Christensen tosses two-hitter in summer debut
Post 53 Press Release - Perham, MN
Breckenridge Post 53 Jr. Legion competed in the Perham KLN Family Brands Tournament over the weekend, splitting two Saturday games in dramatically different fashion – losing 16-2 to Cross Lake/Nisswa and beating Aitkin 10-0. The tournament was cancelled Sunday due to inclement weather.
Breckenridge struggled to find the strike zone against CLN, resulting in three first-inning runs allowed. Control issues were compounded by a hard-hitting Patriots team that sprinkled in eight hits, six walks, and four reached on error. Post 53 couldn’t barrel the ball, recording only two hits on a bunt single by Peyton Christensen and an infield pop fly that nobody called off the bat of Gavin Snyder.
The lopsided loss allowed for some pitching moves that yielded good results. Snyder, Kaleb Albertson, and Kris Monday all made their first appearances of the summer and showed promise on the hill.
“Gavin threw the ball hard and had a nice move to first as well. Kaleb is an eighth grader and we’re looking to get him as much pitching experience as possible,” Coach Robert Wanek Jr. said. “Kris has been itching to pitch since the end of spring ball, he got out there and had some tail on his pitches and enjoyed the moment.”
In game two at Arvig Park, Breckenridge faced the defending Jr. Legion Division II State Champions, Aitkin. Christensen made his season debut on the mound and was nothing short of dominant. The quirky right-hander pitched five innings of two-hit baseball, striking out six in the shutout. He needed just 60 pitches to record the win.
“The strike zone was very tight and consistent,” Wanek said. “Peyton missed close and attacked hitters, eventually that opened up the zone up for him and got the Aitkin batters to whiff on some chase pitches.”
Aitkin struggled with pitch command, walking five and hitting five Breckenridge batters. Joey Conzemius made them pay, going 3-for-4 with three RBI on opposite field hits.
“It’s nice to get some free bases, but credit the guys for staying in the box and wearing those pitches from some hard throwers,” Wanek said. “Ultimately, you need guys like Joey to find the hittable pitches with runners on base and he did that.”
Aitkin threatened in the second and third innings, but two defensive plays held Breckenridge together. Dallen Ernst charged a slow roller from third and fired across the diamond to Snyder, who made a great pick while dragging his toe across the bag for an out. Next inning, catcher Zane Mikkelson threw behind the runner at third, Ernst relayed it back to home and Mikkelson made a diving tag at the plate.
“After mentally clocking out earlier in the day, our guys knew where to go with the ball and made the tough plays efficiently this time,” Wanek said. “Snyder is a great athlete and sometimes those kind of players are a huge asset at first base.”
Despite leaving eight runners on base in the early innings, Post 53 stayed calm and busted a 2-0 game open with seven runs in the fourth. Breckenridge used three walks, two hits, a hit batsman, and an error to put Aitkin away. Tom Kautz courtesy ran in the fifth inning, hustling home and barrel rolling over the plate as Breckenridge won by the 10-run rule.
Jacob Kunkel and Mark Wermerskirchen recorded their first hits of the season, while Kunkel added a shoe-string catch in left field. Ernst crushed his fourth double of the year and recorded his team-leading fifth RBI.
Breckenridge hosts Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Tuesday, June 22nd, at 5 p.m. in a prequel to the legion game between these two programs. Post 53 Jr. Legion won its season opener at DGF two weeks ago, 4-3.
“We’ve had cancellations up and down to start our summer, with only three games being played so far,” Wanek said. “Those games were against skilled programs and I’m happy with how the team has kept a competitive mindset and quickly put their first loss behind them."
Christensen turns key double play in seventh inning
By Robert Wanek Jr.
Breckenridge Post 53 Jr. Legion kicked off its summer baseball season with a 4-3 victory at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Thursday, led by the arm of Mark Wermerskirchen and the bat of Dallen Ernst.
Wermerskirchen pitched 5.2 innings, allowing two earned runs, striking out four, and allowing four hits. Wermerskirchen, who didn’t play school baseball, kept DGF off balance by mixing up speed and location during his first appearance of 2021. The pitcher also recorded five outs with his glove, including two missiles at the mound that he snared and tossed to first base.
Ernst scored Breckenridge’s first run on a sacrifice by Paul Armitage, getting a good read on a bunt towards first and taking off for home. The big cleanup hitter drove in his team’s other three runs, going 4-4 with three doubles.
