Central Cass standout Bresnahan signs with UND baseball

GRAND FORKS – Central Cass senior Ellery Bresnahan signed a NCAA National Letter of Intent to play baseball at the University of North Dakota on Wednesday.

Bresnahan, a 5-foot-10 lefty, plays football, basketball, baseball and golf for the Squirrels. Bresnahan helped Casselton Post 15 to back-to-back Class B American Legion state championships.


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Twins win first series at Tropicana since 2006Comments Off

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Erik Bedard could only give the Rays four innings, and their worn-down bullpen couldn’t stop the Twins lineup as Minnesota captured a 9-7 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon.

With the win, the Twins (11-10) secured their first series victory at Tropicana Field since Sept. 4-6, 2006.

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco struggled in the second inning and wound up allowing six runs on 10 hits. But Minnesota got six innings out of Nolasco, and the recently untouchable Twins bullpen held on, surviving the Rays’ late rally.

Down by two runs in the eighth inning, the Rays (10-12) loaded the bases for center fielder Desmond Jennings, who popped out on the first pitch from reliever Jared Burton.

Twins closer Glen Perkins converted his fifth save in six opportunities with a perfect ninth inning.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, had to turn the game over to its overworked bullpen in the fifth inning. With the Rays trailing by a run, reliever Heath Bell promptly hit a batter and gave up two hits before serving up a three-run blast to outfielder Aaron Hicks that put the game well out of reach.

The Rays’ starters have lasted five innings or less in eight of their last 10 games, forcing the bullpen to pick up 44 1/3 innings during that stretch.

Bedard slowly labored through a 41-pitch first inning in which he walked four batters. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and first baseman Joe Mauer walked to lead off the game, then Bedard issued a two-out walk to designated hitter Josmil Pinto.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki opened up the scoring, driving in Dozier and Mauer with a single to left field. Former Rays outfielder Sam Fuld added another run on a double to the right-field corner to put the Twins ahead, 3-0. Bedard walked Hicks before striking out shortstop Pedro Florimon to end a 22-minute top of the first inning.

The Twins added another run in the second as Bedard walked Dozier before surrendering singles to Mauer and third baseman Trevor Plouffe.

But the Rays struck back in the third inning, as first baseman James Loney doubled in third baseman Evan Longoria and designated hitter David DeJesus launched a two-run homer to right field off Nolasco, bringing the Rays within a run.

NOTES: Twins RF Chris Colabello entered Thursday’s game tied with Kirby Puckett (1994) for the most April RBIs in club history, with 26. … Tampa Bay has doubled in 22 games to start the season and 37 straight games dating back to last year. … The Rays will head to Chicago to face the White Sox on Friday, sending RHP Chris Archer to the mound to face White Sox RHP Erik Johnson. … The Twins will return home to host the Tigers on Friday, with RHP Kevin Correia facing Tigers RHP Rick Porcello.


Phelps wins butterfly heats at USA Swimming Grand Prix meetComments Off

PHOENIX – Michael Phelps made an ominous start in his comeback to competitive swimming on Thursday, setting the fastest time in the 100 meter butterfly heats at a USA Swimming Grand Prix meet in suburban Phoenix.

Racing for the first time since he retired in a blaze of glory after the 2012 London Olympics with a staggering career total of 18 gold medals, a relaxed Phelps cruised to victory in 52.84 seconds.

His time was well outside the world record of 49.82 seconds he set at the 2009 world championships but still safely under the qualifying time for this year’s U.S. national championships, which double as the selection event for next year’s world titles in Russia.

Phelps will swim again later on Thursday in the 100m butterfly finals and was also entered for Friday’s 50m freestyle heats.

Although the 28-year-old American still holds the world record in three individual events, none of his past times count for future events because they were all recorded before the qualifying period began in June 2013.

Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman were both reluctant to talk about their long term goals when they appeared at a packed news conference on the eve of his comeback but they did not rule out the possibility of competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Unshaven and still seven pounds (three kilograms) over his ideal racing weight, Phelps had planned to swim in three events at his comeback meet but ditched the 100m freestyle to focus on the 100m butterfly and Friday’s 50m freestyle.

Tickets for the event sold out within hours after Phelps confirmed he was making his comeback and were selling for more than five times their face value on the secondary market.

More than 100 media – a 500 per cent increase on last year’s meet – descended on the Skyline Aquatic Center to see him take his first plunge back into the water.

Even before his race, the crowd at the warm-up was five deep with people trying to snap a picture of him practicing with his kickboard.

When he climbed on to the blocks, the crowd roared and he made a clean getaway.

Phelps reached the turn in second place then pulled away from his rivals on the second lap, rolling his powerful shoulders over and over to reach the wall first and book his place in Thursday night’s final.


Yankees pitcher suspended for 10 games for substance on bodyComments Off

  • Michael Pineda
  • image

    New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) is ejected Wednesday from the game for having a foreign substance on his neck during the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday for having a foreign substance on his body during Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Pineda was ejected from the game in the second inning for using pine tar, a sticky substance that allows a pitcher to improve his grip on a ball.

