BROOKLYN SANDVIG AND THE BREAKFAST OF A CHAMPION
Words and Photos by Branden Nall
a new sports news and media outlet for the chippewa valley
Branden Nall - Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Almost 30 years behind a camera and an affinity for sports, forging a new path seemed the inevitable.
My first conversations started in 2018 and quickly fizzled away as questions of validity lingered. Sports were on a downward trend.
Then we had this abrupt ending to 'standard' sport. The sports that you watch on TV and that kids get scholarships to participate, gone. Stopped.
Autumn of 2021 brought a whole new light to the demand of sports media coverage, sports discipline, sports interest, participation and humanity in sport. We are seeing programs that were once on a back step - to high demand and thriving.
Conversations as sports started moving back in full-swing had captivated my desire to once again ponder on the option. But, those questions didn't take long as the conversations became more and more frequent. Coaches, parents and fans talked about the need of more coverage outside of what we have.
Nestled or running sidelines for a majority of my life with a camera, I was able to form a lot of great relationships with people. Those people were an open book after the shutdown. The desire and demand for sports wasn't just in front of me - it had tackled me and concussed my previous static vision.
So, forward we proceed. Sports on this site will not just be the mainstream top stuff that everyone covers. We will be focused on all sports, action, adventures and fitness around the Chippewa Valley. Also with emphasis of human interest stories about our local people. We will do our best to cover as much as we can, but as a small family business and bootstrapping this venture, we will probably miss some things.
We appreciate you and hope to bring you stories and photographs that will echo for many decades to come.
fierce freedom: justice run
Every year Fierce Freedom (fiercefreedom.org) holds a running event in Eau Claire to raise funds for the organization. We 100% support their mission to eliminate all Human Trafficking. We are excited to have captured some bits of the action!
ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE PHOTO GALLERY WILL GO TO FIERCE FREEDOM!
cavaliers net sturgeons
10 Run Rule enforced in 7th inning with 15 - 3 win.
4 Cavs .500 or higher at the plate led Eau Claire to a gripping victory over the visiting Jim Falls Sturgeons. The Cavs are on a 4 game win streak with Holmen up next on July 25th at Carson Park. 1st pitch set for 7pm.
Schaller is perfect
Christian Schaller sends it in Semi-Final
Words and Photos by Branden Nall
EAU CLAIRE - Chippewa Falls Post 77 and Eau Claire Post 53 squared-off at Carson park this afternoon under intermittent clouds and blazing sun. Late morning rains in Eau Claire had fizzled and baseball was being played.
I don't think that a pitcher wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm gonna throw a not-hitter, today." But, I could be wrong.
However, when the stars align and God and the universe high-five, sometimes a No-Hitter is less than satisfactory. Today - one of those days!
5 innings. 7 strikeouts. 0 walks. And a whole host of support from the other 10 guys playing defense.
If you know baseball, you just read '5 innings' and I presume are questioning my attention to detail. Not only was Schaller perfect, but the bats were on fire for Post 53 as they went 14 runs on 15 hits. Which put the run rule into affect after a lead of 10 at the end of 5 innings.
Tomorrow, Eau Claire will play for the Regional Championship at 2pm at Carson Park against winner of tomorrow's 11am match-up. Chippewa Falls will play at 11am tomorrow at Carson Park against the winner of the 6pm game tonight at Bollinger Fields in Eau Claire.
Will we see Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire battle again at 2 tomorrow?
uwec Student-athletes honored by nabc
Tuesday the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BASKETBALL COACHES announced it's 2021-22 Team Academic Excellence Awards and Honors Court representing the highest level of academic achievement earned by student-athletes. Among those selected was the UWEC Men's Basketball team. They have earned this prestigious award 7 of the last 9 years.
5 players took home the Honors Court award including, Nathan Banasik, Nate Hau, Spencer Page, Alex and Brock Voigt.
3 RUN HR SENDS BEARS(EXPRESS) OVER HUSKIES FOR 2 GAME HOME SWEEP
Express' Cadyn Schwabe, dressed in the classic Eau Claire Bears uniform, decides the right field fan deck needed some love during the 7th inning last night in Carson Park.
Duluth up 1-0 with a run scoring in the top of the inning.
Jake Sapien and Clay Conn occupying bases 3 and 1.
Schwabe at the plate.
Schwabe's bat connects and the reverie of 1297 fans - well, most of them, erupt in ovation as the ball soars past the right fielder over the wall onto the fan deck.
