by Dave DeMars
June 20 was a perfect night for baseball and the Sartell Muskies took advantage of that fact by crushing the Foley Lumberjacks 13-4 in the first Hall of Fame game.
Prior to the beginning of the game, the Muskies honored five couples because the spouses of former players had as much to do with the success of the Muskies as the players themselves. Thus, they were all honored by inducting them into the Sartell Muskie Hall of Fame.
Founded in 1979, these five couples, Larry (Rip) and Millie Rassier, Urban and Dorothy Frank, Larry and Aggie Traut, Lu and Dave Guggenberger Sr., and Jim and Marge Ohotto were instrumental in starting the original Muskie team and seeing to it the team continued to thrive and be successful.
Millie Rassier, Aggie Traut and Dave Guggenberger Sr. are deceased. For that dedication, the Muskies inducted their founders into the HOF and then, in fitting fashion, trounced the Foley Lumberjacks.
The Muskies jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning with Ethan Carlson planting a long double off the fence and then scoring on a bone-jarring play at the plate. The Muskies scored two more in the first and it stood at 3-0. Austin Gohl was on the hill for the Muskies against a thin Foley lineup.
“Austin battled through a couple of rough spots,” said manager Randy Beckstrom, “but he finished strong in his final inning, which is what I wanted him to do. He’s become a solid pitcher and a big part of the team.”
Foley scored one run in the second, then knotted the game 3-3 in the fourth inning. It looked to be a cat fight the rest of the night, but the Muskies, with the help of a Lumberjack error and some strategic hitting, rang up five runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning giving them an 8-3 lead.
From there on the Muskies never looked back as Gohl turned in six solid innings of pitching. He was relieved in the sixth by Max Koprek.
Jake Sweeter, who had been swinging the sweet stick for the Muskies, seemed to be stymied. Most of the night saw Sweeter give Lumberjack fielders eyestrain with high-floating pop-ups. But in the bottom of the sixth, Sweeter found the sweet spot on the bat and drove the ball over 350 feet into the grove of trees beyond the left field fence making it 9-3.
“He’s really been tearing it up this year,” Beckstrom said. “He’s having a great season.”
It looked like Koprek was in a little trouble in the seventh inning, but the Muskies turned a crucial double play and stifled the Foley challenge. Always looking to score more runs, the Muskies managed to put up four more in the bottom of the seventh inning making the score 12-3.
Foley managed to score one more run in the eighth and the Muskies managed another run to match it. Final score was 13-4 Muskies with Austin Gohl notching up a win in the first annual HOF game.
“This was a really fun game,” Beckstrom said, “especially with this being the Hall of Fame game. It was a great honor for those being inducted into the Hall of Fame and obviously we played well last night and hit the ball great and it was a nice victory.”