara), is trying to groom his son for future leadership. The son is hopeless, showing incompetence at every juncture. Every time this is revealed, the camera pans over to a couple of average-Joe Indians who turn to each other and roll their eyes. This is a running gag.
Us kids loved the scene where the chief lets out a shriek as instructions to his reluctant warriors, only the shriek is actually a horse whinny (a real horse whinny, dubbed in).
An Indian shoots a flaming arrow on top of the schoolhouse causing school to be let out and the kids to show reverie. You think us kids didn't find that funny?
I asked my boss at the Morris newspaper once, Jim Morrison, if he remembered this movie. I tried him with just the name. He paused, smiled and then said "harrar-hare." He remembered vividly!
"Harrar-hare" was the voice signal that cavalry leader Peter Graves gave constantly to his men, regardless of what he wanted them to do. It was pure parody on the old western movie where cavalry leaders behaved in such a fashion. They'd raise an arm and intone "harrar-hare!"
Morrison is a mid-boomer like me. The only way we can re-capture the fun of that movie, it seems, is to obtain it on tape or DVD. I had a friend order the VHS tape for me several years ago. We watched it in his living room. We were able to anticipate so much of the humor, despite the time having gone by.
I'm sure Hollywood is very nervous about how far "political correctness" could go in wiping away certain movies from current awareness. Do you remember what happened to the Charlie Chan movies? The big mistake was a cable movie channel planning a "Charlie Chan Marathon." This kindled the issue of ethnic sensitivity. The Chan franchise may have been practically wiped from the map. Will cable TV touch it anymore?
Old westerns in general could be endangered, such is the way Native Americans can be portrayed. Many old comedies showed African Americans as being easy to scare, as with strange sounds in a house or fear of ghosts. Their eyes might bug out and they'd take off running.
We need to view a lot of this stuff in context, realizing such fare could never get released today. Only the most egregious offenders should probably be censored.
"Texas Across the River" has some lines that could make you wince. There are also some lines of the misogynistic kind. But this movie is not an egregious offender. It plays on imagery of the old westerns, plain and simple. Its purpose is to have fun.
"Blazing Saddles" was a parody too but not the same kind. The Mel Brooks movie from the mid-1970s did satire in a way as to reject the original model entirely. It skewered westerns in a mocking way. Boomers of the mid-1970s went through a cynical phase - we ate it up. "Young Frankenstein" skewered monster movies.
Us boomers yawned at convention. We're past that now of course.
"Texas Across the River" was a leap into unbridled fun. Maybe Native Americans should appreciate that the Comanches were shown as mere fun-loving types. Joey Bishop is a "Kronkua" Indian which is a passive tribe. Asked to read smoke signals, he says he can't because they're in a different language.
Rosemary Forsyth plays Phoebe Ann Naylor, the most feminine sought-after belle of the South. The setting is 1845 Louisiana. People in trouble might want to escape to Texas, not yet a state. Phoebe Ann is set to marry Don Andrea Baldazar, played by Alain Delon. On comes a U.S. Dragoons troop led by the Graves character.
We remember Graves generating laughs in the later "Airplane!" movie. This was not comic acting. Performers like Graves and Leslie Nielsen learned to do their standard stiff leading man routine only with comic lines fed to them. This we see with Graves in "Texas Across the River."
The wedding is broken up over a dispute over who Phoebe Ann was going to marry. Baldazar gets falsely accused of murder. He flees to Texas where he meets up with Martin and Bishop who are gun-runners for a Texas settlement, "Moccasin Flats."
Martin calls Baldazar "Baldy." Impressed with his gun ability, Martin (as "Sam Hollis") enlists "Baldy." Phoebe Ann heads in the same direction, as she is supposed to "lay low" for a while.
We get a love triangle. A young attractive Indian woman comes along too. She is not the bumbling type of Indian. She may be the hero of the whole story. She and Phoebe Ann work at the end to straighten everyone out. The men are vain and error-prone.
"Loneta" the Indian woman has a secret about how to tame longhorn cattle. The story is quite interesting with lots of twists. Martin shows his laid-back acting style. It looks easy but of course isn't. Talented performers can make their work look easy.
Martin's character has a "rascally" manner. A critic described him as "the very image of the anti-hero."
Martin as Hollis is steadfast in his mission while observing the hilarious antics of others. Sight gags abound. Martin and Bishop have very effective chemistry. A critic wrote of this movie that "It's not politically correct, but that's OK as just about everyone is equally made fun of."
That statement is totally accurate. But it's not enough, I suspect, to persuade the powers that be that this flick should get on TV again. It sits there as a museum piece next to the rat pack. It's a shame.
The Kingston Trio sings the theme song. 
"Texas Across the River" should move forward into the public consciousness again, perhaps with the command "harrar-hare!"
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Monica!" movie: not what you might think