No answer from Duluth in the 8th or 9th send the Express into the top spot in the 'last 10 games' column with 9 wins. 7-1 in the second half that started last week.
The Express wrapped up the first half of the season on the 3rd and 4th of July, which rightfully so, ended in fireworks after sweeping the St Cloud Rox at home.
Tonight - the Rox are back. Just as tough as before and also sitting with a 7-1 record in the second half. I can't imagine they aren't hungry. Coming off of a loss last night against La Crosse, plus wanting some revenge on the ending that was just a week and a half ago.
Catch all the action! Get to the field. Have some drinks and some grindage.
Or watch it here - https://portal.stretchinternet.com/nwlexpress/ This is summer baseball at it's finest!
Cayden Schwabe crosses the plate after his 7th inning 3 run home run to put the 'Bears' Express up by 2 ultimately sealing the win. Photos by Branden Nall
out and active to pro-tour
Eau Claire - Words and photos by Branden Nall
LOCAL DISC GOLFER EVOLVES FROM JUST A WALK DOWN THE FAIRWAY TO TAKING ON THE BEST IN THE WORLD, GROWING THE SPORT.
One of the fastest growing sports in the United States(possibly world) is Disc Golf. The Professional Disc Golf Association stands by this. The sport has seen an incredible influx of players, events and major sponsorships taking shape over the last few years and prompting an explosion over the pandemic.
High caliber players on the Professional Tour have contracts that chart millions of dollars with ESPN now providing coverage of some major events.
I used to throw discs 20 years ago. Since then, nothing until 2021 when I was reintroduced to a same, but whole new sport. Immersed in sports for the majority of my life, little did I know we have a MASSIVE local disc golf community of hundreds, if not thousands, of players of all talents.
One of those, Sami Osterberg. Hailing from the metropolis of Cleghorn. Sami has a 10 hole course at her house and is a Pro. In 2014, the year after her daughter was born, Sami started looking for something to do to get out, so disc golf became that outlet. "I just threw the disc down the fairway, just to get out and be active."
Playing pretty consistently until 2019 when she was approached by a couple of regulars in the sport. They indicated that she was doing extremely well as she could throw far. Letting her know about some local tournaments, she jumped into one and the journey began.
She became a PDGA member in 2020 then found herself placing high enough and winning enough at PDGA sanctioned events that in 2021 she was moved into the Female Pro Open classification. This allows her to play Pro-Tour events at the Worlds largest competitions.
Sami is sponsored by a few different companies including Discraft Underground and MPWRD. Both organizations are on the forefront of developing this sport. The biggest motivation that Sami has is to get others on the courses and introduce them to this game - so it's a great fit for both she and her sponsors.
This year she has played in 8 sanctioned Pro Tournaments some of which are the Memorial Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona - The OTB Open in Stockton, California - The Preserve Championship in Clearwater, Minnesota and the 2022 United States Women's Disc Golf Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.
"I was a bit nervous that Hannah was on my card, until I found out the GOAT wasn't there, then I relaxed a little."
During the Preserve Championship she shared a card with Paul McBeth's wife, Hannah. Paul is considered the greatest disc golfer of all time and is still on the Pro-Tour with a U.S. rank of #2. Sami said, "I was a bit nervous that Hannah was on my card, until I found out the GOAT wasn't there, then I relaxed a little."
Sami has a day job working retail, but manages to squeeze in at least 18 holes a-day as much as she can. Her daughter also plays and will be playing on the national stage this month; absolutely loves competition and has a bunch of friends her age that also play, whom she keeps in contact with.
Tower Flex Friday is a tournament that Sami and her brother run at Tower Ridge Recreation Area just east of Eau Claire in the Town of Seymour. She has a passion for putting on events and doing all that she can to grow the sport.
She doesn't discriminate on courses in the area or traveling, so she will head to Stanley and play the course a couple times and then hit another on the way back home.
Keep an eye out for more on Sami as her career in the disc golf world grows! She is one of the best female players in the world. Here at Chippewa Valley Sports - we are rooting for great things to come!
It's pretty incredible at how many courses we have in the Chippewa Valley! I know 12 off the top of my head that span from Stanley to Menomonie to Osseo and more development is happening every single day with organizations like Chippewa Valley Disc Golf Organization and people like Sami moving the chains(pun intended).
Get out and play - most courses are free and you can pick up discs at local retailers. As of now you can find courses on UDisc where you can keep score and much more.
Chippewa Valley Sports is working on a subsite resource center for disc golf and will have it live as soon as possible.
