*Photos via Minnesota Historical Society. Photo 1: Winsted team photo, Photo 2: Belle Plaine catcher Gene O’Brien crosses home plate after a home run against Milroy in the first round of the Class A state tournament. Photo 3: Shakopee’s Riverside Park on Sunday, Sept. 12 for the opening games of the state tournament drew overflow crowds that sat along the foul lines and warning track.

By Nick Gerhardt

ScoreMonster Contributor

news@mnbaseball.org

The 1948 Class A state tournament provided thrilling games from the start and gave rise to an upstart Winsted team.

The opening game of the tournament between the Shakopee Indians, which had won the 1940 state title, and Lanesboro ended with a play at the plate where the Indians threw out a runner tagging at third base at the plate for a game-ending double play. 

Shakopee’s luck didn’t last as the Winsted Warriors defeated the Indians 5-4 in 10 innings in the semifinals to advance to the championship game to face perennial power Belle Plaine. Pat Williamson drove in the game-winning run for the Warriors, who previously made the state tournament in 1935, against Shakopee. John Boller, a draftee from Glencoe, and Bob Hendrickson, a draftee from Delano, beat Shakopee and its ace Gene Cooney. Winsted went hitless the first four innings against Cooney.

Winsted trailed 4-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth when Fred Wallner hit a home run to left field off Cooney to tie the game 4-4. In the 10th inning, Bill Hasse doubled and moved to third on Bob Hendrickson’s ground out before Williamson doubled to bring Hasse in for the game-winning run.

Winsted defeated Belle Plaine 6-4 in the championship game as Lloyd Lundeen, a former Minneapolis West standout and Gophers pitcher, struck out 16 and allowed six hits for his second victory of the tournament. Lundeen outdueled Belle Plaine starter Charles “Lefty” Johnson, a former Minneapolis Millers pitcher. Lundeen also hit a home run and drove in three runs in the victory. 

Belle Plaine jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the second inning but Winsted got a run back in the top of the fourth before taking a 5-3 lead with a three-run fifth. In the fifth inning, Wallner and Lundeen hit back-to-back home runs to take the lead. The teams traded runs in the eighth inning. Wallner finished the tournament with three home runs.

Armand Peterson and Tom Tomashek in their book, “Town Ball: The Glory Days of Minnesota Amateur Baseball” noted that Jack O’Brien, the youngest of three O’Brien brothers with Belle Plaine, played football with St. Thomas Saturday in Wausau, Wisconsin before returning Sunday for the championship game against Winsted. Brice Panning accomplished a similar feat in 2018 with Young America. Panning caught seven passes for 143 yards for Gustavus Adolphus against Martin Luther then returned in time for a 5 p.m. game to play center field for the Cardinals in a 5-4 win over Raymond where he went 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Winsted later fell to Class AA champion Albert Lea 11-9 in the mythical state championship to finish with a 35-5 record. Winsted also finished third in 1949 and second in 1950 in the Class A state tournament. Following the 1950 season, Winsted didn’t appear in the state tournament until 2003. Winsted has made the state tournament 10 times since that 2003 appearance with the last coming in 2016.

Winsted went 12-2 in 1948 to win the North Star League by three games over Glencoe and Delano. The Warriors featured Lundeen and Wallner, both players from outside Winsted, the maximum allowed in Class A. Wallner played some games with the Minneapolis Millers. Before the start of the season, Winsted also acquired Alex Romanchuk, a St. Thomas College freshman, who played center field.

Winsted swept Glencoe in two games in the first round of the playoffs, then beat Waverly in three straight for the league championship. Winsted defeated the New Ulm Millers in a two-game sweep and Ceylon in a two-game sweep for the Region 3A title. The Herald-Journal chronicled the postseason march in a 2003 article and highlighted each player on the team.

Lundeen threw eight shutout innings to beat Worthington 8-3 in the opening round of the state tournament. Worthington featured Gophers pitcher Don Tepel and Bib Yankovich, who had thrown three consecutive no-hitters.

Belle Plaine defeated Milroy 7-0 to open its tournament and defeated Benson 7-4 in the semifinals to reach the title game. Belle Plaine made its first state tournament appearance in 1930 and added a second-place finish in 1952, losing to Cannon Falls for the championship. Following the 1952 season, Belle Plaine didn’t return to the state tournament until 1991 where it also claimed a second-place finish. Belle Plaine won its only state title in 1994.

