Zumbusch shoots down 10 MTA state titles

Bulldog pitchers firing blanks

Bulldog veteran calling it a career

Maple Lake spoils undefeated legion season for Post 270

Bison VFW defeats Maple Lake, Sauk Rapids; drops pair to Foley, Brainerd

Sunset Ridge Ranch hosting Meet and Greet on July 23

Former STMA swimmer wins Heart of the Lakes Triathlon

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - July 21, 2016
Rob LaPlante

Journal-Press Sports Editor Rob LaPlante may be reached
by phone at 763-682-1221 or click here to email him

Zumbusch shoots down 10 MTA state titles

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Buffalo resident Laure Zumbusch enjoyed her best week of shooting at this year’s 106th Annual Minnesota Trapshooting Association (MTA) State Tournament held June 5-10 at Alexandria Shooting Park.

Zumbusch took home six individual state championships, and finished first overall for Resident Females in High All-Around (373x400) and High Overall (1,030x1,100).

A 2006 graduate of Buffalo High School, Zumbusch grew up on a farm. But it wasn’t until May of 2004 when she finally decided to take up the sport of trapshooting.

She has spent the past 10 years attending various gun clubs and is a regular participant in the ATA events each Sunday at Buffalo Gun Club. This past year marked her 10th straight year attending the state shoot in Alexandria.

Prior to this summer, Zumbusch brought home one or two trophies at the most from state.

She came into this year with a different attitude.

“I told myself this spring that I was going to do more shooting,” Zumbusch said. “Obviously, the extra work paid off.”

On top of High All-Around and Overall, Zumbusch finished first in six female categories. She finished first on July 5 both in Event 1: Singles High Lady I (96x100) and Event 3: Doubles High Lady I (87x100).

On July 6, she was first in Event 5: Handicap High Lady I (95x100) at a distance of 20 yards. She was first on July 7 in Event 7: Singles High Lady I (99x100). On July 9, she won the Event 10: Resident Handicap High Lady I (95x100) at 20 yards. She concluded on July 10 by winning the Event 14: Handicap High Lady I (98x100) championship at a distance of 21.5 yards. She also was runner up in Event 6: Doubles High Lady I and Event 8: Handicap High Lady I.

Besides the 10 trophies she won, Zumbusch said the highlight of the state shoot was adding yards to her handicap shoot, and setting a personal milestone.

“For me, I was super excited when I got that 100-straight,” Zumbusch said. “I received a patch and a pin. That was the first time I ever did that.”



Kalley Johnson and Nathan Lysne of Delano, along with Morgan Psyk of Annandale, each finished top three in their category on Youth Day held July 5.

Johnson was third overall and first among ladies with a score of 95x100 for High Gun Junior Gold. Lysne shot a 99 to finish as High Gun Junior runner-up. Psyk fired a 97 to finish first for High Gun Junior.

Johnson, Lysne, and Corey Eckerdt of Big Lake teamed to take home the Junior Gold Team championship.

Sub-Junior Team runner-up went to Jacob Borgen, Kassandra Schoen, Tony Steffens, Kalley Berning, and Jordan Barthel of St. Michael-Albertville.

Kaden Stubstad of Buffalo was the Sub-Junior Champion Team Member, and Schoen of STMA was Pre-Sub Champion Team Member.       


Bulldog pitchers firing blanks

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Brett Renshaw supplied the offense and Connor Martin did the rest.

Renshaw’s fourth inning two-run homer gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead, which was more than enough offense for Martin, who allowed just one hit in earning an 8-0 shutout win Wednesday, July 13 at home over Montrose-Waverly.

Kirby Moynagh spoiled Martin’s no-hit bid with a one-out single in the top of the seventh inning.

“I started thinking about the no-hitter around the fifth and sixth innings,” Martin said. “We started to put up a few runs in those innings. As that happened, I was looking at the scoreboard a little bit more. That’s when I saw there were no hits.”

Although the win came against the winless and last-place Stingers, Martin said a number of things contributed to his best outing of his Bulldog career.

“We’ve been playing a lot better defense lately,” he said. “We made some really solid plays behind me.”

Martin is one of five different pitchers to record at least two wins this season. Unlike previous years, Buffalo has a number of pitchers that are capable of starting games, including Kevin Kray, who is 1-1 with one save in four appearances.

Jon Euerle continues to be the anchor that holds the pitching staff in place. Euerle improved to 3-2 on the season in Buffalo’s 5-0 home win last Sunday, July 17 over Cokato.

“That’s been the key to our success this year,” Euerle said. “We’re much deeper top-to-bottom with our pitching staff. If you look at our numbers this year compared to other years, it kind of bears itself out.”

Euerle struggled in the early innings, but picked up some key strikeouts to wiggle out of a couple jams. He left the game after seven shutout innings in which he allowed only three hits and struck out four.

