Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Section 6AAAA Baseball Preview

                                                      2017 SECTION 6AAAA BASEBALL PREVIEW

Despite the rain and chilly weather the last few days, it's time for high school baseball to begin the road to Target Field as HSGN previews the 2017 Section 6AAAA Baseball Tournament

The top seeded and defending state Class AAAA champion Wayzata Trojans got off to a solid 5-0 start before losing to their Lake Conference rival the Minnetonka Skippers.  They played the Skippers for the second time this season and lost 4-3 on May 19.  Looking to pull off the upset is the eighth seeded Minneapolis South Tigers.  Even though they have a winning record, the Tigers were seeded ahead of the Cooper Hawks who had only two wins this season, including one that came against the St. Louis Park Orioles in the second game of a doubleheader on May 15.  Mpls. South will need to solve Wayzata's pitching and score runs in bunches.

Though the St. Louis Park Orioles have a sub .500 record, they are the fourth seed and host the fifth seeded Minneapolis Washburn Millers.  The Orioles will need to get solid pitching and cut down on errors to escape a 2-6 run since they upset Wayzata 5-4 on May 6.  A player to keep an eye on is the future of the program in eight grader Sam Hunt.  He can play three positions, catcher, pitcher and the outfield.  The Millers went undefeated in the Minneapolis City Conference and rode an eight game winning streak early in the season including three shut outs that ended early due to the ten run rule.  Can the Orioles shut down the Millers offensive attack?

Now to the lower bracket as the second seeded Hopkins Royals take on the seventh seeded Cooper Hawks.  After enduring a couple of three game losing streaks this season, the Royals look like their putting things together as they beat Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie and shut out the St. Louis Park Orioles 7-0 on May 22.  Hopkins played Washburn on May 8 and won their only game via the 10 run rule 14-3.  As for the Hawks, they need to have an excellent all around game to beat the Royals just like they did in the May 15 nightcap against St. Louis Park.  But what's baffling is that why a team with only two regular season wins is seeded seventh instead of eighth.  Can they be the sleeper team and prove that their season wasn't all that bad?

Concluding the quarterfinal bracket is the sixth seeded Minneapolis Southwest Lakers and the third seeded Armstrong Falcons.  The Lakers have won six of their last seven games that included a four game stretch where they outscored their opponents 55-7.  They have scored more than 10 runs in seven of their wins this season.  They were scheduled to play Cooper on May 20 but that game like many others was postponed due to the all day rain that pelted the Twin Cities area.  The Falcons, despite a 9-10 record faced Washburn in their regular season finale and won 9-5 in eight innings.  They played Hopkins on April 12 and came up short 7-6.  Is a rematch in the works?

So there you have it.  A look at the matchups in Section 6AAAA.  Can Mpls. South do what Holy Angels did several years ago in Section 4AA and come up from the eighth seed to the section final?  There's plenty of exciting section baseball that begins on Wednesday, May 24.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Two Site Doubleheader for HSGN on May 19

Due to rescheduling of a girls lacrosse postponement between the Mounds View Mustangs and the St. Louis Park Orioles on May 1 because of rain, the date and site were changed.  Instead of Mounds View, St. Louis Park was the site for the Orioles final regular season home game that saw Laney Wolter score six goals to lead the Mustangs to a an 18-9 victory over the host Orioles Friday night.

Since the author of this blog is the public address announcer for girls lacrosse and baseball at St. Louis Park, it became a two site double header with girls lacrosse beginning at 5 PM, with baseball to follow at 7 at Derrick Keller Field at Dakota Park between the Orioles and the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles.

First up was girls lacrosse as Talia Simonett scored from the right side to give the Orioles the early lead.  The Mustangs would surge into the lead with four unanswered goals from Anna Solheim, Grace Nickoloff and two from Taylor Rimell.  Roethler would end Mounds View's run as Anna Roethler received a pass from Halle Weinmann, broke through two defenders and scored.  It would then become a back and forth exchange of goals between Roethler and Rimell that would put Mounds View ahead 5-4.  Wolter would heat up for the Mustangs as she ended the first half with five goals and assisted on Rimell's fourth goal to give Mounds View a 12-4 halftime lead.