Belle Plaine’s 1948 team featured three O’Brien boys — Gene, Jack and Bob. Gene played minor league ball in Virginia and entered the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

Albany, Lanesboro and International Falls also made the Class A tournament but both bowed out in the first round.

Shakopee boasted a powerful lineup that included legendary Gophers baseball coach Dick Siebert, Gophers first baseman/outfielder Bill Kranz, St. Cloud State catcher Vance Crosby, Gene Cooney, who helped Chaska to the 1947 state title and threw a combined no-hitter with Don Anderson in a 1-0 win over Maple Lake, former Gopher Max Mohr, Warren Stemmer, a Boston Red Sox draft pick, and former minor leaguer Rip Schroeder. Shakopee defeated Maple Lake in Region 1 to clinch a spot in the state tournament.

COMPLETE 1948 CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Play-in Round

Sunday, Sept. 12, 1948 — 3 p.m.

Shakopee 5, Lanesboro 4, 7 innings

Shakopee outfielder Warren Stemmer threw out a runner at the plate to end the game to preserve a 5-4, seven-inning win over Lanesboro. The game lasted only seven innings because officials ruled no inning could begin after 5:15 p.m. in order to start the evening session on time. Lanesboro had runners on second and third with no outs before Ernie Andrews got a strikeout and a fly ball to center field that Stemmer fired a throw to the plate to cut down the game-tying run for Shakopee, the Minnesota Valley League champion.

Shakopee 5, Lanesboro 4

Shakopee  010 310 0—5  8 2

Lanesboro 201 100 0—0 11 2

Batteries: Shakopee—Siebert, Andrews and Mohr; Lanesboro—Dresselhaus, Beaver and Erickson, Tollefson.

Shakopee (5) AB H PO A

Dressen, 2B 4 1 1 2

Shonka, SS 4 1 1 0

Kranz, LF 4 0 1 0

Mohr, C 3 1 6 2

Stemmer, CF 3 0 1 2

Cavanaugh, RF 2 1 1 0

Sherer, 1B 1 0 4 0

Schroeder, 1B 0 0 1 0

Andrews, P 2 0 0 2

Siebert, P, 1B 4 3 5 1

Theis, 3B 3 1 0 1

— — — —

Totals 30 8 21 10

Lanesboro (4) AB H PO A

Arns, Lyle, SS 4 3 1 1

Arns, LaVerne, 2B 2 1 4 0

Erickson, C, LF 4 1 4 2

Flynn, LF 3 0 0 0

Tollefson, C 0 0 0 0

Arndahl, 1B 3 1 4 0

Dresselhaus, P 3 2 0 2

Bennett, 3B 3 2 3 2

Mindrum, RF 2 0 0 0

Johnson, CF 2 0 5 1

Beaver, P 1 1 0 0

— — — —

Totals 27 11 21 8

Errors—Shonka, Siebert, LaVerne Arns, Erickson. Two base hits—Dresselhaus, Cavanaugh. Double play—Stemmer to Mohr. Base on balls—off Dresselhaus 5. Struck out—by Dresselhaus 4, Siebert 2, Andrews 3. Umpires—Radde and Jansen. Time—2:15.

First Round

Monday, Sept. 13, 1948 — 3 p.m.

Winsted 8, Worthington 3

Freddie Wallner, a Minneapolis police officer, singled, doubled and hit a home run in an 8-3 Winsted win. Lloyd Lundeen went 4-for-5 as Winsted, the North Star League champion, grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth.

