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Bismarck Municipal Ballpark Draws Quarterfinals Matchup Against Northwoods League
-- The Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, Home of Dakota Community Bank and Trust Field is one of the best ballparks in all of summer collegiate baseball and it’s not just the Larks who believe that. Ballpark Digest nominated the home of the Larks in a voting poll as one of the top 50 summer collegiate ballparks throughout the entire nation. Of course the Larks faithful showed their dedication and voted The Nest out of the first round and into the Sweet Sixteen where the Larks faced off against the North Shore Navigators and their home ballpark of Fraser Field. The Sweet Sixteen ended up proving to be sweet as the Larks fans pushed their home stadium past the Navigators into the Elite Eight. The Elite Eight matchup features a Northwoods League counterpart in the Kalamazoo Growlers. It’s the Larks Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, nicknamed The Nest, versus the Growlers Homer Stryker Field in an Elite Eight showdown of Ballpark Digest’s Best of Summer Collegiate Ballparks contest. Now, It’s time for Larks fans to show that they aren’t content with a quarterfinals finish. Larks fans, friends of Larks fans, and beyond can visit ballparkdigest.com. FULL STORY

Bryan Drives in Winning Run

-- The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks experienced an early inning case of deja vu when Colin Willis homered in the top of the first for the second consecutive game to give the Gary RailCats a 1-0 lead. However, the RedHawks responded by battling back to pick up a 4-3 win and tie the series at 1-1. Fargo-Moorhead tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Devan Ahart scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Mazzola. In the very next frame, Ahart picked up an RBI on a groundout to second, driving in Kes Carter who reached earlier in the inning on a single. Later in the inning, Charlie Valerio scored on a  by error by RailCats’ starting pitcher, Westin Wuethrich who tossed it over the first baseman trying to pick off Ahart, giving the RedHawks a 3-1 lead. Wuethrich lasted just 3 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits while striking out 3 and walking 1. RedHawks starting pitcher, Jose Almarante, looked sharp picking up a no-decision while giving up just 2 runs and 3 hits. Gary tied the game in the top of the eighth when pinch-hitter Frank Martinez tacked an unearned run on Richie Tate, driving in Anthony Cheky Jr. who reached on an error by Mazzola. With the game tied 3-3, Alex Weingarten gave up the game winning run on a single by the RedHawks’ newest addition Vaughn Bryan, plating Ryan Pineda who was beamed earlier in the inning. FULL STORY

Wittkopp Tapped to Lead Blue Hawk Cross Country

Dickinson -- Dickinson State athletics is pleased to announce the appointment of Shayne Wittkopp to the position of head men's and women's cross country coach. Wittkopp has been at Dickinson State for one year as an assistant track and field coach and instructor of exercise science. "Shayne will do a great job taking the reins of our cross country program", stated athletic director Pete Stanton. "Shayne has an extensive background in training athletes and will be a great leader of young men and women. In addition, the rapport he has already established with the current athletes will be crucial to the future success of the program." Shayne served as the running director at Blue Streak Sports Performance just outside NYC on Long Island in 2008.  He was in charge of performance training for all field and court athletes, as well as track and cross country runners. After receiving his master's degree in 2011 from Central Washington, he accepted a position as an instructor in the exercise science department as well as a position as Health Coordinator in University Recreation at Central Washington.  Shayne has worked with a wide variety of sports, including soccer, lacrosse, rugby, and triathlon athletes. FULL STORY

Work to Begin on Boyd Stadium
Minot -- Just over a year after Kevin Boyd's passing, his dream of a state of the art football complex is officially underway in his name. The Westman Youth Football Association, together with the Boyd family and community dignitaries, broke ground for the construction of Boyd Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Westman Youth Football Association president Blaine Moroz speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony. At the emotional ground-breaking ceremony, WYFA president and close friend of the Boyd family Blaine Moroz announced Alternative Landscaping Ltd. has taken on the construction of the fields, which should commence within the week. Moroz explained that he and Boyd tried twice, unsuccessfully, to acquire the land in question, before Boyd's sudden passing on Feb. 29, 2016 after complications with stomach and liver issues. "Two years ago when we first looked at this land, Kevin and I were on the outside clutching the fence," Moroz recalled. "I looked at him and I said: 'We look like a couple of fat kids looking into a bakery window.'" Boyd, a Minot State graduate and former football player, was just 46 at the time of his passing, and left behind a wife and three sons.  FULL STORY

