Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 7, 2003

Opening day for Winsted baseball

By Joe Kieser

This is part two of a series of five articles. Watch next week's edition of the Herald Journal for the continuing saga of the 1946 Winsted baseball season.

Dave Laurance gave the starting line up with "And for Winsted . . . Lundeen pitching . . . Wallner catching!"

May 2, 1946 was opening day and Winsted rallied in the eighth inning to beat Hutchinson 6-3. The score was tied 3-3 going into the ninth, when Winsted scored three times for the victory.

Lloyd Lundeen pitched an excellent complete game, and Bill Hasse and Ken Norman hit home runs. It was a cold day, but 776 fans went home happy.

Game two was played in Delano, with Bob Hendrickson on the mound for the boys from the east. Lundeen pitched a six-hitter and Winsted won 6-3. Today it was Alex Romanchuk and Fred Wallner as the hitting heroes.

"Winsted Trims Cokato 8-0" was the next week's headline. Romanchuk was just pitching his first game after arm surgery. Lundeen needed to give him a little relief, but in 1:45, they struck out 12 and had the victory.

Bub Seymour was starting to notice something special about this team in its ability to just find a way to win.

Vern Wroge and Lundeen were on the mound when Brownton (11-5) and Lester Prairie (6-0) stretched this winning streak to seven games.

Wroge was not able to take his regular rotation because he was graduating from Concordia College Friday night.

The hitting for Winsted was the best anyone had seen in a long time.

The winning streak became 11, with wins over Young America, Kimball, Howard Lake, and Chaska. The crowds were getting larger with every victory.

The locals wanted to get back at Howard Lake for calling our park "the cracker box."

Wallner hit a long home run into Howard Lake just to prove that he could hit home runs in big parks, too.

Playing five games in one week necessitated Winsted getting Nelson from Minneapolis to pitch one game for them.

Mayer was beaten 13-3, St. Peter 8-6, and the Fourth of July showed two great games against Waverly.

Lundeen had just enlisted in the naval reserves and got several shots in his arm. There was no way that a couple of shots would keep him out of a big ball game. He needed a little relief from Wroge, but game one was 11-2.

Both parks were filled to overflowing capacity for these two games. Game two found Waverly really determined to end this streak, with Roden and Jolicoeur on the mound.

They had their two aces ready to go. Romanchuk pitched a nifty six-hitter and Winsted won 13-9. Hahn and Wallner hit balls into Waverly Lake for victory streak number 15.

Watertown was the team that brought Winsted back to earth by a score of 5-4 in 11 innings. Then a win over Young America 9-2 and a loss to Loller and Glencoe 9-3.

Another winning streak started with wins over Howard Lake 8-5, Lake Lillian 6-3, and Cokato 9-8.

Winsted payed five games in the week of July 29. Two of the games were classic battles between Garbett-Kinsel and Romanchuk-Lundeen-Wroge.

The crowds of 3,300 and 3,500 just went wild. The players could not remember their batting averages, but they remember 440 cases of beer sold in the game at Winsted.

The bars were also sold out of cases, so a beer run was made to Lester Prairie and New Germany.

By the way, Winsted won both games over Maple Lake 8-7. They also played in Watertown for the dedication of their new lights for their new field.

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