Mounds View would distance themselves from St. Louis Park in the second half, scoring the first three goals.  Wolter, Solheim and Rimell would tally for the Mustangs.  The Orioles would score three goals as Roethler scooped up a ground ball that followed a pass from Sofia Roloff, that resulted in a ground ball. Roethler scooped it up and sent the ball to the net.  Roloff would pick up her second assist as she found Sara McCalllon and she would score the goal.  Roethler would score her fourth goal, scoring from the center slot.  Kaitlyn Siebert would strike twice with a pair of goals.  Maira Robert would also contribute as she made making an assist.

Roethler would also score twice and it gave her five goals for the game.  They got goals from Robert and Morgan Kelly to conclude the scoring,

The Mustangs improved their record to 6-5 and travels to Woodbury to face the Royals at 7 PM.  The Orioles fell to 4-7 and will also be on the road and will also be in action on the 25th as head to Bloomington to take on the Kennedy Eagles

About five minutes later, it was on to Derrick Keller Field for Senior Night as the Oriole baseball team took on the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles.  It was "Double double toil and trouble" for the Eagles as St. Louis Park hit four consecutive doubles in the bottom of the first inning en route to an 11-7 win.

The Orioles sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the first as Connor Cornell, Riley Dvorak, Julien Shadle and Shea Pekarek hit doubles that resulted in three runs.

St. Louis Park would add two runs in the bottom of the second as the Kennedy defense committed three errors.  Dvorak's RBI single scored Johnny Sorenson and Cornell would score on a wild pitch by Hoyt DeVolder.  They would extend their lead to eight in the third that included a two RBI single by Dvorak.

Oriole starting pitcher Noah Fracassi took a no hitter into the top of the fourth inning but he was pulled after giving up consecutive walks to Erik Swenson and Kyle Conzemius.  Jacob Stillman came in to retire the next two batter but gave up the first Kennedy hit in the top of the fifth as John Kern hit a two RBI single.

DeVolder would double home Conzemius in the top of the sixth and Ben Cradle would hit a ground out to Dvorak at short to score DeVolder. In the bottom of the sixth, Luke Mobley would hit a two RBI single and score on Stillman's single

 DeVolder would also bring home Swenson and Cradle's RBI double capped a three run seventh inning.  Johnny Sorenson, who would pick up the save as he retired Jacob Ekholm and Kern with the bases loaded to preserve the win.

Prior to the start of the game, Cornell, Shadle, Fracassi, Matthew Meyer, Eddie Halvorson Sam Amundson and Jack Elias were honored in a Senior Night ceremony.  Student manager Riley Hannon was also honored threw the first pitch.

St. Louis Park improved their record to 7-11 and concludes the regular season Saturday, May 20 at noon at Hopkins.  Kennedy closes their season on Monday, May 22 as they host the Mpls. South Tigers at 7 PM at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Simonett Leads SLP Orioles to Senior Night Victory

Thursday night was Senior Night for the St. Louis Park girls lacrosse team and one of the six seniors recognized before the games, Talia Simonett scored two goals and assisted on two others to lead the host Orioles to a 7-4 win over the Duluth Wolfpack.

It took only :16 for the Orioles to take the early lead as Anna Roethler, who will play soccer next season at Carleton College in Northfield, made a centering pass to Sofia Roloff and she shot the ball into the net.  Josie Peterson would even the score for the Wolf pack :40 later.  St. Louis Park would regain the lead on a goal by SJ.  They would take a two goal lead when Simonett fed Roloff and she scored her second goal.  Duluth cut the lead to one as Fayja Erceg went past SJ and drove the ball to the net.  The Wolfpack would tie the game at three on a goal by Chloe Cederstrom with 3:10 to go in the half.  But St. Louis Park would head back in front when Halle Weinmann passed to Roethler and she would score with :13.9 to go and give the Orioles a 4-3 halftime lead.