Washington Post image
You can pay $35 per entry to take part in the Script Pipeline movie idea competition.
You would think Hollywood isn't interested much in fresh movie ideas. Hollywood finds new ideas too risky. It's a balance sheet world in which only tried and true ideas seem to be trusted. Which is sort of a shame of course.
Movies should reflect creative minds. We should feel curious about something new and fresh unraveling on the screen in front of us. Hollywood must feel we are totally risk-averse. So, we get these "franchises" that grow out of a successful movie.
We used to hear the term "re-make" but now it's "re-imagine." Maybe Frank Luntz suggested the tweaking of terms. "Re-make" suggests something that might be stale.
The creative world often goes in cycles. Therefore I'm holding out hope that the door may open for more originality and risk-taking in movies.
"Indy" type films are always a source of originality of course. But they mostly don't make it out to the sparsely populated areas. I had to go to the Twin Cities to see "My Life as a Dog."
In recent years I have made no such trips for movies or anything else. Domestic obligations have guided my lifestyle - kept me home. The last movie I saw in Alexandria was "Mamma Mia" (with the ABBA music) so it has been a while.
I write about movies I saw years ago, or on TV or on DVD from the library. I have had problems getting DVD players to work. We have an older TV (certainly not flat screen) which might be the problem.
At present we don't even get cable TV. We discontinued it after a death in the family. Certain aspects of cable TV were beginning to wear on me. I find that AM radio is a better substitute for cable TV than I expected. I do have a VHS tape player that works.
I pay little attention anymore to the "top grossing" movies. Increasingly this seems a world apart from my world. Is pop culture drifting away from relevance or am I drifting away from relevance? I don't know. Over age 55 you can't expect to be attuned to what's "hip" anymore.
We have seen Larry King replaced by Piers Morgan. That's if you get cable TV of course. King always had topics and guests that I was well-versed on. Morgan seems to operate in a strange new world in which I have no clue about most of the guests. These are so-called "celebrities" but not in the world I inhabit. I needn't be concerned about it now.
On many days we listen to Mike McFeely on KFGO-Fargo radio.
 
A movie idea with potential?
I called up the web page for Script Pipeline because I had this remote dream of having an idea for Hollywood. I decided the $35 fee was too much for such a shot in the dark. I'll just share a favorite movie idea here.
Let's ponder a historical movie. Let's go back not so far in time to when Bill Clinton had to deal with scandal. Our elected representatives were drawn into impeachment proceedings by a tabloid type of episode.
You're thinking of a titillating movie, right? I'm not approaching it that way. There would be a titillating aspect to be sure. This would assure some Hollywood interest. But the main message of the movie would be about media transformation.
The movie would be about the wakeup call that members of the old entitled media received. Looking back it was more of a death knell than a wakeup call. It was a very profound transformation. We can compare it to the extinction of dinosaurs and the rise of new species.
The dinosaurs were big and awkward just like the old media. They only seemed all-powerful. Let's liken them to the old institutions like Newsweek that had a "gatekeeper" function with the news we consumed.
We can all envision the old model: men wearing white shirts with the top button unbuttoned, meeting in an atmosphere of gravity in boardrooms where decisions were made under "deadline" about the kind of stories America ought to consume.
We might forget that the general population was un-empowered media-wise back then. We'd peruse Newsweek and Life and rely on 5:30 p.m. network TV news broadcasts. Walter Cronkite had this "trusted" reputation. We had to trust the likes of him just like we trust the local car salesman.
So powerful was the old guard in the media, it could keep under wraps the well-known dalliances of JFK. Looking back, that was incredible. There was no Internet churning out a whole new system and set of rules about news consumption.
The Internet laid back in the weeds for a while. It felt out its new parameters. It would gain power as more and more of the citizenry signed onto it (and got well-versed using it).
Finally we came to the historical junction where Bill Clinton had his indiscretion. The old guard media - those sweaty men in white shirts - at first thought they could render a judgment, for the good of all of us of course.
According to legend, the established old media weighed the Clinton-Lewinsky story and backed off. "Nothing to see here," in effect.
Was it a benevolent judgment? The old media reflected big business where benevolence or honesty aren't the raisin d'etre. I suspect it was a question of taste to them. We would scarcely have heard of the Jodi Arias murder trial in the old days. Today it bubbles up through the tabloid-friendly world of cable TV. It even reached what was left of the "old guard" media such as broadcast network news.
The old media can't ignore what the public might be talking about. And so it was, in the end, with the Clinton/Lewinsky story. It was truly a turning point in American history. What might have been hidden from view as an untidy or tawdry little story, about a powerful man's dalliance, got pushed into the establishment media because those folks realized they had no choice.
The Drudge Report had this story and came forward with no inhibitions. The scenario involved no group of men with white shirts (top button unbuttoned) around a boardroom in New York City. We're talking "geeks" in unpretentious settings, perhaps even a college dorm room, candy wrappers strewn on the floor around them, bluejeans with holes at the knees etc.
A major news story might now grow out of such an unpretentious setting. But was there really "power" here? In a sense yes, but it was only the power to put the truth out in front of the public and let the public weigh it. This was a new information ecosystem that was bottom-up and not top-down. It was different on the most fundamental level.
The public or "the masses" could now decide what was news and what was truth. It was an empowering new meritocracy. We take it for granted now. But how would you like to go back to the days when you depended on Life and Look magazines? Shudder.
This movie about Clinton/Lewinsky would show the utter shock felt by the "white shirt guys" and guys behind the network evening news. It would show their disbelief about how their comfortable established order was coming under siege by common citizens who simply had computers. Against their wishes, they had to report Clinton/Lewinsky and report it prominently.
The story led basically nowhere outside of just being sensational. "Impeachment" was a circus accomplishing nothing. All that was accomplished was a wave of tabloid-type attention for quite some time, leaving a stain on the Clinton presidency. (There was a stain literally but let's not get into that.)
The movie could show these new unpretentious geeks feeling their oats. They'd dig back into their Doritos as they pondered what new link to put up.
A brave new world? Whatever the effect, it's real and it's truth-seeking. The "dinosaurs" gave way to the little mammals scurrying around the rocks. The movie could tell quite a story.
I'd suggest it begin with images of the old media: bundles of newspapers being thrust into trucks and delivered out and about. So much money to spend merely on distribution.
We'd see those men in white shirts, feeling so empowered. Really they were just deciding on what stories were most palatable by the standards of their advertisers. The new ecosystem isn't encumbered in any such way.
No more "extra, extra, read all about it." Just click your mouse. My, if people of the '60s could only know that "click your mouse" would have meaning someday. So much for trying to predict the future.
My movie would have its obligatory titillating aspect too. The name? How about just "Monica!"
I have another idea too: a movie like "Mamma Mia!" only with the music of Paul McCartney and Wings from the 1970s. Perhaps I'll share more about that sometime.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, May 17, 2013

