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July 15, 2019

6/19/2019 3:12:00 PM
Pirates are team to watch
The product on the baseball field in Windom these days is as good as any we've seen in the past.
And while the WRA doesn't offer the same ambience of watching amateur baseball under the grandstand at Island Park, no one can argue with the quality plying their trade on the diamond.
Indeed, Windom Pirates baseball is following up last season's run to the state tournament with another outstanding season. If you want to watch some fine, entertaining baseball, I strongly suggest you grab a lawn chair and make your way to the East Hill diamond in Windom.
The Pirates are presently 9-3 overall and boasting an 8-2 record in league play.
They've got four strong arms, which is a baseball team essential at any level. Veterans Collin Lovell and Ross Ackerman anchor the rotation that also includes Luke Gilbertson and Kobe Lovell. All four have pitched, are pitching or will pitch at the collegiate level.
When you come to a game - notice I wrote "when," not "if" - you're likely to see an exciting contest. Of the Pirates' 12 games this season, heading into tonight's showdown with the Horned Frogs at 7:30 p.m., in Lakefield, seven games have been decided by two runs or less. The Pirates are 5-2 in those games.
The Pirates are streaky when it comes to hitting. They can bust loose for four or five runs and then go four or five innings without crossing the plate, while leaving multiple men aboard.
However, also consider that they are now playing without their best hitter in Sam Huska who is playing for the Albert Lea Lakers in the Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League, a wood bat league for college players. He should be back sometime during the playoffs.
Devin Nielsen, another of the team's top hitters, is splitting his playing time between Windom and Sioux Falls, while he does an internship in South Dakota. Nielsen will be available sparingly and, in fact, wasn't part of the Pirates' doubleheader sweep of Worthington and Heron Lake on Sunday.
That is allowing some of the Windom team's younger players to see the field and gain some valuable playing experience that can only help Pirate teams in the future.
Your chances to watch the Pirates at home are dwindling, though, at least until post-season play. The Pirates host the Tracy Engineers at 2 p.m., on Saturday, June 29, and the Jackson Bulls, Wednesday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m. Those games are their only home games until playoffs.
However, if you don't mind a short drive, they'll play in Lamberton on Tuesday, July 2, at 7:45 p.m. That game is preceded by a Legion game between Windom and Lamberton. The Pirates also have a Sunday, July 7, date with the Mt. Lake Lakers at 2 p.m., then wrap up the regular season on July 14 in Heron Lake at 2 p.m.
First Night/Gopher League playoffs start July 17.
So, again, grab your lawn chair and come to a ball park near you to watch your local amateur team. With free admission, you can't beat the opportunity.
River watching
I am far from being the official river watcher in Windom. In fact, anyone with an Internet connection can watch the West Fork of the Des Moines River's rise and fall in Windom.
Nevertheless, I'm asked time and again, "What's the river level?" And, time and again, I'll probably know. I think I'm asked because I'm the National Weather Service's weather recorder in Windom. However, weather watching and river watching are not connected.
I won't say I'm obsessed with watching what the river does, but I check the level at least two or three times a week (if I remember to do so), mostly because I'm curious. I like to see what the river does after a light or heavy rain.
On Saturday, we received three-quarters of an inch of rain and it caused the river to go up slightly, but it quickly began to drop.
As of Tuesday at 1 p.m. - without any significant rain since Saturday - the river was at 15.29 feet, which is the lowest it has been since flooding at Island Park this spring. In fact, in the 17 days since we received 2.25 inches, the river has dropped almost 4.5 feet.
I'll still rest a bit easier if the river drops to 13 feet or less. Time will tell if that happens.

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