Breckenridge committed just one error in the game, compared to five for DGF. Kaleb Albertson got things rolling defensively with a sliding catch in foul territory near first base in the first inning. He also caught several high throws on his way to nine putouts.
Heading into the sixth inning, Post 53 held a 4-1 lead. Wermerskirchen walked the first batter, before the next two barreled doubles to the fence. Ernst came on in relief and struck a batter out to end the inning with Breckenridge up 4-3.
Post 53 went down quietly to start the seventh. Ernst issued a walk to the leadoff man in the bottom half, and DGF had all the momentum. The very next batter drilled a liner to right center field, but Peyton Christensen came flying in for a basket catch. The Rebels were stealing, which allowed Christensen to rifle the baseball to first base for a double play.
Christensen showcased his speed throughout the game, reaching on an error and slapping an infield single to go along with three great catches in center field.
DGF’s leadoff hitter stepped into the box, trailing 4-3, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. He hit a chopper to Wermerskirchen at shortstop who fired to Roberts at first to seal the opening day win for Post 53.
Breckenridge mustered just six hits to DGF’s four, but never trailed, staying composed on the road against a skilled program. Nate Porter subbed into the game and relayed a deep hit back to the infield to save a run. Left fielder Joey Conzemius slid over to second base when Post 53 suffered an injury, recording a key out in the sixth. Catcher Zane Mikkelson allowed one passed ball in seven innings of work, while catching the only pop-up hit his way.
Breckenridge travels to Browerville on Tuesday for a double-header beginning at 5 p.m.
Breck bats are sizzling hot to begin the spring
• By Coach Kevin Hiedeman
Breckenridge Splits Season Opener With Wahpeton
The Cowboys defeated Wahpeton 3-0 in game one. Cooper Yaggie threw a shut out throwing all 7 innings striking out 13 batters and only giving up 4 hits. Cooper was dominant on the mound in game 1. Breckenridge also had their bats working picking up 11 hits topped off by a home run by Cam Neito. Neito, Yaggie, Jayce Werner, Collin Roberts and Connor Twidwell all had multiple hits in game one.
In game two the Cowboys lost 12-6 even though they outhit Wahpeton 13-11. We struggled to throw strikes early in the second game. Twidwell started on the mound, threw 3 innings giving up 4 earned runs. Collin Roberts gave up 4 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning. Jared Aamold pitched 3 2/3 innings giving up 4 runs. I thought Jared did a good job. He threw strikes for us. Our defense was very suspect in game two.
We let balls drop in the outfield, and in foul territory. Some of that is due to the fact that its our first game of the year and we haven’t been outside much. It’s hard to work on those things in the gym. We have to do a better job throwing strikes but again I was impressed with our bats. Cam Nieto picked up another four hits with a home run and a double. Chris Nieto, Twidwell and Aamold all had multiple hits in the second game.
Cowboys Defeat Wheaton 15-8 In 32 Degree Weather
Breckenridge fell behind in the top of the first on a base hit and a home run by Wheaton but bounce back to score 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st. Breckenridge exploded in the bottom of the second scoring eight runs. The Cowboys had 3 doubles 4 singles a walk, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly in the inning. Unfortunately the Cowboys committed 4 errors in the top of the third allowing five Wheaton runs to score but the Cowboys bounce back again scoring three more runs in the bottom of the third.
The Cowboys played much better the remainder of the game scoring one more run in the bottom of the fourth and shutting out Wheaton until the top of the seventh when they scored 1 run. Connor Twidwell threw six innings for the Cowboys giving up six hits while striking out six. Adam Ohm came in to record the final two outs of the game
Our bats have been on fire so far this season. The Cowboys racked up 15 more hits on the day. Cooper Yaggie, Chris Nieto, Connor Twidwell, Griffin Bosse and Collin Roberts all had multiple hits for the Cowboys. Chris Nieto and Cooper Yaggie each had three hits on the day
Breckenridge out hits OTC 13 to 1 in a 7-1 Win
This game was much closer than the final box score shows. Breckenridge held OTC to only one hit but the Cowboys struggled to throw strikes walking seven batters and hitting two more over seven innings. Breckenridge picked up 13 hits in the game but struggled to get the key hit to score runs. Breckenridge stranded eight runners in the game
In the bottom of the sixth inning the score was 3 to 1 and OTC had the bases loaded. The Cowboys were able to throw a Battle Lake runner out at the plate and record the final out only giving up one run in that inning.