“Jon didn’t have his best stuff, but he really fought hard,” Pokorney said. “Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff he still fights. That’s the great thing about him. He will find a way to make good pitches and battle and get guys out.”

Buffalo broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Ramon Vega Sr. Cokato pitcher Steve Schmitt nearly escaped the inning down 1-0, but with the bases loaded and two outs, Scott Iano hit a clutch RBI single that plated JD O’Donnell.

Iano’s hit killed what could have been huge momentum for the Kernels as Schmitt loaded the bases with nobody out.

“That was huge,” Pokorney said. “We were having a hard time getting our bats going against him. He was throwing everything. Scooter’s hit kind of helped is get going.”

Buffalo tacked on three insurance runs in the fifth inning and Euerle and reliever Thomas Eckstein closed the door the rest of the way. 

Eckstein stranded runners on first and second in both his two innings of relief.

Eckstein started a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings by Bulldog pitchers dating back to a 14-4 road win last July 10 in which he also pitched two scoreless innings in relief to close out the win.

“We’ve been getting great starts and relief appearances from a number of guys,” Pokorney said. “But we’ve been playing better defense, behind our pitching. That helps a lot.”

Buffalo’s win improved its overall mark to 13-8 and 10-7 in North Star League play. A log jam of seven teams trail league-leader Howard Lake (14-4) for positions 2-8 in the standings.

The top-seven teams receive an automatic bid to the Region 12C Tournament next month in Loretto.

Buffalo currently holds the sixth-place spot, but just one and a half games separates teams 3-8 in the standings.

“That’s been the goal all year is to stay out of the bottom four,” Euerle said. “We want to make it to the region tourney.”

“We talked about winning out,” Pokorney said. “We control our own destiny. If we win the rest of our games, we will be in the playoffs.”

Unlike previous years, no team in the North Star League looks invincible. First-place Howard Lake is 14-4 in league play. Last year’s champion, Maple Lake, has struggled through an injury-riddled season and sits in fourth place at 12-8.

“Some of the teams with bigger names have maybe gotten a little bit older,” Martin said. “That, and some guys are injured or not playing as much, which has helped with the parity. The lower teams like us, who have consistently been in the bottom five the past few years, are getting better.”

Buffalo’s hope of winning out took a minor setback with a 3-1 road loss Tuesday, July 19 at Loretto.

Kray suffered the loss after pitching five innings. Loretto broke a 1-1 tie scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Eric Newman relieved Kray pitching three scoreless innings.

Despite the loss, it was a big appearance for Kray, who became playoff eligible by making his fourth appearance of the season.

Corey Braun had two hits and drove in the lone run for Buffalo with an RBI single in the fourth inning. The lead was short lived as Loretto tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. The run snapped a string of 23 straight scoreless innings for Bulldog pitchers.

Buffalo has two remaining games on the schedule starting with a 7:30 p.m. road contest Friday, July 22 at Delano. They conclude the regular season with a 2 p.m. road game Sunday, July 24 at Maple Plain.

The Bulldogs currently hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against Hutchinson, but both Delano and Maple Plain won the first meetings of the season against Buffalo.


Buffalo 8, Montrose-Waverly 0

(Wednesday, July 13 at Buffalo)

Montrose-Wav 0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  – 0   1  1

Buffalo   0 0 0  2 3 2  0 1 0  – 8 11  3

STINGERS           AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Steffer          4    0    0    0    0    1   

T. Kunze      2    0    0    0    0    0

R. Moynagh 3    0    0    0    0    0

- Borders     1    0    0    0    0    0

K. Moynagh 3    0    1    0    0    0

B. Kunze      2    0    0    0    0    1

- Kolasa       2    0    0    0    0    0

Bickman       3    0    0    0    0    1

Koehlers      3    0    0    0    0    0

Farniok        3    0    0    0    0    1

Sohns           1    0    0    0    2    0

SAC- T. Kunze; HBP- T. Kunze, K. Moynagh; LOB- 7. E- B. Kunze.


B. Kunze (L)          5.2   8   7    7    6    3   

Kolasa       2.1   3   1    1    2    0   

TP- Kunze 110, Kolasa 40.

BULLDOGS         AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Ja. Senger    4    1    0    0    1    1   

Brings           4    2    1    0    1    1

Haight          3    1    2    2    1    0

- Newman    1    0    1    0    0    0

O’Donnell    3    1    1    2    2    0

Renshaw      4    1    3    4    1    0

Iano 4    0    1    0    0    1

Eckstein       3    0    0    0    0    0

- Watermiller       1    0    0    0    0    0

Annis3    0    0    0    1    0

Braun           3    2    2    0    1    0

2B- Haight, Iano; HR- Renshaw; SAC- Iano; LOB- 10. E- Newman, O’Donnell, Renshaw.

BULLDOGS           IP  H  R  ER BB  K

Martin (W)   9    1   0    0    2    4      

TP- Martin 106.