MACA girls turn back B-H twice: 5-0 and 7-0

Thursday (5/17) was a day of abundant success for MACA Tiger softball and baseball.
Softball stood out in particular, with not one win but two. Not only that, the two wins came in shutout style. Not only that, pitcher McKenzie Van Batavia threw a no-hitter gem! The site was the Benson diamond. There, coach Mary Holmberg's girls took the field to face the Brave-Owls of Benson-Hancock.
I never expected the Benson-Hancock pairing arrangement to last this long. A pairing with Morris would seem more logical for the Hancock student-athletes, IMHO. I'm old enough that I covered the old Hancock Owls (by themselves) in softball for the local print media.
The Benson and Hancock athletes together were no match for the fired-up orange and black crew on Thursday. Game #1 was when Van Batavia tossed her gem: no hits allowed. She struck out five batters and walked none in this 5-0 MACA triumph. The losing pitcher was Kayla Jones.
The sixth inning arrived with MACA clinging to a 1-0 lead. MACA got some cushion in that sixth frame, to the tune of four runs.
MACA finished with five runs, six hits and one error, while B-H had a 0-0-3 line score.
Brooke Johnson had two of the Tigers' hits. Sadie Fischer, Abby Olson, Nicole Strobel and Brianna Abril each had one. Olson's hit was a double and she drove in a run.
On to game #2: Van Batavia gave her pitching arm a rest. On came Brianna Abril and this Tiger tossed a shutout in the 7-0 win. Abril's three-hitter included just one walk issued. She was an offensive force with two hits off her bat.
Johnson had two hits to mirror her game #1 performance. Van Batavia and Olson each went one-for-three with Olson driving in a run. Abril went two-for-two with an RBI.
In the pitching circle, Abril struck out one batter and walked one in her complete game performance.
B-H's Jones was relieved by Brittney Kurkosky.
This was a close game through four innings before Morris Area Chokio Alberta rallied for five runs in the fifth, pretty much assuring the win.
Jones had two of the three B-H hits and Holly Ricard had the other.
Click on the permalink below to read about the Tigers' Monday and Tuesday games - softball and baseball. This post covers the softball doubleheader vs. Montevideo (a split), the baseball team's 20-0 rout of Monte, the 9-6 softball triumph over Melrose, and the baseball setback vs. Marshall (2-1). This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
 
Baseball: Tigers 10, Sauk Centre 0
The Thursday story included this commanding win by the baseball Tigers over the Streeters of Sauk Centre. The success came on eight hits.
The Tigers played errorless ball. Mac Beyer tossed the shutout, fanning six batters, walking one and allowing five hits. Will Funk was on the losing end.
Offensively, Chandler Erickson was at the fore of the attack with three-for-three numbers, two runs scored and two ribbies. Tanner Picht had two hits in four at-bats and crossed home plate twice.
Tyler Henrichs picked up an RBI with his one-for-three showing. Tom Holland went one-for-two with three RBIs. Denny Tracy was one-for-one.
The Tigers scored five runs over the first four innings and then had a big five-run sixth.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Memorial concert & graduation: spice, grandeur