Winsted 8, Worthington 3

Winsted       000 410 003—8 12 1

Worthington 000 000 003—3 5 5

Winsted (8) AB H PO A

Seymour, LF 5 0 3 0

Boller, P 0 0 0 0

Romanchuk, CF 5 1 1 0

Keating, RF 5 1 1 0

Wallner, 1B 5 3 12 1

Neuman, C 4 0 5 1

Lundeen, P, LF 5 4 2 1

Norman, SS 4 1 0 3

Williamson, 2B 4 1 2 2

Wroge, 3B 4 1 1 2

— — — —

Totals 41 12 27 10

Worthington (3) AB H PO A

Griffeth, CF 3 0 0 0

Trunk, CF 1 1 0 0

Horning, 2B 4 2 2 4

Thompson, 3B 4 0 0 5

Kuhl, SS, LF 4 0 0 5

Nutt, 1B 3 1 12 1

Stewart, C 4 0 10 1

Johnson, LF 2 0 2 0

Nessen, SS 2 0 0 1

Gerdes, RF 3 1 0 0

Tepel, P 1 0 0 1

Yankovich, P 1 0 1 1

— — — —

Totals 32 5 27 19

Errors—Norman, Horning, Kuhl 2, Nutt, Stewart. Two base hits—Keating, Wallner, Lundeen, Trunk, Horning. Three base hit—Romanchuk. Home run—Wallner. Double plays—Williamson to Wallner, Nessen to Horning to Nutt to Stewart. Base on balls—off Lundeen 1, Yankovich 4. Struck out—by Lundeen 4, Boller 2, Tepel 2, Yankovich 6. Umpires—Miller and Dunham. Time—2:05.

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1948 — 2:30 p.m.

Belle Plaine 7, Milroy 0

Belle Plaine routed Milroy behind Charles “Lefty” Johnson’s five-hit, 10-strikeout performance. Gene O’Brien hit a home run to right field in the four-run fourth while Jack O’Brien reached on an error, Bob O’Brien doubled and Jack O’Connell singled. 

Belle Plaine 7, Milroy 0

Milroy          000 000 000—0 5 1

Belle Plaine 000 431 00x—7 9 1

Milroy (0) AB H PO A

Dolan, J.A., 1B 4 0 8 0

Dolan, M., SS 3 1 0 2

Loges, RF 3 1 2 0

Kramer, LF 3 0 0 0

Wurscher, LF 1 0 0 0

Simensen, C 4 1 13 0

Dolan, L., 2B 4 0 1 1

Dolan, Joe, 3B 3 1 0 3

Zwach, CF 2 0 0 0

Donnelly, P 1 1 0 0

Uchanski, P, CF 3 0 0 0

— — — —

Totals 31 5 24 6

Belle Plaine (7) AB H PO A

Boland, SS 4 1 1 3

Westphal, RF 3 0 0 0

Wettergren, C 1 0 3 0

O’Brien, J., LF 3 1 0 0

O’Brien, B., 1B 4 1 10 0

O’Connell, 3B 4 2 0 2

O’Brien, G., C, RF 2 1 7 1

Meyer, 2B 4 0 3 5

Johnson, P 4 2 0 2

Weldron, CF 4 1 3 0

— — — —

Totals 33 9 27 13

Errors—Loges, Meyer. Two base hits—B. O’Brien, Boland, Donnelly. Home run—G. O’Brien. Base on balls—off Donnelly 3, Johnson 2. Struck out—by Uchanski 6, Donnelly 7, Johnson 10. Umpires—Leach, Thompson, Stoddard. Time—1:55.

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1948 — 6:15 p.m.

Shakopee 9, Albany 2

Bill Kranz one-hit Albany, the Grand Soo League champion, with Lou Baggenstoss reaching on an infield single in the sixth inning. Kranz also struck out 11 in the win. Doug Shonka had three hits for Shakopee and Kranz drove in three runs. Jack Dressen tripled and Allen Theis had a double.

Shakopee 9, Albany 2

Shakopee 000 130 203—9 12 5

Albany      000 100 010—2 1  1

Shakopee (9) AB H PO A

Dressen, 2B 4 2 1 2

Shonka, SS 5 3 1 2

Kranz, P 5 2 1 0

Siebert, 1B 4 0 9 0

Stemmer, CF 3 1 0 0

Mohr, C 4 1 11 1

Cavanaugh, RF 4 0 0 0

Theis, 3B 4 1 2 5

Berens, LF 4 2 2 0

— — — —

Totals 37 12 27 10

Albany (2) AB H PO A

C. Ebnet, 2B 2 0 3 5

Callahan, RF 4 0 1 0

Blenker, CF 3 0 2 0

L. Baggenstoss, 3B 4 1 0 2

Jesh, 1B 4 0 8 0

Vos, C 3 0 8 1

Koglin, LF 3 0 2 0

xL. Baggenstoss 1 0 0 0

Gasperlin, SS 2 0 3 2

xxBaumgartner 1 0 0 0

A. Ebnet, P 1 0 0 1

Stearns, P 2 0 0 1

— — — —

Totals 30 1 27 11

x—Fanned for Koglin in ninth.

xx—Hit into double play for Gasperlin in ninth.