Buffalo 5, Cokato 0

(Sunday, July 17 at Buffalo)

Cokato 0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  – 0   6  4

Buffalo 0 0 0  2 3 0  0 0 x  – 5   9  2


E. Pokornowski   4    0    2    0    0    0   

Aho  4    0    0    0    0    2

L. Nelson     3    0    1    0    0    1

- Ham          1    0    1    0    0    0

I. Nelson      3    0    0    0    0    1

- Lueders     1    0    1    0    0    0

Haataja        2    0    0    0    1    0

- Carlson      1    0    0    0    0    1

Niemela        4    0    0    0    0    0

V. Pokornowski   4    0    0    0    0    1

West3    0    0    0    0    0

Halonen        3    0    1    0    0    0

LOB- 8. E- E. Pokornowski 2, Aho, West.


Schmitt (L)   8   9   5    3    2    11   

TP- Schmitt 146.

BULLDOGS         AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Ja. Senger    5    0    0    0    0    0   

Brings           4    0    0    0    0    2

- Annis         1    0    0    0    0    1

Haight          5    2    2    0    0    1

O’Donnell    2    2    1    0    1    1

Renshaw      4    0    0    1    0    2

Vega3    1    2    1    1    0

Braun           4    0    2    1    0    1

Vega Jr.       3    0    0    0    0    2

- Triden        1    0    0    0    0    1

Iano 3    0    2    1    0    0

- Soeffker     1    0    0    0    0    0

2B- Haight; HBP- O’Donnell; SB- Ja. Senger; LOB- 10. E- O’Donnell, Vega Sr.

BULLDOGS           IP  H  R  ER BB  K

Euerle (W)   7    3   0    0    1    4      

Eckstein       2    3   0    0    0    2      

TP- Euerle 75, Eckstein 30.


Loretto 3, Buffalo 1

(Tuesday, July 19 at Loretto)

Buffalo 0 0 0  1 0 0  0 0 0  –  1   5  1

Loretto 0 0 0  1 2 0  0 0 x  –  3   7  0

BULLDOGS         AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Brings           3    0    0    0    0    1

Triden          1    0    0    0    1    1

- Ja. Senger  1    0    0    0    0    0

Haight          3    0    0    0    0    1

O’Donnell    4    1    1    0    0    2

Renshaw      3    0    1    0    1    0

Vega4    0    0    0    0    0

Braun           3    0    2    1    1    0

Iano 3    0    0    0    0    0

- Iverson      1    0    0    0    0    0

Eckstein       3    0    1    0    0    0

- Pokorney   1    0    0    0    0    1

HBP- Haight, Ja. Senger; LOB- 8. E- Newman.

BULLDOGS           IP  H  R  ER BB  K

Kray (L)       5    5   3    3    2    5      

Newman      3    2   0    0    3    4      

TP- Kray 95, Newman 56.

LARKS    AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

N. Maher     3    1    1    0    1    0   

Ke. Koch     3    1    2    0    1    0

T. Maher      3    0    0    1    0    0

Schaust        4    0    1    1    0    1

Jorges          3    0    1    0    1    0

VanDehey    4    0    1    0    0    1

Schuttle        4    0    1    0    0    3

Ki. Koch      1    1    0    0    2    1

- H. Koch    1    0    0    0    0    0

Wade           3    0    0    0    0    3

- Olson         1    0    0    0    0    0

SAC FLY- T. Maher; LOB- 9.

LARKS      IP  H  R  ER BB  K

Petron (W)   9    5   1    1    3    6   

TP- Petron 120.


Bulldog veteran calling it a career

Vega spent past 20 years with Dogs

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The longest tenured player on the Buffalo Bulldogs amateur baseball team is soon calling it a career.

Ramon Vega, 42, recently notified Bulldog manager Joe Pokorney, and his teammates, that his 20-year reign with the team will conclude at the end of this season.

Vega’s baseball career started in his hometown of Arroyo, Puerto Rico. From there, he signed as a free agent to play professional baseball in the San Francisco Giants minor-league system playing Triple-A ball for the Arizona Giants (1993-94).

Vega met his future and current wife, Tonya, in Arizona. The Giants released Vega following the 1994 season. Vega spent the next two years playing independent baseball for the Green Bay Sultans (1995-96) in the Prairie League. He decided to retire from pro ball in 1996, and he and Tonya moved to Buffalo in 1996.

Still loving the game, Vega soon approached then Bulldog manager Gerard Rohl following a town-ball game.

“I showed up on the field one day and asked if they needed more players,” Vega said. “Here I am, 20 years later.”

He said one of his fondest memories came in his early years.

“I can’t remember the year, but we were losing and it was the last inning with two outs,” Vega said. “I hit a home run and everyone was going crazy. I didn’t know what was happening, but that broke a team record for homers. I hit 18 that year for the team and 11 counted in the league. Which also was a record.”