UMM symphonic winds performs for the Ralph E. Williams Memorial Concert, a most memorable event held on April 28. Simon Tillier directs his musicians at the HFA recital hall. (Del Sarlette photo)
We are humbled and thrilled that UMM presented a memorial concert honoring Ralph E. Williams. My father Ralph, my mom Martha and I came here when UMM was just getting hatched. I guess those were the "Mad Men" days.
The April 28 concert was "dedicated to the life and work of Morris music faculty founder and conductor, Ralph Williams," according to the front of the concert program.
It's bittersweet of course. We'd prefer still having Dad with us. He'd be spending time on our front portico, enjoying the fresh air and that wide view of Morris from the north. We're across the field from Shopko. We remember that store starting as Gibson's and then becoming Pamida.
We remember when Prairie Inn was Sunwood Inn. We remember when the local fast-food restaurant was the Quik Stop, not McDonald's. The Quik Stop billed "19-cent hamburgers" at the start.
I got my occasional haircut at the Merchants Hotel. Barbers then were probably beside themselves how to handle boomer males. We couldn't just let our hair grow forever, and yet when we sat in the barber's chair, we demanded only the most conservative "trim." Today's generation wouldn't understand. Come to think of it, I don't understand. Those were the days of the so-called counterculture.
I'm not sure how much familiarity Simon Tillier has with this. He's the symphonic winds conductor at UMM. He's the very considerate soul who came up with the idea of the memorial concert. He's a native of London, England.
To an extent the counterculture was a worldwide thing. We learned this when Roland Guyotte brought a guest speaker here once who spoke on "hippies and the 1960s." That era is getting pretty remote in time.
I don't know Simon's age but he's probably younger than I think. Actually, the situation is probably that I'm older than I realize. Us boomers never envisioned ourselves being "old."
Our generation has gone through phases that have always been celebrated by the media. The World War II generation, our parents, never really had phases, they just tended to business. It has been written in fact that they never changed at all. It was considered a compliment. They persevered with their simple values.
Right now the boomers are in a phase of caring for, or keeping a close eye on, their aging parents. It's not going to get any easier. Medical science is extending lifespans. But this can create supreme challenges.
I never had to deal with the guilt of being a long distance from my parents. Don't think the boomers don't deal with guilt if they're distanced, or that they don't lose sleep at night.
Obviously there are resources available to aging Americans to ease the challenges. But in many respects these don't duplicate the constant presence of a family member.
My father was able to stay at his beloved family house until the end came when he was 96. He had accumulated issues connected to age. But he was never in a state of misery. He kept his appetite until the end.
Although his mental and communication capabilities slipped, he never had anything I would call dementia. He was always aware on the most basic level of his surroundings. And, his (our) dog "Sandy."
I remember when My father led the UMM musicians through both the UMM Hymn and UMM Fight Song. The hymn has been kept alive through the years. Most recently it inspired a new interpretation or arrangement which was penned by J. Wesley Flinn. He calls it a "Fantasia." Symphonic winds performed it at the start of the memorial concert. My mother and I thought it wonderful.
The rest of the program included works that reflected Ralph's life.
It's appropriate that Simon should lead this concert because he had the opportunity to meet my father following the Homecoming concert. It's the last music event my father would take in.
My mom and I are making an effort to attend all UMM music events now. Oh, and we're keeping an eye on the public school music calendar too.
"Rhapsody in Blue" was an unforgettable performance from the memorial concert. It featured the virtuoso piano abilities of Therese Sutula. We were spellbound listening to this George Gershwin classic, composed in 1924.
I was a little concerned the $5 admission price for adults might hold down the audience. There was also some concern over the Assumption Church confirmation being held that afternoon. Planning a concert brings such worries.
We could see as concert-time neared that the turnout was going to be quite good. The HFA recital hall was in fact quite filled. I suppose the $5 charge helped put funds in UMM music's coffers.
There was more than one standing ovation during the performance. We would have enjoyed an encore too.
 
And then, the 2013 graduation
Symphonic winds closed out the year performing at the UMM graduation on Saturday, May 11. The graduation was a story in itself. Oh, it always is, of course, but if you think apprehension is felt preparing for a music concert, well, UMM graduation can have its monumental issues with weather.
I could swear UMM has been snakebit through the years. This year was the epitome.
We awoke to see the sun shining. Sigh of relief, right? Not so fast. The Minnesota weather vagaries can really make you hunker down.
As Saturday unfolded, we might've wanted to say "whoa Nellie" about the wind (apologies to Keith Jackson).
Remember that scene in Mel Brooks' "Silent Movie" with Marcel Marceau? Where he's struggling to enter a room where the wind is gushing in through an open window? He's trying to get to a phone. (The movie was made in the 1970s when landline phones reigned.) Everyone on the UMM campus mall would have looked like Marceau had the ceremony been held there.
So even though the sun was out, UMM administrators had to put their heads together with a feeling of great gravity and shift the whole thing to the P.E. Center.
My mom and I attended. Frankly it was not a comfortable arrangement. It was crowded to the maximum. I'll wager that no fire marshal would approve this arrangement.
We were up on the concourse where the layers of people we so thick, you could hardly get a glimpse of what was going on.
It appeared that half the concourse was closed for reasons not readily apparent to me. I'm just guessing, but maybe the presence of a U.S. senator caused this. Maybe the security people didn't want people overlooking the stage from behind and from such a short distance. But a completely open concourse would have dispersed the people there and made it easier to view and appreciate.
There was an incident where something like a fire alarm went off and caused a distraction for people in that part of the gym. (Yes it's a "gym" and not an "auditorium.")
I'm not sure the sound system was up to snuff. From my vantage point it was hard trying to follow the speeches.
It probably wasn't worth our trouble to attend except that we want to be present and support the University of Minnesota-Morris.
How wonderful the ceremony would have been, had it been held outdoors. The bleachers actually did get set up. It was easy to envision how it could have been.
I do appreciate the guys scooting around on the golf carts offering rides. I availed myself of this twice, so thanks.
From the P. E. Center that mass assemblage had to make its way across campus to Oyate Hall for the reception. It would seem Oyate wasn't a large enough facility for this.
Oyate is connected to Edson Auditorium where all of the concerts in UMM's early days were held.
Normally when the UMM graduation is held outside, it's broadcast onto a screen in Edson for people who prefer that setting. We in fact checked out Edson when we first arrived on campus Saturday. We thought we might watch it there and then be conveniently located for the reception.
But the doors to Edson were locked. So when the graduation is moved indoors, the Edson option is apparently no-go.
UMM graduation always makes me a little nervous because there are so many people on campus and so many cars, obviously, on the periphery. But we got through it just fine.
Earlier in the day we dined at DeToy's where obviously we saw a lot of unfamiliar faces, signaling it was graduation day. We saw a party leave before getting their order, claiming they were pressed for time. That's inconsiderate toward the restaurant of course, but these people are "out of towners" and they don't have to guard their image here. If local people were to do that, they wouldn't want to show their faces in the restaurant again.
But of course we accept the bad with the good when it comes to UMM. It's "the jewel in the crown" of course.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Picht's timely double helps lift MACA

