Elliott column: Big day in the sun for area teams

Elliott column: Big day in the sun for area teams

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Elliott column: Big day in the sun for area teams

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It’s a beautiful Saturday in late August and there is so much to do, especially if you have any even remote interest in local sports.

There are high school football scrimmages galore. Somebody’s someplace, no matter what school district you live in.

Just in the metro, Sauk Rapids and Sartell are host to scrimmages this morning.

At 9:30 a.m. in Sauk Rapids, Big Lake, Foley, St. Cloud Cathedral and Alexandria begin to see how their 2013 seasons stake up.

It’s a big production for the Storm, who carefully cut their field, paint the yard lines and see hundreds of high school football players descend on the acres of green grass available just east of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.

The word among prep football folks is that Foley should have one of their better teams and the others — Big Lake, Cathedral, Sauk Rapids and Alexandria — expect improvement from 2012.

At 9 a.m. at the Sartell Middle School grounds, Albany, Pierz, Chanhassen and the hosts take snaps against somebody new besides teammates for the first time.

Sartell’s trying to reload. Albany hopes to be better after an uncharacteristic 5-5 season. Pierz has plans to make another state tournament run and should be a force in the Central Minnesota Conference. And Chanhassen, the newcomer, intrigues.

Besides the football, it’s also one of the most fun days of the year in amateur baseball. About a half hour from St. Cloud, Maple Lake is host to bevy of state tournament games involving area teams. Further down the road in Delano and Howard Lake, there also are games.

Maple Lake has one of the nicer old-time baseball parks in an area filled with them. It’s fun to just sit there and take it all in even if you don’t having a deep interest in the teams playing.

It’s also fitting that Gary Porter, the longtime former high school coach and amateur manager in Maple Lake, is a state amateur baseball hall of fame inductee this year. His park is in the state spotlight.

You could a lot worse on a late summer day then to take in all the games Saturday at Maple Lake. It starts at 11 a.m. when the Sartell Muskies play Lake Crystal.

The Muskies are certain to throw their ace, former Minnesota Twins draft pick David Deminsky, who is one of the top left-handers in the state at the moment.

At 5 p.m., the Avon Lakers play the Cannon Falls Bears in what should be a great game. Avon is led by right-hander Kyle Collins, a former Cleveland Indians draft pick who threw a no-hitter at last year’s state tournament in St. Cloud. He’s as fun to watch pitch as Deminsky is.

Then at 7:30 p.m., the Clear Lake Lakers play the Howard Lake Orphans (yes, the Orphans). Clear Lake left-hander Ryan Spengler is a pitcher’s pitcher coming off his senior year at St. John’s University.

That’s a pretty good day for one ticket. And the football scrimmages are free. I hope your day is as good as mine’s going to be.

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Elliott column: Big day in the sun for area teams
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