Outfielders, infielders and pitchers were all trying to throw strikes Thursday as Gopher Conference baseball teams gathered in Waterville for a bowling tournament. Host school Waterville-Elysian-Morristown won the event, edging Blooming Prairie. Medford, Maple River and NRHEG tied for third.

With teams limited to indoor practice through the extended winter weather, many have been looking for activities and events to break up the monotony. Dodge ball tournaments have been popular around the region and races and contests between various spring sports teams. The weather will finally turnaround in the days ahead and teams will be anxious to hit the diamonds once they are playable.

The Minnesota State High School League modified rules for baseball and softball teams to allow them to play two five-inning games in doubleheaders, if they need to, in order to get in as many games as possible. Medford Activities Director Kevin Werk said teams are hoping to get in their second round of conference games, but he acknowledges that they probably won't be able to play their full schedule of games.

Several softball teams will play in the Austin dome Friday night. NRHEG faces Medford at 7PM and WEM at 9:30PM. Blooming Prairie will play WEM at 7PM and take on the Tigers at 9:30PM. Fans are invited to bring their own chairs. There are no concessions and there are rules on what kind of food can be brought into the dome.

Owatonna's boys' golf team will open its season Friday against Mankato East at a golf course in Ames, Iowa. The match begins at 11:30AM. The other Owatonna sports for Friday are postponed or canceled, including softball, boys' and girls' lacrosse, boys' and girls' track and girls' golf.

Triton graduate Zach Otto, a junior at Savannah State University, leads the field after Thursday's opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship with a three-under par round of 69. Fellow Cobras' graduate Jaden Thiemann, a college sophomore at SSU, shot 80 and is tied for 25th place.



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