Brute’s Bleat September 9th, 2015

With the Labor Day weekend behind us, it’s time to think seriously about getting organized for fall activities. For me that means giving Vanna a fall hairdo to keep pulling cockleburs to a minimum. Her flowing tail is a built-in trait for English Setters, and while it’s attractive, it seems like it is a magnet for attracting burs, and two-pronged stickers (preacher’s lice), thistles and most any kind of weed that likes to imbed itself and make a tangled mess of her tail. Sometimes getting the cockleburs out, either from hunting or a walk in the park, doesn’t get done right away. When that happens she takes matters into her own hands (more likely her mouth) and pulls them out with her teeth. She’s not too fussy about where she spits them out and about this time of the year the seeds have sprouted from last fall and they have begun to grow in the lawn. I haven’t gotten out to the Silver Creek Sportman’s Park Tuesday evening trap shoot, but that’s another one of my “get ready” things I need to do. My hunting companions, after witnessing my terrible marksmanship last year, are probably thinking the sooner the better! Some people call it getting re-acquainted with your shotgun. Participating in the annual dove hunt might be a fun way to sharpen the shooting eye, and with some cool weather ahead of us, it’s a definite possibility. Checking out the hunting clothes is also on my list. Mostly to see if they have shrunk over the off-season! That’s not likely to be the problem, more likely it’s the fresh corn on the cob and other fall garden produce. As my barber, now deceased, used to say, “I’m not putting on weight, I’m building up my strength.” While those things and planning hunts is going to take some time, it’s also necessary to remember fall fishing is something I’d like to do more of this year. A trip to Maple Lake and Cedar Lake were not productive last week and I’m at a loss for a good answer. One angler told me to fish about a foot deep in 4-5 feet of water in the evenings for sunfish. . .
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I watched Howard Lake defeat Waconia 2-1 Sunday behind the strong arm of Shan Khan who pitched six scoreless innings. Manager Mike Gagnon called on Chris Hardie to finish. Waconia was held to two hits, the Orphans had nine. A day prior to that game Laker draftee Mitch Wurm started his second game in the tournament and cruised to a 9-4 win over New Ulm, pitching 8 1/3 innings. He had six strikeouts and allowed three earned runs. A double play, short to second to first, ended the ball game which was high-lighted by some great defensive efforts from the Orphans. Their short-stop, Dan Wackler, is one of the best. Wurm shut out the Brewers for four innings and held them to nine hits.
Sunday’s amateur baseball game between Plato and Nisswa was rain delayed until 11 a.m. Monday with Plato winning 3-2. Howard Lake was defeated by Green Isle 13-7 in their rain-postponed, semi-final game Monday when the roof caved in on them after leading 7-4 in the eighth inning. Pitching was crucial at this stage of the tournament and a seven-run Green Isle rally in the ninth spelled doom. Mitch Wurm, relieving starter Adam Koch, pitched four innings, and gave up three runs on four hits. He had one strikeout. Green Isle continued their rally against Orphans stopper, Chris Hardie, and Cokato draftee, Vinnie Pokornowski, adding six more runs. Ironically, Green Isle had five errors, but their 15 hits erased the miscues.
All in all it was a great tournament for the Orphans and draftee Mitch Wurm who pitched their first two wins, 4-1 over Lastrup and 9-4 over New Ulm.
This year’s finalists, Plato and Green Isle, both came out of Region 7 where they finished first and second, respectively. In previous games Green Isle held a one-game edge 3-2, but an outstanding pitching effort by Winsted draftee, Tony Kley, who struck out seven and gave up three runs on three hits, made the difference and led to a 14-6 win. He was named the tournament MVP. Plato pounded out 19 hits and had one error. Green Isle’s four -un lead, 6-2 after two, diminished when Plato added six in the fifth, 10-6, and two more in the seventh and another in the ninth.
The Watkins community can be proud of the efforts by the volunteers who did a great job of handling all the details that helped keep the tournament operating smoothly, especially through the inclement weather.