The Wolfpack would tie the game at four to begin the second half on Annie Reichhoff's goal.  Would there be a happy bus ride home up I-35 to the Twin Ports?  Not on Senior Night for the Orioles as the scored the next three goals to put the game away.  Simonett would pick up her second assist as she set up SJ's second goal to put St.Louis Park ahead.  She would also show her speed and athleticism as she would score the game's final two goals.  Her first goal came following a pass from Anna Van Pilsum-Johnson and she went around the right side of the net, cut into the center slot and drove the ball to the net.  Simonett would add her second goal and that concluded the scoring.

Prior to the start of the game, in addition to Simonett, Roloff, Roethler, SJ and Dania El Ghandour were the other seniors honored.

St. Louis Park improved their record to 4-6 and wraps up their home season Friday afternoon at 5 PM against the Mounds View Mustangs.  Duluth falls to 5-6 and will also be in action on the 19th as they head down I-94 to St. Paul to face the Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders at 7 PM at O'Shaughnessy Stadium on the campus of St. Thomas University.

Wolfpack assistant coach Kari Romano is the granddaughter of former Minnesota-Duluth men's hockey coach and athletic director Ralph Romano.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chanhassen Storm Rains on SLP Orioles Parade

Though there was no rain pelting the turf field at St. Louis Park, the Orioles net was raining hat tricks from Kelly Walstad,  Livie Saatzer  and Erica Peterson to lead the Chanhassen Storm to an 18-4 win over the host Orioles Tuesday night.

It was the fifth win in six games for the Storm.  Their only loss in that stretch was 17-10 to the Minnetonka Skippers on May 12.

Chanhassen opened the first half scoring on Walstad's first goal that came on a centering pass from Peterson.  St. Louis Park would tie the game on Talia Simonett's goal from the right side.  That was the only good news for the Orioles in the first half.  The bad news came as the Storm would score eight unanswered goals.  Walstad , Saatzer and Peterson  would account for six goals.  Saatzer's second goal would come on a centering pass from Abby Anderson.  Also tallying for Chanhassen were Emma Silbernagel and Maddie Waldron.  St. Louis park would end Chanhassen's run with two consecutive goals from Simonett.  The Storm would add two more goals to their ledge as Kayler Loubser would tally and Maddie Waldrom wrapped up the first half scoring with :02.1 remaining to give Chanhassen a 11-3 halftime lead.

Erica Peterson would strike early for the Storm, scoring on a free shot :38 into the second half.  Rowan Hodgins would score Chanhassen's next two goals, the second came on an assist from Peterson.  Elle Wagner would also score on a free shot.  As the game went on to running time, Waldron received a pass from Silbernagel and she sent the ball toward the net.  The Orioles would get a break that would result in their next goal.  SJ centered the ball to Anna Roethler and she went up field, going through the defense and she was fouled inside and awarded a free shot.  Roethler would aim the ball into the net, ending the Storm's run at five.  But before the Storm would begin a long bus ride down Highway 212, they would conclude the scoring with two more goals.  The first would come from Grace Doerring and Wagner would conclude the scoring with 5:40 left in the game.

Chanhassen improves their record to 7-2 and heads to Orono on Wednesday, May 17 for a 6:30 game against the Spartans.  St. Louis Park drops to 3-5 and hosts the Duluth Wolfpack on Thursday, May 18 at 7 PM.  It will also be Senior Night as six Oriole seniors will be honored prior to the start of the game.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cooper Hawks and SLP Orioles Split Doubleheader

An early afternoon shower gave way to a beautiful Monday as the Cooper Hawks and the St. Louis Park Orioles split a doubleheader with the Orioles flying over the Hawks in the first game 15-1 and in the second game, Cooper broke a 6-6 tie with a six run seven inning to beat St. Louis Park 11-6.