Vega’s power is still evident today when he swings. Although he is still searching for his first homer of this summer, he still has a lethal bat. When he does play, he normally bats sixth in the lineup.

“He can still play. He could hit in the middle of almost every lineup in this league,” Pokorney said. “He really makes our lineup that much deeper when he’s in there.”

Conflicting work schedules forced Vega into a part-time player this season. Vega spends his weekdays working full-time in Red Wing.

Work is just one of the reasons for him to step away. With his son, Ramon Jr., being a senior in high school next season, Ramon Sr. felt this was the right time to walk away.

Junior has spent the last two years on the varsity baseball squad, as well as playing on the Legion Post 270 team and some spot duty on the Bulldogs. While Junior has goals of someday playing college baseball, Vega Sr. is leaving the game having already achieved his main goal.

“The only reason I kept playing the last couple years was I wanted to have the opportunity to play with my kids,” Vega Sr. said. “Now that I have done that, I want to be able to spend more time with them.”

With the Bulldogs having their best season in recent years, the hope is a return trip to the Region 12C Tournament. Vega was one of a handful of players left on the current team that last made the region tourney in 2010. That same team made it to the Class C state tournament.

Vega hopes this year’s team can follow the same path.

“We do have a good team. We just have to keep focused,” Vega said. “We do have a good rotation that could take us all the way to state. Hopefully that will happen. This is my last year. I just want to enjoy it and hopefully finish with good memories.”       Euerle was also on that state team. As a veteran member on this year’s squad, he said the team has mixed emotions seeing one of their longtime teammates retire.

“Generally speaking, we’re a young team,” Euerle said. “Obviously, he’s been around a very long time and played baseball at a very high level. Just having someone like that around to keep order and bounce stuff off of is valuable. He’s a great guy and it’s been fun being his teammate. I hope he sticks around.”

On a lighter note, Vega said he plans on retiring his infamous red helmet.

“When I moved here, that was the only helmet that felt really comfortable,” Vega said. “That helmet is going home with me. No matter what the other guys wear, black or not, I always wear the red. I have my whole life.”

His decision is just fine with his current teammates.

“If he’s done, he can keep that helmet,” joked Euerle. “No one else is ever going to wear that one.”


Maple Lake spoils undefeated legion season for Post 270

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

A three-game losing streak heading into the Sub-State 13 American Legion Baseball Tournament July 19-22 in Princeton didn’t overly concern Buffalo Legion Post 270 manager Jack Strong.

But something else did.

“I’m more concerned about missing our kids that are on vacation,” Strong said. “We’re missing three of our five pitchers right now.”

The good news for Strong and Buffalo is their top two hurlers, Mitch Gabrelcik and John Weber, both were available for this week’s tournament.

“Those two have pitched double the innings of anybody else,” Strong said. “We have really been relying on them.”

Ironically, it was Gabrelcik who suffered a pair of losses in back-to-back days. The first ended Buffalo’s eight-game winning streak in a 5-4 road defeat Wednesday, July 13 at St. Michael-Albertville Blue.

Mikael Brickley allowed just one run in four innings. STMA Blue scored twice off Weber in the sixth inning tying the score 4-4. Gabrelcik allowed a leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt, and STMA won it with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh.

“It was a good game,” Strong said. “It was a back-and-forth game and both pitchers on both teams did well.”

The loss was the first this summer suffered in Minnesota. The previous two defeats came in the Omaha Tournament. Given the non-district matchup, Buffalo’s undefeated streak (9-0) in District 10 play was still on display heading into their final league game.

But last season’s fourth-best team in the Class AA high school tournament quickly put an end to that with a 14-0 victory in five innings last Thursday, July 14 at Bentfield Mills Park.

The Irish chased Gabrelcik after building a 9-0 first-inning lead. Buffalo used five different pitchers in the contest. Maple Lake starter Nick Preisinger through a two-hit shutout to earn the win.

“We didn’t seem ready to play,” Strong said. “We already knew our playoff seed for the tournament and we tried some new pitchers.”

Strong wasn’t about to discredit the talented Irish squad that finished 23-8 in Class AA this past spring.

“They just beat us,” he said. “Baseball is one sport where it doesn’t matter where you come from or how big your school is. They have some good teams over in Maple Lake.”

Buffalo suffered its third straight loss with a 6-1 home defeat last Monday, July 18 against Providence Academy. Mikael Brickley went five innings and suffered the defeat. Gabrelcik and Eathan Soeffker each had two hits.

“Overall, we had a great regular season,” Strong said. “We’ve been getting outstanding starting pitching and our bats came alive in the second half of the year.”

Buffalo (12-5 overall, 9-2 District 10) was the two seed in the Sub-State 13 baseball tournament and opened by defeating seven-seed Milaca 10-0 in seven innings last Tuesday, July 19 at Princeton.

