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Veteran Moorhead coach seeks first state title at VFW tourney

Moorhead Golds coach Steve Timmer has 27 team 8-by-10 photos on his wall. Every one contains new faces -- athletes forging their way through Minnesota baseball history. In every frame, Timmer stands in the same coach's corner, presiding over a te...

Moorhead Golds coach Steve Timmer has 27 team 8-by-10 photos on his wall.

Every one contains new faces -- athletes forging their way through Minnesota baseball history.

In every frame, Timmer stands in the same coach's corner, presiding over a team that has changed with each passing year.

The 28th photo will be added shortly.

Timmer, in his 28th year of coaching the Golds, will be with his team this weekend when they finish the season at the annual Veteran of Foreign Wars baseball tournament.

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The tournament starts today and extends through Monday at Matson Field in Moorhead and Jack Williams Stadium across the Red River in Fargo. Nine Minnesota district champions and Perham, the host team since the Golds won a district championship, will compete for the Minnesota title of VFW teams.

Timmer is seeking his first state title as a VFW and American Legion coach.

"Our defense has been holding together so well," he said. "Hopefully we can get on one of those hitting streaks that we tend to get on and keep going."

Last year at the state tournament in Alexandria, Timmer received his 800th victory as the team finished second, the closest they have tasted a state title.

The Golds, 39-9 overall, advanced to the state tournament this year with a 9-2 win over Perham in the District 9 championship July 28 in Thief River Falls.

Brock Gnadt will pitch for Moorhead in its opener at 2 p.m. against Mankato at Matson Field. Gnadt has an

8-0 record with a .400 batting average.

"We are going to be playing some elite teams in the state right now," Timmer said. "It will be fun to see if we match up with them."

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Perham enters the tournament for the first time in the team's eight-year VFW history.

"We are coming in as the underdogs," fourth-year Perham coach Justin Stohs said. "I think we will be able to compete with any team that is down here."

Perham will put its most consistent pitcher all year, Nate Silbernagel, on the mound to face Woodbury at 11:30 a.m. at Matson.

First-year first basemen Tyler Sjolie is hitting a monstrous .550 heading into the tournament.

"This year, we don't have any superstars," Stohs said. "We just have a bunch of guys that play the game right. They play fundamentally. They know how to win."

If the Golds win their first game, they will play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Matson. If they lose, they will play at 7:30 tonight, also in Moorhead.

Timmer is hoping the tournament will bring a state championship trophy to add to his wall of photos.

He may have a few more chances. Timmer isn't counting out 15 more years as head coach of the Golds. His

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9-month old son will be ready to play by then.

"I think each year by the time spring rolls around ... I look forward to it," Timmer said. "Especially after winter. I have enjoyed seeing how the kids develop. It is really enjoyable to see them play farther on."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michael Klinski at (701) 241-5549

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