Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 14, 2003

1948 Winsted baseball team wins its way to state playoffs

By Joe Kieser

This is part three of a series of five articles. Watch next week's edition of the Herald Journal for the continuing saga of the 1948 Winsted baseball season.

Delano played Waverly for the right to face Winsted in the final championship series. The series had gone three games and Bob Hendrickson pitched a great game, defeating Waverly 16-1.

There was some sadness in the area because today George Herman (Babe) Ruth died at the age of 53.

Winsted did not want to stand idly by, so they played two exhibition games during the week. They beat Lester Prairie 8-7 and Watkins 18-0.

Alex Romanchuk, Red Keating, and Lloyd Lundeen each pitched three innings in the victory over Lester Prairie. Kuntz, a southpaw, pitched for Lester and gave up 13 hits and two walks.

Vernon Wroge gave a masterful performance, pitching against Watkins. He also went 3-for-4, and the team played errorless ball in preparation for Delano.

Delano's downfall took place the previous Thursday in the "cracker box," when the locals won a hard-fought contest 4-3.

A score of 8-5 was attained by Winsted Sunday. Lundeen was pitching a three-hitter into the fifth, but Hendrickson was matching him pitch-for-pitch. Delano was leading 3-1 when the Winsted bats came to life.

Romanchuk hit a long home run to send the game into the ninth. Fred Wallner's double was followed by another from Ken Norman. Wroge stepped to the plate and singled in Norman, winning the game.

Are all the games going to be this tough? Lundeen had struck out 17 batsmen in the game. Ten hits and seven walks later, they were ready for game two.

The second game in Delano was not any easier. The locals were trailing 3-2 going into the fifth. After two doubles, a single, and three walks, they finally got the lead 6-3.

There was a nifty double play, Norman to Pat Williamsen to Art Hokenson, that got them out of a big jam. Romanchuk was relieved by Lundeen in the seventh and he held them hitless the rest of the way.

Romanchuk was 4-for-5 and combined with Lundeen for 11 strike-outs. The mighty Al Litfin for Delano went only 1-for-8. The North Star championship belonged to Winsted and they were ready for the regional against the New Ulm Millers.

Winsted made a clean sweep against the Millers, winning both games by scores of 12-2 and 9-4.

Lundeen pitched a great game, and along with seven hits and 11 walks, were victorious.

Lundeen had 15 strike-outs and allowed only five hits. Features of the game were two home runs by Keating, one by Williamson, and a triple by Norman. Romanchuk and Red Keating led the team in hits with three each.

More than half of the crowd of 500 fans in New Ulm were from Winsted. Hendrickson and John Boller split the pitching duties. The powerful bats of Winsted, along with good pitching and fielding, were just too much for the Millers.

The three drafted players ­ Hendrickson, Boller, and Dick Newman were all helping the local club. Ceylon was the next club to face in the AAA playoffs.

Ceylon from the Martin County League really gave Winsted a battle.

After getting off to a good start in Ceylon by scoring three runs early, the opponent moved ahead 5-4 in the sixth.

In the seventh, Wallner hit his second home run. Three other hits by Keating, Norman, and Vern Wroge gave Winsted a 7-5 lead.

Cy Seymour and Bill Hasse walked in the ninth and Williamson was safe on an error to finish the scoring.

Lundeen struck out two in the ninth and caught a high fly on the first baseline to secure the victory. Lundeen struck out 13, and Winsted had 12 hits.

Romanchuk was on the mound in game two, and had a no-hitter going into the ninth inning.

When the dust had lifted after the wild half inning, the Ceylon team was leading 4-3.

John Boller relived Romanchuk and struck his man out to get out of the inning. Winsted tied the score on Romanchuk and Wallner walks, and Newman was safe on an error scoring Romanchuk.

Hendrickson relieved Boller and struck out the side in the 10th. Seymour walked, Romanchuk was safe on an error, and Wallner doubled for the victory.

John Keating missed the sign on Highway 15 and drove on into Iowa. He finally got to Ceylon after several innings had been played. The team was tired but they were all excited about being in the state tourney in Shakopee.

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