Gabrelcik pitched five shutout innings to earn the win. Isaac Noble led the offense going 3-4. Gabrelcik had two hits, scored three runs and stole three bases. Buffalo played defending tournament champion Princeton in round two at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 20.


STMA Blue 5, Buffalo 4

(Wednesday, July 13 at STMA)

Buffalo –    4    8   2

STMA Blue      –    5  10   2

Buffalo Hitting: Mitch Gabrelcik 1-4, 2 runs, stolen base; Luke Merz 1-3, 2 RBI; Ramon Vega Jr. 2-3, double; Josh Munoz 0-3; Jake Hendel 2-3, run; Josh Fussy 1-3; Hunter Brings 1-2, RBI; Nick Mueller 0-0; Mikael Brickley 0-2; Isaac Noble 0-2, run, walk.

Buffalo Pitching: Mikael Brickley 4 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 0 strikeouts; John Weber 2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout; Mitch Gabrelcik (loss) 0.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts.


Maple Lake 14, Buffalo 0

5 inn.

(Thursday, July 14 at Buffalo)

Maple Lake      –   14  12   1

Buffalo –     0    2   0

Buffalo Hitting: Mitch Gabrelcik 1-2; Luke Merz 0-1; Ramon Vega Jr. 0-2; Josh Munoz 0-1; Jake Hendel 0-1, walk; Josh Fussy 0-1; Ethan Lotzer 0-1; John Weber 1-2; Hunter Brings 0-1, walk; Nick Mueller 0-2; Mikael Brickley 0-1; Eathan Soeffker 0-1; Isaac Noble 0-2.

Buffalo Pitching: Mitch Gabrelcik (loss) 1 inning, 6 hits, 9 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout; Josh Munoz 0.2 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts; Hunter Brings 1 inning, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout; Eathan Soeffker 1.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts; Isaac Noble 1 inning, 0 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts.


Providence Academy 8,

Buffalo 1

(Monday, July 18 at Buffalo)

Providence Academy    –     8    6   1

Buffalo –     1    5   3

Buffalo Hitting: Mitch Gabrelcik 2-2; Luke Merz 0-2; Ramon Vega Jr. 0-3; Josh Munoz 0-0, walk; Jake Hendel 0-2, walk; Josh Fussy 0-3; Ethan Lotzer 0-1; John Weber 0-1; Jacob Strong 0-3; Nick Mueller 0-1; Mikael Brickley 1-1, RBI, walk; Eathan Soeffker 2-3, run; Isaac Noble 0-3.

Buffalo Pitching: Mikael Brickely (loss) 5 innings, 5 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 3 walks, 0 strikeouts; Jacob Strong 1 inning, 1 hit, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 1 strikeout; Eathan Soeffker 1 inning, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.


Sub-State 13 Tourney 

Buffalo 10, Milaca 0, 7 inn.

(Tuesday, July 19 at Princeton)

Milaca  –      0    2   3

Buffalo –    10  11   1

Buffalo Hitting: Mitch Gabrelcik 2-3, 3 runs, walk, 3 stolen bases; Luke Merz 1-2, run, RBI, walk; Ramon Vega Jr. 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI, stolen base; Josh Munoz 0-2, 2 walks; Jake Hendel 0-2, RBI, walk; Josh Fussy 1-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI, triple; Hunter Brings 1-3; Jacob Strong 1-1, RBI; Eathan Soeffker 0-4; Isaac Noble 3-4, 2 runs, RBI, stolen base.

Buffalo Pitching: Mitch Gabrelcik (win) 5 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts; Jacob Strong 2 innings, 1 hit,  0 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts.


Bison VFW defeats Maple Lake, Sauk Rapids; drops pair to Foley, Brainerd

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

In a matter of 24 hours, twice the Buffalo VFW baseball squad surrendered a four-run inning.

The first time resulted in a 4-0 road loss on Wednesday, July 13 at Brainerd. It also put an end to Buffalo’s mini 3-game winning streak.

Brainerd scored all four runs with two outs in the bottom of the first inning.

A questionable call led to the Warriors grabbing a 1-0 advantage. They would add three more in the inning off Bison starting pitcher Tyler Brown, who went the distance, but suffered his second defeat of the season.

Buffalo’s bats were held in check by starting pitcher Colin Kleffman, who allowed two hits and struck out seven. Kleffman also had two hits with a double and walk.

Walker Haight and DJ Shefland each had a hit accounting for Buffalo’s only offense.

Haight continued his hot bat going 3-4 as Buffalo rebounded the following day with a 7-5 home win last Thursday, July 14 over Maple Lake.

Maple Lake scored four times in the fifth inning to grab a 5-1 advantage off Bison starting pitcher Bailey Erickson.

Three errors led to three unearned runs in the inning. After the team recorded the final out of the fifth, Buffalo manager Mike Beilke huddled his team for a pep talk.