ALL STAR TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS
Dylan O'Connell crosses the plate with a high helmet during a EC Pizza Hut Legion game on June 21st, 2022. Photo by Branden Nall
dylan o'connell - logan lau - brendan bresina make legion
2022 Wisconsin American Legion Baseball State All-Star game will be played at American Family Field on August 7th after the Brewers/Reds game!
EXPRESS' matt helwig makes northwoods league all-star team
2022 Northwoods League All-Star game will be held on Tuesday July 19th at 7pm on Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids.
EXPRESS ON TRACK WITH STACKS BILLOWING
EAU CLAIRE - Words/Photos by Branden Nall
Overcast skies and humidity rolled into Carson Park during game 2 of the Eau Claire Express vs Mankato Moondogs 2 game stint to start the second half of the season.
The Moondogs came out with bats hot in the 1st finding gaps early providing 2 hits with a pair of back-to-back singles to center and left field. The Express managed to close the inning with no one crossing the plate.
Lobbing one over the right field wall for a home run, Boston Merila of Mankato put the first point on the board followed by an RBI, 3 batters later, Simon Scherry helped add the 2nd tick of the inning.
The Express found themselves with their first run after a second base error allowed Max Coupe to touch home in the bottom of the 3rd. Making the score 2-1.
4 hits and 3 runs in the 5th inning were the last tally marks that would be made on the scoreboard for the Moondogs. The Express had other plans - they chipped away with 2 in the 5th, 2 in the 7th and 1 final run in the 8th to make the final score 6-5.
The Express are on a 4 game hot streak that finds them on the road for the next 4 games facing the Bismarck Larks. They make their way back to Carson Park on Tuesday to take on the first half champs, Duluth Huskies.
Alec Baker pitches during the 1st inning on Wednesday in Eau Claire. Photo by Branden Nall
express take game 1, look for sweep
EAU CLAIRE - Words/Photos: Branden Nall
The second half of the Northwoods League season starts with the Express' smoke stakes blazing. A win on Wednesday night at Carson Park sealed 3 in-a-row putting them on top of the Great Plains East Division just a half game above Duluth for the full season.
Alec Baker's first pitch at 6:37 was followed by 5 great innings on the mound with some heat under the blue skies as the clouds dissipated. 92 and 93mph flashed on the outfield speed indicator during his offering.
The 3rd inning offered bats on balls for the Express with 3 runs on 3 separate at-bats coming from Rosengard, Haskins and the UW-Stout star - Szykowny.
A wild pitch from the Express in the 6th allowed 2 Moondogs to score which tallied to 3 after they posted 1 earlier in the night.
3-3 lingered on the board for only 1 inning as Haskins added another RBI on the night for the go-ahead run and closing out the game.
Tonight, the Express are back at Carson for round two against the Moondogs in their 2-game stint before headed on the road until next Tuesday where they are back at home for 4 games in-a-row against Duluth and the Rox. 4 definitive games in their July schedule.
EXPRESS POISED FOR ROUND 2 CLINCH
The Eau Claire express open the second half of the season tonight at home against the Mankato Moondogs with a first pitch set for 6:35.
Coming off of a 2 game win streak against the St. Cloud Rox - the second best team in the Northwoods League - the Express are making their push into part 2 of the 2022 season. The Moondogs finished their first half with an identical 19-15 record as Eau Claire. The Moondogs are in the Great Plains West Division and the Express, the Great Plains East.
1st half stats: W L PCT GB STREAK LAST 10
19 15 .559 - 2 4-6
Photos by Branden Nall
3 ABOVE IMAGES: Granite Games on Saturday June 4th in Viking Lakes, Minnesota.
magic at run for the lights
Bob Johnson holds the 2022 WIAA Sectional Championship plaque at Carson Park on June 7th.
Eau Claire North High Baseball head coach of 17 years steps down.
307 wins. 79 losses.
That is a 25% loss record that spans throughout his career on the varsity baseball field. Johnson spent 28 years coaching, the last 17 with the Huskies. He created one of the best baseball programs in the state and it has shown in spades.
8 State Tournaments
9 Big Rivers Conference Championships
5x Division 1 coach of the year
WBCA Spring coach of the year
He also just completed his 30th year of teaching at Locust Lane Elementary in Eau Claire and will continue to do so.
Top: North Huskies Bob Johnson sits and watches his guys onthe field during the Sectional Final Baseball game against Stevens Point on June 7th in Eau Claire. Bottom: Bob Johnson at the mound for a discussion during the WIAA State Championships at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute on June 14th.