Brute’s Bleat


    It was an exciting three weekends of baseball in Maple Lake and Delano for this year’s Class B and C tournaments which brought some huge crowds to both towns.  It wasn’t the Cinderella finish I would have liked to have seen (Maple Lake vs. Howard Lake), but the Class C champion Sartell team played like champions and were a worthy recipient of the first-place trophy.  On the final weekend they defeated Sobieski 2-1 in a 7:30 p.m. game Saturday, came back on Sunday at 11 a.m. defeating Fergus Falls 11-4 and then Jordan at 7:30 p.m. the same day and overwhelmed Belle Plaine 10-0 in the championship game Monday.  Maple Lake fans turned out in record numbers for the Laker game with Luverne which went 11 innings before losing 3-2.  Howard Lake had the longest game of the tournament, a 17-inning affair before they bowed out to Belle Plaine 7-6 in the quarter-finals of the tournament.  Belle Plaine will be one of the sites for the 2014 State Tournament.  In the Class B tournament Cold Spring defeated Shakopee 8-6 in a game played at Delano on Monday. It was a tournament with a lot of well-pitched games which echoes the often heard phrase, pitching is the name of the game.  From my swivel chair at the pass gate I had a chance to watch the volunteers in the food stand and believe me they all did a great job keeping the fans well-fed.  Working over the hot French friers and the hamburger grills in the hot sun was demanding to say the least.  The pig wings were a great idea and sold well, but hamburgers were the favorite of fans and two people were usually manning those grills, especially during the peak between game times.  All of the volunteers did a great job to help keep the tournament running smoothly.  Adult daily admission to the games was $7.00 which was a heck of a bargain, considering the ticket was good for four games on Saturdays and Sundays. 
I had a chance to visit with some Sobieski fans and one fellow remarked how well the farm crops looked in this area. He said they hadn’t had any rain for two months and the corn and beans weren’t going to make it to harvest.  He acknowledged they have a lot of sandy soil which takes a lot of rain. Some is rocky and clay which he said produces corn even though there are a lot of stones.  He was impressed with the ballpark and commented they continue to make improvements, the most recent was to put in a grass infield in the Sobieski park replacing the agri. lime.  Another fellow from Clear Lake watching the Sobieski-Sartell pre-game, which was delayed by rain, commented about the good pitching both teams had and figured Sartell was the sleeper in the tournament. This was before the game started and I should have been making bets after talking with him!  
I got a few hints on pheasants from members of the visiting teams and the state board members, but it still doesn’t sound like much of a fall pheasant hunting season.  I suspect it will be a great year for those who operate pheasant farms.  It’s not like hunting wild birds, but at least the dogs can enjoy themselves and a person can get some shooting. It’s an option I’m thinking about.  I haven’t been fishing the past week, mostly because it was too warm, if not hot; but September should be a good time to find a meal of sunnies.  
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DNR Question of the week:
Q: The ash trees in my yard are producing lots of seeds this year, more than in previous years. How unusual is this? Is it weather related?
A: Trees produce large amounts of seed for a couple of reasons. Trees under stress from drought, soil compaction, or planting “off-site” may produce more seed to ensure another generation. Weather can also impact the number of seeds a tree produces. Ash are wind-pollinated, so if there are heavy rains during flowering, pollen is unable to travel by wind, and seed set and production can be reduced.
In some species of trees, heavy seed production occurs normally every few years.
-Val Cervenka, forest health program coordinator, DNR Forestry Division