Coach Roger Thomas to Retire from U of Mary
Bismarck University of Mary announces the retirement of its athletic director, Roger Thomas, effective June 30. Thomas, who has been the university’s athletic director since 2008, has had a tremendous career for the Marauders, leading the school’s athletic departments in fostering scores of top-caliber athletes to All-American citations, and making the transition to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) of the NCAA Division II from the NAIA. During the transition from Mary’s first A.D., Al Bortke, Thomas had the duty of bringing the school into compliance with its new rank. “It’s with great pride, gratitude and humility that I have had the opportunity to serve the University of Mary and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery during its new era of NCAA athletics—a time of great growth for our campus and our student athletes,” said Thomas. “My hope was always for our student athletes to graduate from the University of Mary as champions in their own hearts—knowing they gave it their all in the classroom, competitively in their sport and then confidently go into their communities as true servant leaders. It’s bittersweet that I come to the end of my career in athletics. Having worked with so many wonderful athletes over the years, it’s rewarding to know we helped shape their character and better serve society—and we did it the right way.” FULL STORY

By Jeff Baranick
Beulah -- With the official start of summer now behind us, North Dakota American Legion baseball is heating up in the West River Region, and there are several game results to report from the past week. On the Class B West Region scene last Monday, in a game called on KDKT Sports Radio from Sakakawea Country, Burlington blasted Garrison-Max 20-2. In the Wednesday rematch in Burlington, the Bulldogs prevailed again over the Titans, 15-4. Elsewhere, Hazen Post 189 roughed up Renville County, 11-1. In Class A action, in a pair of Northwest Division twinbills, Beulah swept the Minot Metros 3-2 in 8 innings (carried on KDKT 1410) and 13-8 in comeback fashion, while two nights later it split with the Williston Voyagers. The Cyclones dropped game one 16-8, but captured game two, 10-9. In Beulah's razor-thin victory over Minot at Goldmann Field, Matt Schnabel was the Cyclones' hitting hero going 3-for-4 at the dish with 3 RBI. On Wednesday evening, in Southwest Division play, Washburn Post 12 handled the Dickinson Volunteers twice--by tallies of 12-0 & 12-2. The next night, journeying to the Capital City, Washburn was defeated twice by the Bismarck Reps; game scores were 15-5 & 10-6. Also last week, the Reps split on the road with the Fargo Jets, winning 6-3, but falling 9-7. Now transitioning to AA Legion contests, the Bismarck Governors outslugged Pierre (SD) 22-17 and then dropped its first matchup in the College World Series Tournament in Omaha (NE), 9-6 to Lawton, OK. The following day the Govs were nipped in Omaha by Millard West (NE), 1-0. In the Basin City, the Mandan Chiefs and Williston Keybirds split a doubleheader, with the Chiefs claiming a 3-2 game-one win, and the Keybirds bouncing back in the nightcap, 2-zip. Mandan also took one of two contests with Dickinson. The Chiefs defeated the Roughriders 3-2, while losing to them, 11-5. Speaking of the Riders, they're also competing in the Omaha World Series tourney and won their opener over Hopkins (MN) in a slugfest, 14-12. Additionally, at Corbett Field in the Magic City, the Minot Vistas beat Fargo Post 400 twice; game tallies were 4-1 & 3-2. As this new week unfolds, KDKT Sports Radio will showcase three American Legion baseball contests with its broadcast schedule. On Monday, the feature game is Velva @ Beulah (Class A Northwest Division action). On Tuesday, the highlighted match-up is a Class B West Region showdown between Hazen and Stanley from Coal Country's Slinde Field. And on Friday, KDKT will spotlight the inter-divisional Coal Country rivalry game between Beulah and Hazen at Goldmann Field. KDKT's pre-game show for all three broadcasts will commence at 4:30 pm CDT. In other sports news from last week, the North Dakota Associated Press Sportswriters & Sportcasters Association (NDAPSSA) announced its annual award-winners in multiple categories of athletic endeavor. The first honor-recipients named were Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Brandon Metz from West Fargo, and the Minot State University men's hockey team. Wentz was bestowed the Dakota Award (for displaying athletic excellence outside of North Dakota), Metz was the non-school athlete of the year as a national Greco-Roman champion in USA Wrestling, and MSU hockey was the non-school team of the year for its semifinal appearance in the America College Hockey Association (ACHA) national tournament. In the college-level award-categories, University of North Dakota (UND) men's basketball player Quinton Hooker was recognized as co-Male Athlete of the Year; his hoops' coach Brian Jones was acknowledged as Male Team Coach of the Year; and the UND men's cage squad was the Male Team of the Year for winning the Big Sky Conference regular-season championship and the Big Sky tourney title and qualifying for the NCAA national tournament. Sharing Athlete of the Year honors with Hooker was Minot State University basketball player Tyler Rudolph. Meanwhile, on the female side of matters, Athlete of the Year was Minot State soccer standout Ninfa Ramirez. Her coach, Jason Spain, and University of Jamestown women's basketball head mentor Greg Ulland, were co-Coaches of the Year; and the UND women's volleyball team, with its first-ever national tournament appearance and accompanying Big Sky Conference crown, was designated Team of the Year.

Filed by Veteran KDKT Sportscaster Jeff Baranick

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