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Les Knutson: Hard-hitting Buttermakers play Regal today

LES KNUTSONDaily Globe sports columnist HADLEY -- Back again for action in the Class C state amateur baseball tournament, the power-hitting Hadley Buttermakers -- champions of Region 13C -- play today against the Regal Eagles in a 1:30 p.m. sched...

LES KNUTSON
Daily Globe sports columnist 

HADLEY -- Back again for action in the Class C state amateur baseball tournament, the power-hitting Hadley Buttermakers -- champions of Region 13C -- play today against the Regal Eagles in a 1:30 p.m. scheduled game in Hutchinson.

Regal, the Region 15C runner-up, defeated the Shakopee Coyotes, the third seed from Region 3C, by a 4-2 final in opening-round action on Aug. 20. The Buttermakers advanced with a bye to this weekend’s round of 32.

Also playing this weekend are the Milroy Irish, the Region 13C runner-up, and the Region 2C champion Lamberton Long Sox.

The Long Sox, like the Buttermakers, received a first-round bye. Lamberton tangles with the highly-regarded Raymond Rockets, the Region 11C runner-up, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Dassel. Raymond advanced with a 9-6 first-round victory over Delano. The Rockets own a victory over the Class B Milroy Yankees this summer and received votes (for the Top 10) in the Class C state rankings in late July.

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The Irish edged St. Benedict, 4-3, in its opener and will play Region 14C champion New York Mills at 7:30 p.m. this evening in Dassel. New York Mills received a first-round bye.

This weekend’s winners advance to the “Sweet Sixteen” of the tournament over Labor Day weekend.

Hadley has a proud baseball tradition and a large -- and faithful -- fan following. Expect plenty of Buttermaker rooters to be on hand in Hutchinson this afternoon. There will be some loud cheering if Hadley sluggers Blake Rogers, Nick Bruning or Max Zwart happen to knock a ball off or over the fence -- like they did frequently all summer long.

Drooger’s columns are most interesting

Mike Drooger, my tall friend from Edgerton who owns and manages Drooger’s Food Center on the town’s busy main street, is quite a columnist. A sports fanatic, Mike also writes up his share of sports stories for the Edgerton Enterprise, the town’s weekly newspaper.

He’s shared a few of his interesting columns with me over the years.  

Two of which he sent me recently dealt with ball parks which host amateur baseball games, one in Hadley and one in Sacred Heart.

The field in Hadley has a festive atmosphere, including the voice of announcer Mark Zinnel, a premier high school distance runner out of Slayton during the late 1970s.

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The field in Sacred Heart -- which has hosted high school sectional baseball tournament games -- is “immaculate,” according to Drooger.  “The line where grass meets agri-lime is as straight as where carpet meets linoleum in your house. And you couldn’t find a weed if you tried.”     

Drooger also sent me a column which he wrote several years ago about Mike Patrick, who was seriously injured in a high school football game while playing for the Worthington Trojans vs. Owatonna on Sept. 3, 1971, the opening night of the season.     

Patrick was paralyzed as a result of the injury and has remained a quadriplegic for the past 45 years. A polished motivational speaker and author of a book, titled “I Still Believe in Tomorrow,” Patrick spoke at Worthington’s King Turkey Day in 2012.

Drooger’s column recalled the events of the injury and Patrick’s long period of hospitalizations and rehabilitation which followed. He also detailed how Mike overcame his initial periods of depression and became the energetic speaker who traveled the country telling his story and giving hope to others.

Part of Drooger’s column talked about how the Patricks lived in Edgerton for three years (from 1963-1966) when his dad, Arlin, taught and coached (cross country, basketball and track) at EHS. Mike spent his third, fourth and fifth grade years in Edgerton and had many fond memories of his days there, including buying cherry cokes for a dime at Jolink’s Pharmacy.

As I said, Drooger tells an interesting tale and the story he wrote about Patrick is certainly a masterpiece. He credits previously written articles by Tom Brakke (40 Years Ago Today), Bob McClintick (Not a Piece of Cake) and Beth Rickers (Still a Believer) with aiding him with that column.

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