In the first game it was all St. Louis Park as the Orioles scored two runs in the second inning on a two run single by eighth grade catcher Sam Hunt.  They added three more runs in the third to go up by five, including an RBI single by Brent Ryan.

Hunt would account for the only run in the top of the fourth with a home run over the right field fence.  He would also drive in two more runs to give him five RBIs for the day as the Orioles would put the game away with nine runs in the top of the sixth.  St. Louis Park sent 13 batters to the plate and the first nine would reach base and head home as walks and wild pitches contributed to the lengthy half inning.  Josh Gabrick would steal home in the bottom of the sixth as an attempted pick off play for St. Louis Park accounted for the only Cooper run.

Jack Elias pitched a complete game for St. Louis Park, giving up only three hits and striking out four batters.

Now to the second game as both teams would tally in the first inning.  The Hawks got their run on a ground out to second baseman shea Pekarek that scored Will Young and the Orioles vaulted into the lead with two runs on back to back doubles from Riley Dvorak and Julien Shadle.

St. Louis Park would add three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on RBI singles from Johnny Sorenson, Connor Cornell and Dvorak.  But the Hawks would fly into the lead with four runs in the top of the sixth, including a two run double by Martin Spies.  The Orioles got a run back in the top of the inning on an RBI single by Jacob Stillman that scored Luke Mobley.

Cooper would put the game away in the top of the seventh as they scored six runs and took advantage of lackluster St. Louis Park fielding.  Spies hit his second double of the game and Zach Thomas had an RBI single.  The Orioles had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh as they scored two runs on a single from Pekarek and a sacrifice fly by Mobley that scored Dvorak.  The bases were loaded with two outs and Stillman had a chance to clear the bases and send the fans home happy.  But he would hit into a force play to end the game.

The Hawks record is now 2-14 and the will host the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles on Wednesday, May 17 at 4:30 PM.  The Orioles have a 7-10 record and are also in action on the 17th as the head to Benilde-St. Margaret's for a 7 PM game with the Red Knights.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

HSGN's Top 10 Worst Game Shows of All-Time

There have been many game shows that have aired since network television began in the 1940s.  There have been classics such as What's My Line? Password, The Price is Right and Hollywood Squares but there have been shows that have been just plain bad.  Here is HSGN's list of the Top 10 Worst Game Shows of All-time.

10.  Blankety Blanks.  Bill Cullen has hosted 23 game shows, the most of any host.  Some shows he hosted ran 13 weeks but Blankety Blanks had the shortest run of any show he ran.  Coming from producer Bob Stewart, two celebrity-contestant teams played to solve a word puzzle.  The player who solves the puzzle gets to solve a Blankety Blank, which was usually a pun.  The winner got the money, which was determined by electronic cards that were inserted into a device on Cullen's desk.  The losing team received a strike.  Three strikes and the player was finished.  After four weeks, the format was changed to a team who earns $2500 wins the game.  The game itself was too slow and the puns weren't good.  After 10 weeks, Blankety Blanks went blank and was replaced by the show it replaced, reruns of The Brady Bunch.  

9.  Celebrity Bullseye.  The production team of Jack Barry and Dan Enright were on a roll with revivals of The Joker's Wild and Tic Tac Dough have successful runs in syndication.  In 1980, a third show from the duo debuted titled Bullseye with Jim Lange as host.  The show did well in its first season and was renewed for a second.  Three months into the second season, the show changes format and becomes Celebrity Bullseye, with celebrity contestants playing for charity.  Here's where the show goes downhill.  The questions are all multiple choices and even worse, the celebrities keep asking for the three choices to be repeated on most of the questions, slowing down the pace of the game.  An enjoyable show in its first season later becomes unwatchable.  Fortunately, the show ended production after two seasons.  