“Every once in a while, we’ll pull that off,” Beilke said. “We’ve been down a couple times by four runs early in games and have to fight our way back. That’s the difference between being a really great team and a pretty good team.”

While the bats couldn’t overcome a 4-run deficit in Brainerd, they immediately responded against Maple Lake scoring six times in the bottom of the fifth.

Down 5-2, Buffalo scored five straight runs with two outs. Shefland closed the gap to 5-4 with a 2-RBI single. Shefland took second on the play at home and later scored on an RBI single by Alec Wakefield. After a pitching change, Haight delivered the big hit with a 2-RBI double that gave Buffalo a 7-5 lead.

Haight’s hit just missed clearing the leftfield fence. He went 3-4 in the game, but is still seeking his first career homer.

“Every time I get a hold of one, it seems the ball always go to 300-feet. It never goes past it,” Haight said. “I hope it goes over, but it seems to always be a one-hop to the fence.”

Even though it stayed in the park, the double proved to be the game winner.

“Down by four with two innings to go, we really needed that hit,” Haight said.

Buffalo (9-6) split a pair of games early this week, losing 5-1 on Monday, July 18 at Foley, and winning 10-1 on Tuesday, July 19 at Sauk Rapids.

Tyler Brown went 1-2 with a double and a run scored against Foley. He also pitched a six-inning complete game, but suffered the loss as the Bison defense committed six errors leading to three unearned runs.

Bailey Erickson pitched his seventh complete game of the season in a 10-1 win over Sauk Rapids. Erickson improved to 7-1 on the season, allowing just two hits and one unearned run while striking out seven.

Erickson also led the offensive charge going 3-5 with three RBI. Buffalo broke a 1-1 tie scoring nine runs in the top of inning five. Sauk Rapids pitchers allowed 12 hits, two walks, and hit seven Buffalo batters.

Buffalo concludes the regular season with a 10 a.m. home game Thursday, July 21 against Monticello. The VFW playoffs open next week with a best-of-three matchup with a team and site to be determined. The winner advances to St. Cloud for a double-elimination tourney.

Brainerd 4, Buffalo 0

(Wednesday, July 13 at Brainerd)

Buffalo 0 0 0  0 0 0  0  –  0  2  0

Brainerd           4 0 0  0 0 0  x  –  4  9  2

Buffalo Hitting: Jacob Strong 0-3; Wyatt Bomstad 0-3; Eathan Soeffker 0-2, walk; Tyler Brown 0-3; Walker Haight 1-3, double; Bailey Erickson 0-3; DJ Shefland 1-3; Cole Larson 0-3; Elihah Gideo 0-3.

Buffalo Pitching: Tyler Brown (loss), 6 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts.


Buffalo 7, Maple Lake 5

(Thursday, July 14 at Buffalo)

Maple Lake 0 0 0  1 4 0  0  –  5  7  0

Buffalo         1 0 0  0 6 0  x  –  7  9  5

Buffalo Hitting: Walker Haight 3-4, run, 2 RBI, double; Wyatt Bomstad 0-3; Eathan Soeffker 1-4, run, double; Tyler Brown 1-3, run, RBI, walk; Bailey Erickson 1-2, run, 2 walks, stolen base; Micah Rasset 0-2, RBI, Sac Fly; DJ Shefland 1-2, run, 2 RBI, walk; Alec Wakefield 1-3, run, RBI; Elihah Gideo 1-2, run, walk.

Buffalo Pitching: Bailey Erickson (win), 7 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 4 strikeouts.


Foley 5, Buffalo 1

(Monday, July 18 at Foley)

Buffalo 0 2 0  0 0 0  0  –  1  4  6

Foley    0 2 2  0 1 0  x  –  5  9  1

Buffalo Hitting: Walker Haight 0-3, walk; Jacob Strong 1-4; Eathan Soeffker 1-3; Tyler Brown 1-2, run, double, walk; Wyatt Bomstad 0-2; Micah Rasset 0-3, RBI; Bailey Erickson 0-3; Elihah Gideo 0-3; Elias Uecker 1-3, stolen base.

Buffalo Pitching: Tyler Brown (win) 6 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs (2 earned), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.


Buffalo 10, Sauk Rapids 1

(Tuesday, July 19 at Sauk Rapids)

Buffalo 0 0 1  0 9 0  0  –  10  12   2

Sauk Rapids   1 0 0  0 0 0  0  –    0    0   0

Buffalo Hitting: Walker Haight 1-4, 2 runs, HBP; Jacob Strong 2-3, 2 runs, RBI, 2 HBP; Eathan Soeffker 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI, double, walk; Tyler Brown 2-4, run, HBP; Bailey Erickson 3-5, run, 3 RBI, stolen base; Micah Rasset 0-3, run, RBI, HBP; Alec Wakefield 0-1; Wyatt Bomstad 0-1, run, RBI, 2 HBP, stolen base; DJ Shefland 0-3, walk; Elias Uecker 1-3, RBI.