The Cowboys broke the game open in the top of the seventh scoring four runs. Cooper Yaggie continues his hot streak at the plates going 4-4 on the day Griffin Bosse also picked up 3 hits and Jared Aamold had 2 hits. Jayce Werner, Connor Twidwell, Collin Roberts and Jacob Vizenor each had one hit in the game.
Cooper Yaggie pitched the first five innings picking up the win giving up one hit and one run. Adam Ohm earned the save pitching the final two innings. The Cowboys pitching staff will really be challenged with a doubleheader next Tuesday followed by a doubleheader versus Barnesville on Thursday.
Breckenridge Opens Heart O' Lakes Conference Play With Sweep Of Frazee
Cowboys won the first game 9-0. Connor Twidwell started on the mound and was impressive only giving up 1 hit, striking out 6 batters in 3 2/3 innings. Because of the pitch count rule and another double header on Thursday the Cowboys tried to get through these games with no one throwing more than 50 pitches. Jared Aamold pitched 2 2/3 innings and Collin Roberts pitched the final 1/3 inning to complete game 1.
The Cowboys bats continued to sizzle picking up 14 hits in the game. Breckenridge scored 4 runs in the first inning knocking out Frazee starting pitcher. Cooper Yaggie had 3 hits. Jared Aamold, Griffen Bosse, Jacob Vizenor, and Collin Roberts each had two hits in the game.
In the second game the Cowboys won 12-2 in 5 innings. Roberts continued on the mound pitching 2/3 of an inning giving up 2 runs. Yaggie came in to record the final out of the inning and pitched the next 3 innings striking out 8 batters. Jayce Werner pitched the final inning.
Offensively Werner and Vizenor had 2 hits and the Cowboys recorded 10 hits over 5 innings.
The Cowboys did a much better job of throwing strikes against Frazee. Our bats continue to be hot and we are starting to play better defense. Breckenridge did not commit a single error in the first game.
Cowboys continue conference play hosting a double header vs Barnesville on Thursday.
Erlandson, aamold, and held highlight senior list
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
Daniel Erlandson (Wrestling) - The senior capped off Super Sections with a 220-lb title and a 25-1 record heading into his third consecutive state tournament appearance.
Jared Aamold (Hockey) - The senior goalie recorded an absurd 66 saves in Breckenridge-Wahpeton's loss to Fergus Falls, a valiant effort in the final game of his high school career.
Jude Held (Basketball) - The senior point guard led her team in a tough playoff loss at Hawley, with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
senior looking to improve on last year's 4th place mark
• By Zach Haire
Breckenridge Cowboy wrestlers Matt Noll (106), Aidan Ruddy (145), and Daniel Erlandson (220) traveled to Long Prairie on Saturday, March 20, to battle some of the toughest wrestlers in sections 5a and 6a. With an adapted state qualifying format this year, just two wrestlers from each weight class would punch a ticket to the prestigious state tournament next weekend.
Coming off a solid third place finish at the sectional tournament, sophomore Matt Noll entered Saturday’s tournament with confidence. Noll battled hard, but ultimately dropped both matches. Nevertheless, he had a very impressive season with 20 wins to his name.
“At 106, Matt was the perfect spark plug to get momentum rolling in our duals. He improved throughout the year and was at his best at the end of the year. Matt’s potential is unlimited. I look forward to seeing him building on this year,” said Coach Tom Haire
At 145, junior Aidan Ruddy was greeted with a stacked bracket featuring the No. 2 and No. 4 wrestlers in Minnesota. Ruddy wrestled tough in his first bout of the morning, but his BBE opponent prevailed with a third period pin. Shortly after, Ruddy came back strong with a thrilling 5-4 victory in the consolations. In the blood round, the Cowboy junior saw his season come to an end with a loss against the eventual third place finisher.
“Aidan had a very successful season with 14 of his 20 wins coming by pin. As a captain, he showed invaluable leadership both on and off the mat. Aidan is a highly motivated young man and will do what it takes to improve over the off season,” said Haire.
Senior Daniel Erlandson entered Saturday with a clear mission in mind, to win the tournament and make his third MSHSL State Championships appearance. Erlandson kicked off the tournament with a second period pin after headlocking his Paynesville opponent. In his semi-finals match, Erlandson’s athleticism was on full display as he dominated his state ranked Benson opponent 8-0. In the finals match, Erlandson found himself down 2-0 after the first period; however, he proceeded to rattle off eight consecutive points to win the state prelims 220-pound title 8-2. Erlandson’s dominate tournament boosted him to a 25-1 record entering the state tournament.