Tanner Picht's hitting eye was sound in the sixth inning of the Tigers' Thursday (5/9) game against Minnewaska Area.
Picht delivered a most timely double. It was good for bringing three runs across to score. This was in the Tigers' 8-1 win over the Lakers, the ninth win thus far against zero losses. The streaking Tigers are making us forget about the late spring.
Let me slip in a brief non-sports note: I invite you to view the collector's display at our Morris Public Library where some of my old vinyl records and jackets can be seen, including the first Beatles' release in the USA. I write about this on my companion website, "Morris Of Course." You may click on the permalink below. Thanks for reading. - BW.
 
Tigers 8, Minnewaska 1
Picht's double was part of a six-run rally that put the orange and black in the driver's seat. The Tigers scored one run each in the first and sixth. Their line score was 8-9-1.
Mac Beyer stood out on the pitching rubber and with the stick. Beyer pitched the full seven innings, setting down ten Laker batters on strikes. He allowed just three hits and the one Laker run. His walk total: zero. Offensively he stoked the Tigers' cause with a double as part of a two-for-four boxscore line. He drove in a run.
Picht finished at two-for-four with three RBIs. Chandler Erickson was a perfect two-for-two and drove in a run. Tigers with one hit each were Bryce Jergenson, Logan Manska and Tyler Henrichs.
Lakers hitting safely were Tyler Nielsen, Luke Nielsen and Matt Paulson. the losing pitcher was Riley Thompson who struck out two batters and walked three.
MACA coach Mark Torgerson will surely keep smiling if his pitchers can keep putting up the kind of numbers Beyer did Thursday: zero walks and ten strikeouts! No sign of rustiness from the late spring, to be sure.
 
Softball: Tigers 5, BOLD 0
Thursday was indeed a highlight-filled day for the MACA diamond teams. The Tigers won in shutout fashion on the softball diamond. The score was 5-0 as MACA turned back the BOLD Warriors.
McKenzie Van Batavia tossed a three-hitter gem, setting down 12 BOLD batters on strikes in the process. She walked just two and gave up a mere three hits. She out-dueled Morgan Flann of BOLD.
Van Batavia made her presence felt with the bat too. She went one-for-four with a run scored. Becca Holland also went one-for-four and stole two bases. Sadie Fischer contributed a stolen base as part of her one-for-four day.
Brooke Johnson went two-for-three and crossed home plate once. Nicole Strobel added to the mix with her one-for-three line along with an RBI and run scored.
Steph Hennen socked a double, drove in two runs and scored one. Brianna Abril went one-for-three with an RBI and stolen base.
The BOLD players hitting safely were Taylor Ebnet, Lauren Kopel and Peyton Weis.
MACA coach Mary Holmberg had to smile about the zero errors her team committed.
 
Baseball: Tigers 6, New London-Spicer 3
The home diamond was a place of triumph for the Morris Area Chokio Alberta baseball boys on Monday, May 6.
Fielding was a big factor. The Tigers may have gotten out-hit 8-6 by the visiting Wildcats of New London-Spicer, but nearly-flawless fielding offset that. The numbers: MACA with just one error and the Wildcats with six.
The Tigers improved to 7-0 on the season with this 6-3 triumph.
The NL-Spicer fielding problems led to three unearned runs coming in for MACA. The hard-luck NL-Spicer pitcher was Lucas Nordmeyer. Nordmeyer showed pluses in his day's performance, striking out four  batters and walking none.
The fourth inning was pivotal in favor of MACA. Four runs came in to hike the team's run total to six. Two runs had scored in the third inning.
Six Tigers each had one hit in the boxscore. Let's review the balanced attack: Tanner Picht (a triple and an RBI), Tom Holland (one-for-three and a ribbie), Chandler Erickson (one-for-three), Jacob Torgerson (one-for-three and an RBI), Lincoln Berget (a hit in two at-bats and a ribbie) and Tyler Henrichs (one-for-three).
Karl Meyer was on the mound with six and one-third innings of hurling, fanning five batters, walking two and allowing eight hits. Bryce Jergenson had his pitching arm called on for the save.
Jarrett Hatlestad was productive as NL-Spicer's leadoff batsman, going three-for-four but failing to get in to score. Wildcat Grant Vagle posted two-for-four numbers.
 
