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The only person who likely doesn’t think New Life is off to a perfect start is Eagles head coach Dave Darr. Darr figured the Eagles were going to get a stiff test from Southwest Christian April 14. That didn’t happen. New Life bounced Southwest Christian 12-1 in five innings. It was Southwest Christian’s first loss of the spring. “I figured we were going to have to grind out a few runs to win a close ball game, but we made (Southwest Christian starter Graham Burke) throw pitches and when he did, we hit it well,” Darr said.
East Ridge’s offense struggled to get going at the beginning of the season. The Raptors plated a total of nine runs over their first three contests. Safe to say that slump is over. East Ridge has scored 50 runs over its past four games, including a 12-4 win at Park April 20. Raptors coach Brian Sprout said his guys can swing the bat, they just had to figure out what an at-bat was. “We’ve been more patient at the plate, and that’s been huge,” East Ridge senior shortstop Sam Cobbs said. “We’ve been waiting for our pitch rather than just swinging at everything.
East Ridge wasn’t thrilled with its performance in the Suburban East Conference match at Prestwick -- the Raptors home course -- April 14, as the Raptors carded a team score of 324 to place in a tie for fourth. “I don’t think we played very well,” Raptors head coach Bret Brookins said. “I think the kids were pretty disappointed in themselves, because they know they’re capable of better than that.” They’ve seen they’re capable of more, especially after East Ridge won the conference match at River Oaks just a day earlier. The Raptors were led by sophomore Jack Richardson, who tallied a 76.
Royals junior Matt Broich doesn’t play a winter sport at Woodbury. So he spent his time in the colder months fine-tuning his golf game. “That was pretty obviously clear in (our) first two rounds,” Royals head coach Kent Getzlaff said. Broich carded back-to-back 76s in Suburban East Conference matches to start the season at River Oaks April 13 and Prestwick, Woodbury’s home course, April 14. “It’s a great start,” Getzlaff said. “It’s two really great rounds to start the year.
John Culbertson is used to glancing down the Thunderbolts’ softball bench and having an assortment of substitute options at his disposal. No such luck this year. As Culbertson peers over at the bench when the team is in the field, he usually sees sees two faces -- one sub, and assistant coach Bruce Fiedler. It’s the same situation for the Thunderbolts’ one JV squad -- when everyone is present. The last two years South Washington County has had two JV teams. “Like my dad said, ‘Well now you really get to see if you’re a coach or not,” Culbertson said.
East Ridge, Park and Woodbury's boys golf teams were busy at the start of this week. But they did all get to stay close to home. River Oaks in Cottage Grove hosted a Suburban East Conference match Monday, while Prestwick hosted a SEC match Tuesday. All photos were taken by Jace Frederick.
Ten months later, New Life’s offense hasn’t skipped a beat. The same team, with a somewhat different set of bats, is still scoring runs at the pace of last year’s state championship squad. And that’s resulting in similar success. Through three games this season, New Life outscored its opponents 49-4. “It’s not a surprise, but it’s been a little easier than I thought it would be. That’s not a good thing, because we’re going to get a little full of ourselves,” Eagles head coach Dave Darr said.
Heritage Christian’s first batter grounded out to the shortstop April 9 against New Life. That was the only Heritage Christian player to put the ball in play. New Life senior hurler Val Hohol struck out the next 14 batters en route to a five-inning perfect game as New Life pulled away for a 10-0 victory. “She hit all of her corners,” New Life coach Mick Ramey said. “Just did a fantastic job.” Ramey recalled Hohol throwing a perfect game “a couple years ago,” as well.
East Ridge forward Grant Edwards sent the Raptors home a winner. Edwards' goal with 27 seconds to play pushed East Ridge past Eagan 10-9 Thursday night at East Ridge in the Raptors season-opener. The Raptors fell behind 9-7 with less than 10 minutes to play, but goals from Max Cooper and Evan Woodward leveled the score, before Edwards scored the game-clincher. That trio did the majority of the scoring for East Ridge, with Cooper scoring four times, Woodward three times and Edwards twice. Roman Woodward scored, as well. Peyton Bixby got the win in net for the Raptors.
Royals coach Kent Getzlaff is new to the varsity boys golf team this year. As are most of his players. Woodbury’s roster features all of one senior, and returns just two varsity contributors from a year ago in juniors Justin Tschida and Matt Broich. “Both of those guys have fairly good experience at the varsity level,” Getzlaff said. “But other than that the experience in varsity golf is really limited.” So Getzlaff is bringing his squad back to the basics. “Simple things that you kind of take for granted when you’re playing.