8.  That ****Quiz Show.  Comedy game shows have had a checkered history since You Bet Your Life went off the air in 1961.  Hollywood Squares and the 70s incarnation of Match Game were two hit game shows that had successful long runs.  But there have been other comedy games that came and went such as Make Me Laugh, Can You Top This and Laff-A-Thon. The latter was a short-lived show on Showtime that was hosted by comedian Jimmy Brogan.  In 1982, there was That **** Quiz Show, the only show hosted by twin midget brothers John & Greg Rice.  The show featured three contestant teams of two who had unusual occupations or claims to fame.  The scoring system was similar to You Bet Your Life whereas a team started with $500 and could bet as much money as the want on each question.  Whoever had the highest score came back for a bonus question. All the questions had four possible answers and there was at least one per show that kept making fun of the blogger's former home state New Jersey.  The show turned out to be a flop and ended production after 13 weeks.  

7.  That's Amore.  Based on an Italian game show, the show used the same host as the originating country, Luca Barbesheri.  Three couples aired gripes about each other and the audience voted for the couple who was right about their beefs.  Is this a game show?  This sounds more like topics for talk shows hosted by Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos, etc.  The only good thing about the show was that the theme song was the show's title, a hit song by Dean Martin.  Otherwise, it was a terrible premise that lasted only a season in syndication.  

6.  Treasure Isle.  Though Treasure Isle made game show history in 1967 by becoming the first outdoor daytime game show to be taped in Florida.  Backed by millionaire John D. MacArthur and taped at his Colonnades Hotel in Palm Beach Shores, the show defied the criteria for a hit show.  The rules were too complicated to follow and the home audience was not involved in the show, they were more of a spectator.  It was the only game show John Bartholomew Tucker hosted and he closed each slow with the line "When you head for home, you gotta slide."  

5.  The Magnificent Marble Machine.  Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley were best known for creating game shows with larger than life sets such as Video Village, Hollywood Squares and the kids game show Runaround.  But in 1975, they created a show that would tun out to be a major flop.  Two celebrity contestant teams played a word game where clues came on an electronic screen.  The first team to get five (later four) correct answers went on to play a giant pinball machine to win prizes. If they reached a goal of 15,000 points that would go down by 1,000 until it was won, they team would play the all cash gold moneyball.  The show's pinball format was boring since it's more of a participant game and not much of a game for spectators. Also, the machine kept breaking down and the balls had to be repainted after each game.  Worse, the game went through a number of format changes, which is usually a sign of a bad show.  In addition to the changes in the pinball game, that included only bumpers counting for prizes, the show also changed to an all-celebrity format, usually the kiss of death for any game show.  HSGN can only describe this show in one word, TILT!  

4.  Three's a Crowd.  Did Chuck Barris go too far with this show, that had the premise of "Who knows a man best, his wife or his secretary?  The show was structured similar to The Newlywed Game and it drew fire from groups such as the National Organization from Women that cause Barris to yank the show from syndication in the spring of 1980.  The backlash hurt him so much that he also ended production on his other shows, including The Dating Game and the Newlywed Game.  As for host Jim Peck, he would move from this turkey to substituting for Jack Barry as host on The Joker's Wild and was set to take over as permanent host in the fall of 1984.  But Barry died of a heart attack in May and Dan Enright decided to go with Bill Cullen instead of Peck.

3.  You're in the Picture.  The shortest lived of any of the shows on this list, it was hosted by Jackie Gleason and aired on January 20, 1961.  Four panelists stuck their head through cardboard cutouts and through questions b Gleason, they had to guess the setting that was depicted.  One of the biggest game show bombs of all-time.  The following weak, Gleason appeared solo and made a half hour apology for the travesty that occurred the previous week.  The following week, Gleason returned with a variety show before beginning the American Scene magazine in 1962.  Unfortunately, this was his only game show and it wasn't in the picture for a long run. 