Softball: defeat vs. Sauk Centre
Friday (5/10) had a down note, two actually, for MACA Tiger softball. It was a day of doubleheader diamond action. The Tigers squared off vs. the Streeters of Sauk Centre.
MACA made a good bid at winning game #1 but the final was a 4-3 score, MACA trailing. The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first and held that lead through two. Sauk Centre answered with a four-run third inning that made the difference.
MACA scored its third run in the third. But there were nothing but zeroes after that.
The Tigers outhit the Streeters 7-4 but this was offset by the fielding column. We see the telling stat of five errors by the Tigers. This explains why all four of the runs allowed by pitcher McKenzie Van Batavia were unearned. Sauk Centre committed just one error.
Van Batavia struck out four batters and walked one in her six innings. The winning pitcher was Jordy Gamradt.
Chelsey Ehleringer had two hits in four at-bats for the Tigers. She scored one of the first inning runs.
Becca Holland scored the other run in the first and this Tiger went one-for-three. Becca was actually one of five Tigers going one-for-three. She was joined by Van Batavia, Abby Olson, Brooke Johnson and Nicole Strobel. Johnson scored the Tigers' third inning run.
For Sauk Centre, Becca Moe tripled and Amanda Kulzer doubled.
The game #2 story was an 8-2 defeat for the Tigers. Ehleringer and Olson scored the MACA runs. The Tiger bats were largely silent - just two hits produced, by Holland and Van Batavia.
Van Batavia and Bri Abril shared the MACA pitching. The winning pitcher for Sauk Centre was Colleen LuGrain.
Both teams were sloppy at times fielding. Sauk Centre had a hit total of seven.
I'm typing this on Saturday which is a day marked by hurricane-force wind, or so it seems. Bad timing for the UMM graduation. We'd really like to sense summertime soon!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Boys turn back Dutchmen for 8th win

Tigers 2, Melrose 0
Two runs were enough for the Morris Area Chokio Alberta baseball boys Tuesday vs. Melrose. Those runs were both scored in the third inning of this efficiently played game (an hour and 15 minutes in duration).
It was a day for Bryce Jergenson to shine. Bryce had three hits total and doubled as the first batter in that decisive third. Lincoln Berget came up to bat and showed a patient stance which was his habit for the day. Lincoln would draw three walks. One of those was in the third and fueled that rally. Logan Manska performed a sacrifice. Tom Holland grounded out but this brought Jergenson in to score. Berget scored the second run in this nickel-and-dime rally. He came in on a wild pitch.
MACA led 2-0 and this would stand up as the final score. This was win No. 8 for the high-flying orange and black crew.
Coach Mark Torgerson is beaming about this success and the fact we're now fully into spring, following the unusually long winter. A few stubborn snowdrifts can still be seen out and about as I write this.
The Tigers played errorless ball while Melrose had one error.
Jergenson had a perfect three-for-three boxscore line. Tyler Henrichs had two hits in three at-bats, and Chandler Erickson came through at one-for-three.
Jacob Torgerson pitched the whole way, out-dueling Mitch Reller of the Dutchmen. Torgerson allowed just four hits and walked none in this crisp performance (just 76 pitches). He set down six Dutchmen on strikes.
None of the Dutchmen had multiple hits.
 
Softball: on short end vs. 'Waska
The MACA softball girls were snakebit vs. Minnewaska Area over two days this past week.
The games had a contrasting complexion. The Lakers showed a very robust offense in the first of these wins over our Tigers. The Monday story had 'Waska pounding 14 hits and scoring 13 runs.
That offense was blunted on Tuesday but it still generated two runs which proved to be enough. The Lakers defeated the orange and black 2-1 on Tuesday.
On Monday the final score was 13-2. Minnewaska got going with three runs in the third inning and four in the fourth. The "Waska bats resonated with 14 hits. Both teams committed three errors. Four Tigers each had one hit: Brianna Abril, Becca Holland, Abby Olson and Sadie Fischer. Abril's hit was a double.
MACA scored one run each in the first and seventh. McKenzie Van Batavia and Abril did the Tigers' pitching. The winning pitcher was Mady Phillips who fanned eight.
Phillips made a statement with her bat too, socking three doubles. Laker Julie Helander connected for a three-run home run in the fourth inning. She nearly hit for the cycle, and she posted five RBIs.
On to the Tuesday story: The Lakers had to stay totally focused through the full seven innings, because there would be no offensive outburst as on Monday. Minnewaska took a 2-0 lead in the third. The Tigers plated one run in the fourth but could manage no more scoring.
Van Batavia did all the Tigers' pitching and she allowed just four hits while fanning two and walking two. Both of the runs she allowed were unearned. The Tigers committed two errors and the Lakers one.
Phillips pitched this game for 'Waska too. Phillips scattered seven hits while striking out three batters and walking none. She got the "W" next to her name.
Offensively, Van Batavia and Sadie Fischer each had a two-for-three showing to lead coach Mary Holmberg's squad. Other Tigers hitting safely were Brianna Abril, Becca Holland and Abby Olson (with an RBI).
Lexi Amundson had two hits for the Lakers.
Van Batavia scored the lone MACA run after she singled and stole second in the fourth. Olson singled her in.
The Lakers' success in the third came on a well-hit ball to the outfield off Julie Helander's bat, and a ground ball that stymied the MACA defense. Phillips and Amundson scored for Minnewaska Area.
  
