High school students often experience taking a Saturday morning test for college entrance exams. For New Life Academy's baseball team, players who haven't yet taken a Saturday morning test have a better idea of what it takes. The Eagles (14-5, 9-1) held off West Lutheran, 10-9, in a 9 a.m. Saturday, May 20, game to secure the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association title for a fourth straight season. "Guys had good at bats and kept battling, which allowed us to come out with the win," Eagles coach Dave Darr said.
Park picked up plenty of momentum going into Class 2A, Section 3 tournament play with a strong finish to the regular season, going 4-2 in its final six matches. "We are playing great tennis right now, and we have a lot of confidence going into sections," Wolfpack coach Tony Townsend said. "We are finding ways to pull out close matches and are improving at playing more consistent high-level tennis."
Relay teams provided a couple of bright spots for New Life Academy in the Class 1A, Section 4 True Team meet May 9 at Maple Lake. The Eagles boys and girls have small track and field teams this year with 24 athletes overall — eight girls and 16 boys. Eagles coach Kristen Hawkins said they're a "really close-knit team." "I think it makes a big difference in our relays because doing it for each other, I think, gives them all an extra motivation," Hawkins said.
Getting out-hit slightly didn't stop New Life Academy in a 13-5 conference softball win over PACT Charter on Friday, May 12, in Ramsey. The Eagles (8-8, 5-5 Minnesota Christian Athletic Association) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and tacked another on in the second for a 6-0 advantage. PACT responded with three runs in the bottom of the second and one in the third to close the gap to 6-4.
After cruising past a couple more conference opponents last week, New Life Academy faced the reality of postseason baseball competition in a loss to Caledonia. While the Eagles play Class A schools in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, the team competes in Class AA for the postseason. Caledonia, ranked No. 11 in Class 2A, handed the Eagles a 12-1 loss in five innings May 6 at Rochester's Mayo Field, home to the minor league Rochester Honkers.
East Ridge's up and down season took a turn for the better in early May. The Raptors (7-6, 5-6) won three straight softball games May 3-5 over Suburban East Conference opponents Roseville, Stillwater and Mounds View. In that stretch, the Raptors outscored them 20-6. It started with the Raptors bouncing back from a 3-2 loss May 2 at White Bear Lake to beat Roseville 10-2 on May 3. The Raptors then won a tight contest with Stillwater 3-2 on May 4 followed by a 7-1 win over Mounds View on May 5.
Park fell in a couple of late-season Suburban East Conference boys tennis matches against Roseville and White Bear Lake last week. "These two matches came down to the wire, and we just fell short with losing in three sets for the deciding point in both matches," Wolfpack coach Tony Townsend said. Park lost 4-3 to White Bear Lake on May 5 and 4-3 to Roseville on May 4. The Wolfpack already had a tough start to the week with 6-1 losses to Cretin-Derham Hall on May 1 and Stillwater on May 2.
Ansley Schug and Allyson Weiss took their track and field performances for East Ridge to a high level April 28 in the 12th annual Elite Meet. Hosted at Hamline University in St. Paul, the Elite Meet brings together top track athletes around the state based on times and distances regardless of class. Many of the top performing athletes usually return to Hamline again in June for the state meet.
New Life Academy squeaked out a 4-3 victory over St. Croix Prep April 28 to improve to 9-1 for the season. Eagles senior outfielder and pitcher Henry George scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to a cap late-inning rally against the Lions. St. Croix jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and kept the Eagles at bay with a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning. "We made some good adjustments, got a couple of hits and fortunate enough they didn't make a couple of plays," Eagles coach Dave Darr said.
The Park boys' tennis team is off to a strong start this season. The Wolfpack beat Simley 7-0 to open the season Thursday, April 6, and then downed Farmington 6-1 on April 7. Against Simley, Josh Kuemmel got things going at first singles in a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Logan Ross took No. 2 singles at 6-1, 6-0. Nine Chindavong had a challenge in No. 3 singles, winning 6-3, 5-3. Jake Kuemmel cruised in No. 4 singles at 6-0, 6-0.