The substance was slathered on the right side of Pineda’s neck, which he would touch with his pitching hand to improve his grip during a chilly night in Boston.

Unless appealed, Pineda’s suspension is scheduled to begin immediately, and he would be ineligible until April 5 against the Angels in Los Angeles after missing home series against the Angels, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Rays.

If appealed, the discipline issued to him will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.


Lawmakers seek probe into Mankato football coach processComments Off

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota legislative auditor should put a priority on investigating the firing and last week’s reinstatement of the Minnesota State University Mankato football coach, two key legislators say.

A letter from higher education chairmen Sen. Terri Bonoff, D-Minnetonka, and Rep. Gene Pelowski, D-Winona, joined the university and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system in asking Legislative Auditor James Nobles to investigate.

Nobles said that his office will conduct a preliminary investigation, which could lead to a months-long full probe.

“Given the problematic outcome of these decisions, a thorough analysis and review is appropriate,” Bonoff said. “What happened? Was our process appropriate? What changes are needed? These questions are best answered by the independent legislative auditor.”

Pelowski said an investigation “will provide us with the information we need to ensure this never happens again.”

University officials investigated Coach Todd Hoffner after videos of his nude young children playing at bath time were found on his university cell phone. He was charged with child pornography, but a judge dismissed the charges in November of 2012.

Instead of giving him his coaching job back, the university assigned him to a newly created athletic department job, then fired him in May of last year, saying it had found that his university issued computer has been used to view pornography.

An arbitrator ruled April 9 that Hoffner should have received a reprimand, but should have been allowed to return as head coach.

When Hoffner resumed his coaching duties last week, players walked out of spring practice, saying they preferred the interim coach. The players returned for the next practice.

MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone told the system’s board that the university is limited on how much it can say about Hoffner.

“The data practices law limits our ability to even publicly acknowledge that there was an arbitration decision, much less to provide copies of arbitration decisions and underlying records or to discuss their contents,” Rosenstone said.


Kolpack: Spring game puts emphasis on reserves now, and rightfully soComments Off

  • The North Dakota State spring football game
  • image

    The North Dakota State spring football game no longer pits balanced rosters against each other. In recent years, it has become an opportunity for players in backup roles to make an even greater impression on the coaching staff. David Samson / The Forum

Fargo – They’ll line up on the east sideline behind a table full of small boxes at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome on Saturday. One by one, members of the North Dakota State football team will step forward to receive their FCS national championship ring.

For some, it will be their third ring, and at this rate, their one hand could get quite heavy wearing all that large-looking jewelry. These title rings are not something you pull out of a Cracker Jack box. You can stand on the north end zone and see somebody wearing one walking across the south end zone.

Some of these players could challenge Mr. T for ring power.

Anyway, then it will be onto the annual Spring Game, where at one time teams were split equally by senior captains and they played the game to win. It was just as hard-fought and physical as any game played on Dacotah Field or the first almost two decades of the dome.

Like anything else, however, times have changed and the Bison are adapting to the new model of spring ball: More reps for the younger, inexperienced players and less physical action for the veterans.

You will not see starting running back John Crockett do his thing on Saturday. You will not see defensive ends Kyle Emanuel and Mike Hardie put pressure on the quarterback. You may not see much of receiver Zach Vraa or safety Christian Dudzik.

“There are only so many hits a Kyle Emanuel has left,” said head coach Chris Klieman. “We’re trying to eliminate some of those. I would say it’s more mental, more getting your fits and alignments and less physical. It has become less physical.”

Certainly, you will not see the starters who have sat out all 14 practices because of injuries.

That includes linebackers Travis Beck and Carlton Littlejohn, kicker Adam Keller, safety Colten Heagle and cornerback C.J. Smith. So, if you go to the game or watch it on TV, take it for what it’s worth: A battle of the guys seated a little deeper into the depth chart trying to make an impression on the coaches.

And that’s OK. Football is hard enough on the body in the fall. No need for more. It’s the trend across the country for spring ball.

Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Northwestern and Texas Christian are among the programs that have eliminated spring games, instead going more to an open practice format.

“It’s similar to fall camp,” Klieman said, “where you used to beat the heck out of everybody as much as you can and then try to recoup in the last week. Now you try to take care of them because years ago people came into fall camp to get into shape. Now they’re already in shape when they get here so we’ve cut down a lot of the hitting. A lot of schools have done that in fall camp.”

You can’t argue with the results at NDSU. The Bison seem to have found the right balance of hitting and not hitting, mainly because they’ve recruited guys talented and explosive enough that don’t need 14 spring practices to learn how to block and tackle with force against each other.

And this is a program that relies on physical football to wear down the other team. It did it 15 straight times last season.

So if you walk away from the dome Saturday afternoon disappointed you didn’t see the top dogs play, look at two factors.

E There’s an intelligent approach to NDSU’s practice methods.

E The game was free, you got to watch football, and you didn’t need binoculars from Row ZZ to clearly see the title rings.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia


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