Fab four: Cubs Logan Huisman, Tyler Linder, Easton Sauerbrei and Eli Gaul are friends for all time
Athletics, and more, has held four Worthington Cubs' friendships together since they were little
WORTHINGTON -- Struggles are routine for the Worthington Cubs amateur baseball team in 2022, but four childhood buddies form the nucleus of a summer team that they believe is bound for better days.
“We’re hopeful. We know the tide’s gonna turn, and it’s going to go our way,” said Eli Gaul Sunday afternoon after a 15-1 loss in Worthington to the Jackson Bulls.
The game was reasonably close for eight innings, and it wasn’t until the Bulls scored 10 ninth inning runs that the contest turned into a rout. Eli’s younger brother Tate pitched five scoreless innings.
Fortunately for friends Logan Huisman, Tyler Linder, Easton Sauerbrei and Eli, losing doesn’t dampen their love of the game. They’ve been close friends throughout their lives, and the amount of time they’ve spent together in sports and outside of sports is striking.
“Me and Eli went to daycare together, And so we became best friends right there. Our parents became best friends, too,” said Logan.
“When we were babies, he peed on me in the crib,” Eli said.
Easton and Eli were born in 1998. Tyler and Logan were born in 1999. Today, Tyler and Eli are roommates at Minnesota State-Mankato. Before that, Tyler roomed with Easton for a year at the same school. They have played baseball together since their YMCA years.
There seems to be as many stories about Huisman, Linder, Sauerbrei and Gaul as there are sports they played together while growing up in Worthington. Easton’s dad, Stacy, coached them in baseball at Worthington High School. Eli and Tate’s dad, Tim, coached them in American Legion ball.
Stacy was a demanding coach. Once, he spoke to his son while Easton was in a very tough spot on the pitcher’s mound.
“I told him, ‘Your mother’s love is unconditional, but mine is dependent on you getting this next guy out,” Stacy recalled, grinning.
Unfortunately, Easton walked the hitter.
But as Stacy remembers the story, an umpire overheard the conversation, put his arm around Easton, and said to him, “I’m sure your dad loves you, too.”
Today, stories like these evoke smiles.
The four friends’ love of sports remains as strong and deep as it ever was. Tim is almost in awe of the way all four of them have aided Worthington baseball on and off the field.
“These four guys are the kind of kids that you’d want -- all of them -- to have your kids be friends with,” he said. “They’re just good guys, and they all like sports. They don’t just like sports, they love it. And they like to give each other a hard time. But if they see somebody outside their group doing that, they’re gonna stand right behind him. They’re gonna stand by each other.”
It’s kind of a family thing.
“Our whole families would hang out together outside of sports. It literally became one big family,” testified Logan. “Tim’s house was where we hung out all the time. Just whatever we did, it was a competition between the four of us. (The Gauls) would make us meals all the time. It got like when we came over to the house, they had food ready for us. We’d help ourselves out. We went right to the fridge.”
Though Tim said the group cost him a lot on food bills, it was worth it. Having them all together was worth it all.
The four buddies were also excellent help in the baseball programs, always willing to work. Stacy used to operate a Sunday clinic for younger kids, and Logan, Tyler, Easton and Eli always volunteered their services.
“I could always count on those four guys to be there to help,” Stacy said. “Sometimes we had to work the concession stand, and they’d help. They’d get the diamonds ready, and when we needed an ump, they’d get in there. Literally, the program ran on those four guys for years, and nobody really knew about it.”
Once they graduated from daycare, it was sports that kept them together. They love playing amateur ball because it’s the one sport, at their age, that allows their friendship to flourish unchanged.
But it’s more than that, said Eli.
“Really, it’s just the chemistry of friends. We always wanted to be together,” he said.