13 Years Ago – Otterson, Holthaus and others lead Legion to league title
In July of ’99 the Monticello Legion baseball team was every bit as hot as the soaring temperatures. With the regular season winding down, Monticello won six games in just one week to help seal the league title.
During the week, Monticello beat five different teams (including Dassel-Cokato twice) and placed just two games that were closer than eight runs.
They opened the week with a 13-3 win over Delano that would be a sign of things to come. Eric Otterson put Monti up 6-3 with a solo home run in the third inning. The lead had stretched out to 9-3 when Otterson came to the plate again in the fourth and hit his second homer of the game, this one a three-run shot, to Monti up by 9. Aaron Holthaus finished the scoring with a solo home run in the fifth. He also threw a complete five-innings to get the win on the mound.
The good times continued when Monticello hammered DC twice in a double-header, winning 10-0 and 20-1.
In the first game, Joe VanCulin, Dusty Decker and Cory Markling all hit home runs to help stretch the lead out in the middle innings.
In the second game, Monticello’s offense was rolling from start to finish. Nate Weiman hit a home run in the second to put Monti up 3-1. It was 6-1 after three. And in the fourth, things exploded. Eleven runs crossed the plate in that one inning, including home runs from Markling and Jeremy Hood. Otterson went 4 for 4 at the place in the second game, while VanCulin added three hits.
Monticello then faced a bit more of a challenge the rest of the week. The bats quieted down but the pitching held up as they defeated Mound, 4-2. Then, they snuck by Howard Lake 7-6 with three runs in the sixth inning and shut down relief pitching from Markling.
But the final game of the week was perhaps the most interesting. Monticello spotted Maple Plain a 7-0 lead to begin the afternoon. But, the Magic offense again found its stride. Three runs scored in the early innings. And in the fourth, things again heated up. Holthaus smacked a solo homer before singles by VanCulin, Markling, Hood and Kyle Melville put Monti up 8-7.
Monticello would attack away the rest of the afternoon, using singles and doubles to pull away for a come-from-behind 16-8 win and an official league title.
22 Years Ago – Arvig and Witschen lead the 1990 Legion team to a hot start
Like their replacement players nine years later (see above) the 1990 Legion team got off to a red-hot start in the month of July. As the middle of the month rolled around, they picked up two more Wright County Conference wins to help move them to 12-2 in conference play.
Monticello used a six-run third inning to blow the game open against Dassel-Cokato at the start of the week. Matt Witschen was a leader at the plate as he went two for two and drove in four runs. Dave Arvig added three RBIs and was the winning pitcher. Arvig tossed a five-hitter, while walking just one batter.
Another hot hitter for the Magic was Travis Johnson. Johnson drove two runs in despite walking a game-high three times.
Later in the week, Monticello kept it rolling, again behind one big inning. The local team used a ten-run second inning to beat Rockford 11-1.
Witschen started that second inning with a double, followed by three straight Monti singles. Jeff Arvidson would add a two-run single before Arvig ripped his own two-run double.
Steve Austin was the winning pitcher as he gave up just one hit in three innings of action. Lee Mielke threw two innings in relief.
The Legion team would finish the conference season 14-3 as they locked up the conference crown a few weeks later with a dominating 10-2 win over Buffalo.
38 Years Ago – Link and Nimmo help the Legion team clinch a playoff spot
Well, this proves it. July is officially a good month for Monticello Legion baseball. In 1974, the season was winding down in early July when the Legion team picked up two one-run victories to clinch their spot in the end-of-the-year playoffs.
It started with a Thursday evening game, where Monticello snuck by St. Michael 6-5. Monti was behind 2-0 early, but came back to tie the score in the fourth inning behind a run from Jim Link and an RBI bunt single by Greg Backstrom. But again, home team fell behind, as St. Michael took a 5-2 lead going to the sixth. There however, Monti would take the lead for good. Backstrom singled, but stayed put as the next two batters were retired. However he was on the move again when Scott Roisum drew a walk, Link singled (for a third time), Gene Farone doubled down the line, and then Pete Schmitz drilled a triple off the right-center field fence to plate the tying and winning runs.
Tom Nimmo pitched the first six innings to get the win.
A few days later, Monticello would jump out to an early lead against Maple Lake, but would need extra innings to seal the deal.
After Monti took a 2-0 lead, the Lakers would come back and force extra innings – but that did nothing except give Pete Clement a chance to be the hero. Backstrom opened the inning with a single and stole second, but was stuck there as the next two hitters struck out. Then with two outs, Clement clutched up. His single up the middle scored Backstsrom and clinched a postseason berth for the local nine.