Baseball: Tigers 11, Montevideo 1
The baseball Tigers were totally in the groove on Friday, May 3, in downing Montevideo. This was the Tigers' sixth win against no losses.
Mac Beyer contributed a lot to the win, pitching the whole way and homering in the first inning. "The whole way" was just five innings. Yes, the ten-run rule was in effect in this 11-1 MACA triumph.
Beyer struck out seven, walked two and allowed six hits. Beyer's round-tripper was a two-run job.
Tanner Picht had two hits in four at-bats and drove in three runs. Jake Torgerson was a perfect two-for-two and drove in a run. Tyler Henrichs had a two-for-four day.
The MACA line score was eleven runs, eight hits and one error. The Monte line was 1-6-2.
A pair of Thunder Hawks each had two his: Zac Enevoldsen and Ricky Schmitz. The losing pitcher was Josh Henderson.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, May 6, 2013

Drive surfaces to re-shape "Stone Mountain"

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The Confederacy was a case study in losing. This was the type of "conflict resolution" that had one side getting stomped into oblivion.
George Will wrote in the wake of 9/11 that one way to prevail is to simply kill everyone on the other side. He gave the Civil War as an example. Of course, not all Confederates were killed - they were sprinkled out and about in the devastated South. But so many were, and the antebellum lifestyle so decisively crushed, a mere vestige or whisper seemed all that was left.
The planter aristocracy was no more. The Myth of the Lost Cause came to replace whatever legs the Confederacy had. It has floated around to this day. But there is no real imprimatur there. No state-sanctioned entity touches it.
Minnesota still has a captured Confederate battle flag from Gettysburg. Whenever pleas are heard from Virginia for its return, it's not from government spokesmen, it's from a re-enactors group. Technically that flag was supposed to have been returned. Such flags were returned as part of reconciliation efforts. But ours got missed.
Then-Governor Jesse Ventura said "no" the last time this kerfuffle got attention. He showed his standard bravado, saying something like "we won." I'm not sure that was necessary. You might argue the flag is immaterial.
Such issues are not uncommon. While the real Confederates are asleep in their graves, the symbolism and sentiment connected to that great war float around as if some ghost.
The Confederate battle flag was prominent on the Georgia state flag from 1956 to 2001. A governor thinks it harmless to recognize a month for "Confederate history appreciation." He is promptly corrected and reverses course. (That state was Virginia.)
Yes, the Confederacy just loses and loses.
Now we have finally come to the issue of Stone Mountain. Maybe it's about time. We are all familiar with Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Its fame is justifiable partly because it celebrates the whole United States.
Stone Mountain in Georgia was begun by the same artist who crafted Mount Rushmore. Artistically it represents something very distinct. It's the world's largest bas-relief sculpture. The images are seen on what is reportedly the largest hunk of exposed granite in the world. The dome-shaped mountain protrudes from the wooded perimeter of Atlanta. The three-acre carving there might inspire awe to the same extent as our beloved Mount Rushmore.
The problem is the subject matter. These are not unifying images. We see General Robert E. Lee, "Stonewall" Jackson and Jefferson Davis, stalwarts of the doomed Confederacy. They're riding horses and with hats held over their hearts. Lee stands nine stores tall!
Lest there be any doubt about the purpose of this structure, we learn it was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1915. It was put forth as the South's foremost Confederate shrine.
Maybe it could have stayed benign as sort of a gesture toward American history. As such, maybe it could be accepted. But the Ku Klux Klan came out of hiatus to re-form there in a rally in 1915. The Klan would declare Atlanta its Imperial City.
Who would want to take responsibility for such a sculpture today? Well, someone has to own it. Stone Mountain Park is perhaps surprisingly owned by the State of Georgia. It's managed by Stone Mountain Memorial Association, a Georgia state authority. This may not be a placid state of affairs.
An activist named McCartney Forde suggests replacing the current symbolism with something more unifying. Using the "Change.org" petition system, Forde wants people to come on board with the idea of stepping into the 21st Century, as it were.
Forde is concerned that Stone Mountain as it is now, "perpetuates the perception of Georgia as an icon of racism, slavery and oppression," according to an online news account. He calls it a "black eye." He wants to see something new there, a monument that would honor all Georgia servicemen who were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in post-Civil War conflicts.
I'm guessing that state officials would be relieved if such a change happened. They must have to approach Stone Mountain very delicately. There cannot be any suggestion that the Confederacy itself had virtue.
You might say Stone Mountain represents the supreme challenge for "spinning." Somehow the original message of this monument has to be covered up and replaced with something about reconciliation. Yes, there was a conflict called the Civil War. Yes, the losing side was going to stick with slavery. Yes, all the forces of history and destiny were aligned against the likes of Lee, Jackson and Davis.
But the Old South was re-incorporated into the U.S.
Might Stone Mountain be allowed as kind of a sop? Could it be sold merely as a gesture to history? I'm guessing this is the best Georgia state officials can do.
Some change was forced in the '90s when the park at the mountain's base was named an Olympic venue. A museum exhibit opened just before the Olympic Games. There was no mention of the KKK.
Tony Horwitz wrote that "the park's management had also chosen to soften the Confederate content of a popular laser show that used the sculpture as a backdrop."
Horwitz wrote about a visit there in his acclaimed book "Confederates in the Attic." He was struck by differences with Mount Rushmore. He wrote "here, the figures were shown in profile, in relatively shallow relief, as though a huge Confederate coin had left a fossil-like print on the mountain face."
Horwitz took in the laser show. A soft drink company had no problem promoting itself. But this was a painstakingly sanitized show. The images were fast and furious, all quite innocuous and reflecting pop culture more than anything. The mascots of various Georgia universities appeared. The song "Dixie" blared forth but it segued into "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
We must remember who won that war, indeed. Finally the image was projected of Lee breaking his sword across his leg. Reconciliation! Never mind that the end of the bloody U.S. Civil War had Lee saying "uncle."
The sound track finally played "God Bless the U.S.A." Fireworks erupted. Symbolism of a unified America prevailed.
Was this enough? Forde and presumably many others think not.
Jim Bouton wrote in "Ball Four" (1970) about the people promoting "rebel" imagery in the South, that "they should let that stuff die with their grandfathers." He probably should have written "great grandfathers." Today the word "great" could be affixed several times.
But there is nothing great about Stone Mountain at least in terms of its message. Forde is right: a new, great message could be proclaimed there. The momentum is on his side. The Confederacy does nothing but lose.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, May 3, 2013