“Daniel wrestled well today. His goal is to be a state champion and coming out on top in this tournament was one of many steps to achieving that goal. Daniel has the desire, drive, and determination to make his dream a reality,” said Coach Haire.
Erlandson enters the state tournament looking to improve on last year’s fourth place finish at 220 pounds. The tournament is being held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
christensen contributes across the board in big win
Frazee has come a long way as a program, and they weren’t going down easy. They cut the Cowboy lead to six with 4:40 remaining. Conzemius and Christensen worked the ball to each other in the lane for three buckets, Anderson grabbed two steals, and Breckenridge built a 10-point lead with 2:00 left.
Anderson was excellent in his utility role per usual. The senior wing posted nine points, 10 rebounds, and three steals. Adam Ohm knocked home a pair of key threes, shooting 2-of-5 for the game. Perez scored six and Blaufuss finished with five points.
Jack Courneya led all scorers with 25, but tapered off in the second half to the tune of nine points. Yaggie traced the ball in his hands and popped it out on multiple occasions, frustrating the Frazee star and turning the tide. Courneya showed that his offensive package is elite, and, most notably, became the all-time leading scorer at Frazee with the prolific output.
With the win, Breckenridge moves on to play at Warroad on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m in the Section 8AA Quarterfinals. The Warriors are the no. 2 seed from the north side and ranked no. 38 in the QRF. The Cowboys are the no. 3 seed on the south side and ranked no. 19 in the QRF.
Breckenridge begins road journey with win at the hive
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
Round seven of Breck Sports Talk's "Athletes of the Week" features two players that are white-hot on the hardwood and one athlete making his return to the sport of wrestling.
Zane Mikkelson (Wrestling) - "Alex Martel, Zane Mikkelson (who has been sidelined all year because of injury), and Aidan Ruddy went beast mode to pin their foes," said Zach Haire. Congratulations to Zane on mastering the mat in a triumphant return to cap off the season.
Adam Ohm (Basketball) - Ohm has been on another planet lately shooting the basketball. In his past three games Ohm has averaged 16.3 points without attempting a 2-PT shot. He's done his damage in just 24 minutes per game, while bringing his total of three-pointers made on the season to 52.
Jonah Christensen (Basketball) - Jonah has taken his game to the next level the past three games, averaging 21.3 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. He grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds at Frazee in the regular season finale.
for the second time, breckenridge loses tight battle
• Robert Wanek Jr.
The Breckenridge Cowgirls continued their late-season skid on Friday, losing to a 15-1 Pelican Rapids team by a score of 41-35 at home. The loss marked three in a row, all against section opponents, by a combined 10 points.
With the loss, Breckenridge fell to 11-6 as the projected sixth seed in Section 8AA. Still, hanging close for a second time with the three-time reigning Heart O’ Lakes Conference champions and top-seeded Vikings is a welcome sign entering tournament time. Breckenridge dropped the first meeting, 43-41 on the road. Pelican Rapids has won 10 consecutive games.
The Vikings and Cowgirls entered the contest with two of the top defenses in the section, allowing 39 and 42 points per game, respectively. This game featured the same drawn out zone defenses, resulting in a 15-12 halftime lead for the visitors.
Seventh grade phenom Johnica Bernotas shared primary point guard duties throughout the half and did so with poise. She took care of the basketball and forced a five-second violation that kept the score within one possession heading into the locker room.
Bernotas only scored five points, but they were big ones. Her baseline three in the second half keyed an eight-point run that cut the Vikings’ lead to 28-26. She also buried a step-back jumper from the wing to tie the game at 35-35 with 1:49 remaining.
The Cowgirls struggled with a 29.3% field goal percentage, but Jude Held tried her best to put Breckenridge on the board. The senior scored a team-high 12 points, while also leading the way with seven rebounds and three steals. Carcie Materi was the only other Cowgirl in double figures with 10 points. The pair was each 2-of-5 from 3-PT distance.
After Bernotas’ clutch jumper tied things up with less than two minutes to go, Greta Tollefson drew two fouls and made all four free throws to put the game on ice. Tollefson scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Breckenridge trailed by four with 20 seconds left, but failed to get a shot off until the waning seconds.
The Cowgirls enter a packed Section 8AA playoff field featuring eight teams with winning records, including six on the south side. Breckenridge defeated the north’s top seed, Crookston, in the season opener. They also own season splits against potential opponents in Perham, Barnesville, and Hawley.