Buffalo Pitching: Bailey Erickson (win), 7 innings, 2 hits, 1 runs (0 earned), 4 walks, 7 strikeouts.


Sunset Ridge Ranch hosting Meet and Greet on July 23

For the second time, Sunset Ridge Ranch in Clearwater is participating in the 3rd Annual Time to Ride Challenge. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 23.

This challenge focuses on welcoming newcomers to the world of horses this summer as part of a nationwide effort. The Time to Ride Challenge is a program that aims to welcome thousands of new enthusiasts to horse activities across the country. 

Created by the American Horse Council’s Time to Ride initiative, the Challenge involves stables, horse businesses, and organizations like Sunset Ridge Ranch across the country who believe that horse activities can contribute to the health and well-being of all Americans

Established in 1994, Sunset Ridge Ranch is a full-service training, boarding and lesson facility located just four miles from Clearwater in South Haven.

Sunset Ridge Ranch believes that horse activities are beneficial to individuals and families in many ways.  With the convenience of digital entertainment, many families are slipping away from an active lifestyle and getting caught in a computer-generated reality. Yet, those families that take time to engage in horse activities-perhaps after-school riding lessons for the kids, a girls’ day trail ride for mom, a family vacation to a dude ranch, a date with friends to go to the races, or an outing to a horse show-are finding the time invested returns priceless rewards. Connect with a horse to disconnect with the pressures of everyday life.

Perhaps it’s time to reconnect with  the horse to find the benefits of equine activities.  The horse can bring the family together in an activity that is part work-out, part therapy session and part pure exhilaration

To learn more about this event, call 320-558-2980 or visit To learn more about the Time to Ride Challenge, access free resources for new riders, and find an event near you, visit


Former STMA swimmer wins Heart of the Lakes Triathlon

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

A total of 508 individual triathletes and 37 teams competed in this year’s 31st Annual Heart Of The Lakes Triathlon (HOLT) held Sunday, July 17 at Pleasant Lake City Park in Annandale.

Highlighting this year’s event was a record-setting finish by David Thompson of St. Paul. Thompson set a new Short Course record in a time of 40:00.82. The previous mark of 42:14.00 stood for 16 years and was set by Kevin O’Connor in 1999. Thompson’s overall time included splits that were tops in swimming (05:11), biking (19:16), and running (13:26).

The Short Course consists of three races which includes a quarter-mile swim at the beach of Pleasant Lake, a nine-mile bike ride, and concluding with a 2.5-mile run. John Stangl, 53, of Buffalo finished 11th in the Short Course and second in his age division (50-54) in 50:08.56.

Kristina Swenson of Rogers was the top female finisher in the Short Course in a time of 50:42.26. Swenson is a former swimmer on the St. Michael-Albertville girls’ team. Denise Casey, 56, of Buffalo finished 18th overall and second in her age division (55-59) in 1:02:34.45.

The Long Course, which consists of a half-mile swim, 21-mile bike ride, and 5.3-mile run, saw Matthew Payne of Golden Valley defend his 2015 championship he won a year ago. Payne bested his time of 1:30:22.14 a year ago with a time of 1:30:16.19.

Also from the Sea Devils and finishing first among males ages 1-19 was 18-year old Will Gallagher of St. Michael, who finished in 1:48.27.45.

The top female finisher in the Long Course was Hanna Grinaker of St. Paul, who finished in 1:42:14.82.

Mandy Stoesz, 31, of Buffalo was 10th overall and third in her age division (30-34).

31st Annual Heart of the Lakes Triathlon

Long Individual Award (winners only)

211 total finishers (132 male, 79 female)

