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Wow, only three practices left

May 4, 2009

by Aaron Schultz

As I sat in my office on a rainy Wednesday morning, I was debating what to do for high school baseball practice.

With the rain, I had no intention of making the boys go outside in the wet, windy conditions, which left me with the Lester Prairie gym.

If baseball practice in a gym wasn’t bad enough, we had already taken the batting cage down for prom, and had put it away.

That meant no hitting, and pretty much left me with only so many options.

I almost decided to give the boys off, but then I started looking at our (Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity baseball) schedule and something just blew my mind.

Starting today (Monday), we have just three regular season practices left on the year – just three!

That doesn’t even seem possible, but with the calendar turning to May, it makes sense.

This week we have four games, with our one day off being picture day, which is a day when we usually don’t get much done.

Either way, photo day or not, I wasn’t planning on having too long of a practice since we do have four games this week.

That leaves the following week, where we have three games, and two open days for practice.

That is, assuming we don’t need to use one of those days for a make-up game.

Yep, just two practices left in the regular season, wow!

Our regular season ends Monday, May 18, when we host Mayer Lutheran, and the playoffs follow from there.

We should have two more practices then, prior to the start of the Section 2A tournament, with the opening round of the tourney starting Thursday, May 21.

However, there is always that outside chance that we might have to play in the play-in game of the tournament, which would take place Monday, May 18.

That doesn’t appear very likely since LP/HT has already beaten Nicollet, one team in our section, and have three more section games to come.

If the Bulldogs win at least one of those three remaining section games, they should avoid the play-in game.

It was that same play-in game last year when their season ended by losing to Buffalo Lake-Hector.

Looking at the current Section 2A, North Sub-section standings, the top two teams seem to clearly be Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and New Ulm Cathedral.

Both only have one loss on the year, and are perennial powerhouses in Class 1A baseball.

But, after those two squads, the rest of the section is pretty even, and the third through nine seeds are wide open.

Currently, at least by record, Nicollet would be the third seed.

That is the same Nicollet team that LP/HT beat 10-9 April 24.

The Bulldogs’ remaining Section 2A games this year are against McLeod West (a game that was played Friday), Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, and Buffalo Lake-Hector.

In the best-case scenario, should LP/HT win all three of those games, they could come away with a third seed in the sub-section tournament, meaning an opening round home game when the playoffs start.

One way or another, these final two-plus weeks of the regular season are going to be busy for the Bulldogs, but exciting none-the-less.

HLWW baseball

The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers’ baseball team is in the West Sub-Section of Section 5AA, and what a tough sub-section.

Like LP/HT, the Lakers are currently sitting in fourth place in the sub-section as far as records go (4-4 when this column was written).

The top two teams seem to have a stranglehold on the top two spots as Big Lake is 10-1 and Annandale is 7-2.

No one else in the sub-section has an above-.500 record, and HLWW and Litchfield are both sitting at .500.

Where the Lakers might get hurt in the seedings, when they come out in a couple of weeks, are by a pair of early season losses.

The Lakers fell to both Watertown-Mayer and Zimmerman early in the year, and both of those teams, with 3-9 and 4-8 records respectively, are sitting below HLWW.

Of course, the season still has a long way to go, and should the Lakers get hot over these final couple of weeks, a home playoff game is still in their sights.

HLWW softball

The Laker softball team is in a little bit different boat than the baseball team is.

HLWW is off to a very nice 6-4 start to the year, but that record doesn’t even put them in the top half of the Section 5AA, West Sub-section standings.

Their sub-section is loaded with the likes of Annandale, Dassel-Cokato, Delano, and Watertown-Mayer.

LP/HT softball

The LP/HT softball team has been having themselves a very good year to-date, and that is especially true when it comes to playing section teams.

LP/HT is in Section 4A, and they are currently 7-0 in games against teams from their section.

Should LP/HT continue to play strong, the top seed in the section should be theirs for the taking.

The big game of the year will come Tuesday, May 5, when they host the defending Class 1A state champions, New Life Academy.

If LP/HT can top New Life, the top seed should be theirs.

However, even a loss to New Life shouldn’t drop LP/HT too far, and no lower than a third seed seems about right according to the current records.