Errors—Dressen 3, Shonka, Theis, C. Ebnet. Runs batted in—Shonka, Kranz 3, Siebert, Stemmer, Mohr, Berens. Two-base hits—Theis. Three-base hit—Dressen. Double play—Theis to Sibert. Left on bases—Shakopee 5, Albany 6. Bases on balls—Ebnet 4, Kranz 5. Strikeouts—Ebnet 3, Kranz 11, Stearns 5. Hits off—Ebnet 6 in 4 2/3, Stearns 6 in 4 1/3. Losing pitcher—Ebnet. Umpires—Divine, Mulcrone and Leach. Time—2:10.

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1948 — 6:15 p.m.

Benson 6, International Falls 1

Howie Tucker limited International Falls, the Arrowhead League champion, to five hits and he struck out 16 for Benson, the West Central League champion, in a 6-1 win. Ralph Morrison doubled and Carl Paczynski singled to give International Falls its lone run in the top of the ninth. Roy Berens had three hits for Benson, including a double and a triple. Frank Pugsley and Ronnie Tucker also doubled.

Benson 6, International Falls 1

International Falls 000 000 001—1 5 1

Benson                   022 000 02x—6 8 1

Batteries: International Falls—Vonderhaar and Paczyuski; Benson—H. Tucker and Cardinal.

International Falls (1) AB H PO A

Vold, RF 4 0 1 0

Seymour, 2B 4 0 4 1

Baker, SS 4 0 4 4

McDonald, 3B 4 0 0 1

Morrison, CF 2 1 3 0

Vonderhaar, P 4 0 0 2

Pacynski, C 4 2 2 0

Wegner, LF 4 0 1 0

Smerika, 1B 3 2 9 0

— — — —

Totals 33 5 24 8

Benson (6) AB H PO A

Hoffman, SS 3 1 0 0

Langaard, C., 1B 4 1 10 0

Tucker, H., P 4 0 0 0

Benson 0 0 0 0

Berens, 3B 4 3 0 2

Cardinal, C 3 0 16 3

Langaard, H., LF 2 0 1 0

Pugsley, RF 4 1 0 0

McCarthy, CF 3 1 0 0

Tucker, R., 2B 4 1 0 5

— — — —

Totals 31 8 27 10

Errors—Smerika, Hoffman. Two base hits—Berens, Pugsley, R. Tucker, Morrison. Three base hits—Berens. Double play—Baker to Smerika. Base on balls—off Vonderhaar 5, Tucker 2. Hit by pitcher—by Vonderhaar (C. Langaard, H. Tucker). Struck out—by Vonderhaar 1, Tucker 16. Umpires—Litfin, Snell, Bullock. Time—2:06.

Second Round

Thursday, Sept. 16, 1948 — 6:15 p.m.

Winsted 5, Shakopee 4, 10 innings

Winsted rallied from a 3-0 deficit after the fifth inning when Pat Williamson drove in Bill Haase with a single in the bottom of the 10th inning after Haase doubled. Freddie Wallner hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth to extend the game. Shakopee batters struck out 14 times.

Winsted 5, Shakopee 4

Shakopee 000 030 100 0— 4 9 1

Winsted     000 003 001 1—5 8 1

Shakopee (4) AB H PO A

Dressen, 2B 4 0 2 4

Shonka, SS 5 1 1 2

Kranz, LF 3 0 1 1

Siebert, 1B 3 1 14 1

Stemmer, CF 5 3 0 1

Mohr, C 5 2 8 0

Cavanaugh, RF 5 0 1 0

Theis, 3B 5 2 0 3

Cooney, P 4 0 1 4

— — — —

Totals 39 9 28 16

Winsted (5) AB H PO A

Williamson, 2B 4 1 3 1

Romanchuk, CF 4 1 1 0

Keating, RF 3 1 0 0

Wallner, C 3 2 14 0

Lundeen, CF 4 0 4 0

Norman, SS 4 1 1 1

Wroge, 3B 4 1 3 3

Hokeson, 1B 0 0 0 0

Haase, 1B 3 1 4 0

Boller, P 1 0 0 0

Hahn 1 0 0 0

Hendrickson, P 2 0 0 0

— — — —

Totals 33 8 30 5

Errors—Dressen, Williamson. Three base hits—Theis, Keating, Haase. Home runs—Stemmer, Wallner. Double play—Shonka to Dressen to Siebert. Base on balls—off Cooney 4, Boller 5, Hendrickson 2. Struck out—by Cooney 4, Boller 8, Hendrickson 6. Umpires—Swanson, Churchman, Koll. Time—2:37.