Half-mile swim, 21-mile bike, 5.3-mile run

Female Overall

Name         City/Age      Time

Hanna GrinakerSt. Paul/28       01:42:14.82

Male Overall

Matthew PayneGolden Valley/39          01:30:16.19


Female Masters

Name         City/Age      Time

Ann Snuggerud Chaska/48        01:52:39.97

Male Masters

Kevin O’Connor          Medina/45        01:34:16.28


Female Elite

Name         City/Age      Time

Lindsey Marshall          St. Paul/27       01:50:40.48

Male Elite

Josh Blankenheim         Duluth/35         01:33.53.70    


Female Ages 1-19

Name         City/Age      Time

Katelyn StraussPlymouth/19     02:25:41.59

Male Ages 1-19

Will Gallagher   St. Michael/18  01:48:27.45


Female Ages 20-24

Name         City/Age      Time

Maggie Weiss   Excelsior/21     01:48:16.66

Male Ages 20-24

Mitchell Ergen  Sartell/23          02:02.46.34


Female Ages 25-29

Name         City/Age      Time

Brigid Varley    St. Paul/27       01:58:59.20

Male Ages 25-29

Joe Adriaens    Elk River/28     01:43:12.73


Female Ages 30-34

Name         City/Age      Time

Sheena Dauer   Montevideo/34 01:51:17.68

Male Ages 30-34

David Phillips    Maple Grove/30           01:44:07.71


Female Ages 35-39

Name         City/Age      Time

Sara Rondorf    Andover/39      01:56:39.55

Male Ages 35-39

Moshe Peri       Minnetonka/39 01:41:50.17


Female Ages 40-44

Name         City/Age      Time

Christine AgazziEden Prairie/40 01:59:07.75

Male Ages 40-44

Graham Wright St. Paul/42       01:55:43.67


Female Ages 45-49

Name         City/Age      Time

Jane Peterson   St. Cloud/48     02:04:11.87

Male Ages 45-49

Tim Bode         Buffalo/48        01:42:40.94


Female Ages 50-54

Name         City/Age      Time

Linda Langkos  Minnetonka/52 02:11:10.17

Male Ages 50-54

Randy PetersonNorthfield/50    01:45:56.61


Female Ages 55-59

Name         City/Age      Time

Helen Gunther  Excelsior/59     02:06:52.16

Male Ages 55-59

Dale Forde       Golden Valley/58          01:51:06.73


Female Ages 60-64

Name         City/Age      Time

Pam Stevens     Sartell/63          02:08:24.40

Male Ages 60-64

Leonard Klun   Maple Plain/62 01:54:53.48


Female Ages 65-69

Name         City/Age      Time

Lisa Wheeler    Bloomington/6502:26:33.90

Male Ages 65-69

John Zumhofe   Sioux Falls, SD/66        02:19:06.25


Male Ages 70-74

Name         City/Age      Time

Daryl Stevens   Sartell/73          02:27:37.48


Long Course Team Results

Name    Time

P-Too  01:37:25.43

Swimmer: Katy Coombe          00:12:09

Biker: Greg Kurowski   00:53:30

Runner: Sam Thomas    00:28:52

Short Individual Award (winners only)

297 total finishers (147 male, 150 female)

.25-mile swim, 9-mile bike, 2.5-mile run

Female Overall

Name         City/Age      Time

Kristina Swenson          Rogers/19        00:50:42.26

Male Overall

David Thompson          Long Lake/38   00:40:00.82


Female Masters

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Marta LewinskiEdina/43           00:54:10.67

Male Masters

Colin Smith       Minneapolis/46 00:48:18.86


Female Ages 1-19

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Allison Crum    Deerwood/18   00:56:15.68

Male Ages 1-19

Nathan Bich     Duluth/17         00:48:34.16


Female Ages 20-24

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Abby Saddler   Wayzata/20      01:01:56.31

Male Ages 20-24

Stephen Dennison         Maple Grove/21           00:51:27.42


Female Ages 25-29

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Kelly Russ        Plymouth/28     00:54:36.21

Male Ages 25-29

Josh Doebbert  Minneapolis/27 00:49:59.44


Female Ages 30-34

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Sarah Sixta       Otsego/34        01:07:29.70

Male Ages 30-34

Pablo Sanchez  St. Louis Park/31         00:48:19.89


Female Ages 35-39

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Sheri Budde     South Haven/3800:56:50.36

Male Ages 35-39

Ross Golla        Minnetonka/37 00:48:22.79


Female Ages 40-44

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Peg Wright       St. Paul/44       01:01:44.67

Male Ages 40-44

Bill Corcoran    Sartell/43          00:51:38.19


Female Ages 45-49

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Lori Gengler     Plymouth/45     00:57:48.70

Male Ages 45-49

Todd White      Roseville/49      00:50:45.92


Female Ages 50-54

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Julie Grafft        Chanhassen/53 01:02:01.95

Male Ages 50-54

Andy Clark      Northfield/53    00:49:26.94


Female Ages 55-59

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Eileen Kurpiers Deerwood/55   00:59:17.43

Male Ages 55-59

Kris Kolstad     Willmar/58       00:53:46.42


Female Ages 60-64

Name         City/Age      Time/Place

Brook Lemm-Tabor     Minneapolis/64 01:14:16.35

Male Ages 60-64

Kent Schwitzer Minnetonka/63 00:54:53.53


Female Ages 65-69

Name         City/Age      Time

Leanne Hansen Bloomington/6501:22:05.56

Male Ages 65-69

Thomas Rohman           South Haven/6901:00:36.71


Male Ages 70-74

Name         City/Age      Time

Bob Koshnick  Detroit Lakes/73          01:08:18.97


Female Ages 75-79

Name         City/Age      Time

Judy Rykken    Bloomington/7701:37:12.44

Male Ages 75-79

Hank Larsen     Glencoe/75       01:08:21.83


Short Course Team Results

Name    Time

Mama Heaney & Her Chicks    00:53:33.93

Swimmer: Anna Heaney00:07:18

Biker: LaRae Heaney    00:26:32

Runner: Cait Heaney     00:17:41