2.  Card Sharks (2001 version).  The first two incarnations of Card Sharrks had two three year runs and were hosted by Jim Perry and Bob Eubanks.  A syndicated version also aired with Bill Rafferty as host.  Those versions were simple, fast paced gambling games that involved the home audience, especially when the home viewer could guess how many people responded to a poll of 100 people.  But the 2001 version was a totally different show that was hosted by Pat Bullard and produced by FremantleMedia got rid of what was the best part of the game, the survey questions.  Instead, they went to a straight seven card game.  But in order to change the card, they could use a "Clip Chip', that showed a "Street Smarts" like situation and if they predicted the correct outcome, they got to change the card.  The only part of the game that didn't change was the money cards.  That was the good news.  The bad news was this version of Card Sharks had a much shorter run than its predecessors.  

And now for the number one worst game show of all-time...
1. The Neighbors.  Hosted by Regis Philbin, the show featured five female neighbors, with two serving as contestants and the other three comprising the panel.  The premise was to find out how well the neighbors know each other.  Who cares what Neighbor A said about Neighbor B or what Neighbor C would say about Neighbor D?  It was a show that left the viewer as a spectator and had no real value at all.  It wasn't an interesting show to watch.  The good news was that more than 20 years after The Neighbors was mercifully canceled, Philbin would redeem himself with the prime time game show hit Who Wants to be a Millionaire? where he created one of the famous game show catch phrases "Is that your final answer?"  HSGN's final answer is The Neighbors is the worst game show of all-time.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Senior Night Shellacking for SLP Orioles

Friday night was Senior Night for the St. Louis Park boys lacrosse team and they celebrated in style as senior captain Brody Ilstrup scored six goals and junior Jackson Lochan added another six to lead the Orioles to a 16-5 win over the Breck Mustangs.

If you arrived late because of road construction, you missed plenty of scoring in the early going.  The Orioles would score four goals in the first 1:42 Lochan, who scored six goals in the Chaska game would score the first two goals.  He scored on a rebound :37 into the game and tallied from the center slot :16 later.  St. Louis Park would go up by three when Mitchell Vortherms made a centering pass to Kyle Hedblom and he would send it to the net.  Zach Ryan would score from the right side :30 alter and the lead increased to four.  Vortherms would score the fifth goal of the period off a pass from Lochan.  Then it was Ilstrup who would wrap up the first period of the scoring with two goals.  The second came from the 25 yard line and the Orioles were up by seven.

Ilstrup, who will play next season at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI would open the second period scoring with a line drive goal.  Breck would end the Orioles run at eight on a center slot goal from Gavin Hopping.  Ilstrup would score the Orioles next two goals.  His first came when he went around the left side of the net, found an open spot and scored.  He would score his next goal on a Mustang turnover.  Michael Kenney would end the second period scoring for the Mustangs when he scored with :02.3 to play and the Orioles led at the half 10-2.

St. Louis Park would score five unanswered goals in the third period as Lochan would find the net four times to give him 12 goals in two games.  He would score his first :32 into the period on a pass from Ilstrup.  His second goal came from the right side.  Hedblom would score the next goal before Lochan added two more.  He displayed outstanding speed as he cut to the center slot and lined the ball to the goal.  He would added his six goal with 1:09 left in the period.

Breck would finally get into an offensive rhythm in the fourth period on Hayden Parkhill's pass to Hopping and he would score his second goal.  Blaine Madson would score from the center slot.  St. Louis Park got its lone goal of the period as once again, Ilstrup intercepted a Mustang pass and found the open net.  Brendan Madson would wrap up the scoring for Breck as the ball reached the net at the final horn.

Ilstrup was one of four seniors who was recognized at halftime.  The other three were Benji Wyberg, Ernesto Garcia and Grant Plender.
The Orioles improved their record to 5-4 and begin a season ending road trip on Tuesday, May 16 against the Providence Academy Lions at 7 PM in Plymouth.  The Mustangs fall to 3-6 and host the Orono Spartans on Saturday, May 20 at 11:30 AM.