Friday, Sept. 17, 1948 — 3 p.m.

Belle Plaine 7, Benson 4

Bob O’Brein hit a solo home run in the seventh inning and drove in another run in the eighth inning with a triple to finish 2-for-4. Marty Donovan relieved Oje Henning in the first inning and held Benson to three hits the rest of the game while striking out seven.

Belle Plaine 7, Benson 4

Benson        210 000 001—4 5 4

Belle Plaine 302 000 11x— 7 9 3

R. Tucker, H. Tucker, Benson and Cardinal, Donolly; Henning, Donovan and Wettergreen

Benson (4) AB H PO A

Hoffman, SS 3 1 0 2

Langaard, B., 1B 5 1 7 0

Tucker, H., 2B, P 5 1 1 2

Berens, 3B 3 0 0 2

Pugsley, RF 3 0 0 0

Cardinal, C, LF 3 0 8 1

Langaard, H., LF 2 0 0 0

Donnelly, C 2 1 6 0

McCarthy, CF 3 0 0 0

Horneman 1 0 0 0

Benson, P 0 0 0 0

Tucker, R., P, 2B 4 1 2 1

— — — —

Totals 34 5 24 8

Belle Plaine (7) AB H PO A

Boland, SS 3 1 2 4

Wettergren, C 3 1 6 2

O’Brien, J., LF 4 1 1 0

O’Brien, B., 1B 4 2 12 1

O’Connell, 3B 4 1 0 1

O’Brien, G., RF 4 2 0 0

Meyer, 2B 3 1 3 4

Henning, P 0 0 0 0

Donovan, P 2 0 0 1

Weldon, CF 4 0 3 0

— — — —

Totals 31 9 27 13

Errors—Hoffman, B. Langaard, Cardinal, Donnelly, Boland 2, Meyer. Two base hit—Hoffman. Three base hits—Boland, B. O’Brien. Home run—B. O’Brien. Base on balls—off H. Tucker 4, R. Tucker 3, Benson 2, Henning 3, Donovan 3. Hit by pitcher—by R. Tucker (B. O’Brien). Struck out—by H. Tucker 9, R. Tucker 4, Donovan 7. Umpires—Maack, Manthey, Snell. Time—2:33.

Sunday, Sept. 19, 1948 — 3 p.m.

Championship

Winsted 6, Belle Plaine 4

Winsted       010 130 010—6 14 3

Belle Plaine 030 000 010—4 6 1

Winsted (6) AB H PO A

Seymour, LF 4 2 0 0

Romanchuk, CF 5 2 1 0

Keatying, RF 5 1 1 0

Wallner, C 4 1 16 0

Lundeen, P 5 3 0 1

Norman, SS 4 2 1 0

Williamson, 2B 5 0 0 3

Wroge, 3B 5 3 0 2

Hasse, 1B 4 0 8 0

— — — —

Totals 41 14 27 6

Belle Plaine (4) AB H PO A

Boland, SS 5 0 2 2

Wettergren, C 5 0 10 0

J. O’Brien, LF 5 0 4 0

D. O’Brien, 1B 3 2 4 0

O. O’Connell, 3B 4 0 1 2

G. O’Brien, RF 3 1 2 1

Meyer, 2B 4 0 3 0

Johnson, P 1 1 0 0

Pederson, P 1 0 0 0

Donovan, P 1 0 0 0

Weldon, CF 3 1 2 0

— — — —

Totals 35 6 27 5

Errors—Romanchuk, Lundeen, Norman, Boland. Runs batted in—Romanchuk, Wallner, Lundeen, Williamson, Johnson 2, G. O’Brien. Two base hits—Wroge, Weldon,. Home runs—Wallner, Lundeen, G. O’Brien. Stolen bases—G. O’Brien, Johnson. Left on bases—Winsted 12, Belle Plaine 8. Bases on balls—Lundeen 4, Johnson 1, Pederson 2, Donovan 1. Strikeouts—Johnson 6, Lundeen 16, Pederson 3, Donovan 1. Hits off—Johnson 9 in 5, Pederson 4 in 2 1/3, Donovan 1 in 1 2/3. Losing pitcher—Johnson. Attendance—7,513. Umpires—Sammon, Olson, Bullock, Radde, Snell. Time—2:10.

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