Beyer, Picht sock homers in 14-12 win

Runs were aplenty in the MACA baseball Tigers' Thursday (5/2) game at Paynesville. The Tigers plated runs in six of the seven innings. It was quite the onslaught and it was needed, considering that the Bulldogs were doing well scoring too.
The green-clad Bulldogs led 9-5 after three innings. The fourth frame was decisive. MACA erupted for five runs and went on to add two each in the fifth and sixth, en route to a 14-12 win.
It was win No. 5 on the season against zero losses.
Click on the permalink below to read about the Tigers' wins over YME and Minnewaska. This post also includes reviews of two MACA softball games - a win and a loss. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
 
The orange and black cause pounded out 13 hits in the Thursday baseball success. But we were actually outdone by Paynesville who had 15 hits.
The Bulldogs have had more trouble getting their season going in this late spring of 2013; Thursday's game was just their third.
Mac Beyer made a big statement for Morris Area Chokio Alberta in the first frame: a two-run homer blast.
That big fourth inning had a homer bat showcased again. The stage was set with two bases on balls. Up to bat comes Tanner Picht who has put aside his hockey skates for a while. Picht came through with quite a "slap shot," as it were, delivering a three-run home run.
The Tigers hit safely often but also took advantage of many walks, 13 in all. The error totals were four for MACA and three for Paynesville.
Logan Manska was the winning pitcher and Tanner Harder was tagged with the loss.
Picht's home run was part of a two-for-four boxscore line. Beyer's blast highlighted a three-for-four showing in the stats. Beyer complemented that blow with two doubles, and his RBI harvest was five.
Two other Tigers finished two-for-four: Chandler Erickson and Jacob Torgerson. Torgerson drove in two runs and had a double in the mix. Manska had two hits in as many at-bats. Bryce Jergenson and Tyler Henrichs each had a hit with Henrichs' being a double.
The Paynesville hitting standouts were Nathan Meyer and Matthew Quade.
 
Softball: Paynesville 8, Tigers 2
The softball story had a different tone for MACA Thursday, a losing one, as the green-clad Bulldogs came here and prevailed 8-2.
Errors took a toll. The MACA line score included four errors. The Tigers did outhit Paynesville 7-5. But the error bugaboo opened the door for three unearned runs coming in for Paynesville over the first three innings.
McKenzie Van Batavia was on the pitching rubber for the orange and black. The winning pitcher was Megan Schaefer.
MACA wasn't able to break through to score until the seventh inning. Paynesville exploited errors to build a 4-0 lead over the first three innings. Paynesville went on to score one run in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Allie Stanger helped apply an exclamation point for the victor with a double in the seventh. Paynesville was able to survive three errors of their own.
Paynesville's win was its fifth in as many games. MACA came out of the day at 4-2.
A pair of Tigers each had two hits: Brooke Johnson with two hits in four at-bats, and Bri Abril at two-for-three with an RBI. Other Tigers hitting safely were Van Batavia, Abby Olson (a double), Nicole Strobel and Megan Gillespie.
Let's see the door opened for more mild, spring-like weather!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com