In 1984, Windom won its first state baseball crown
EDITOR’S NOTE: In June of 1984, the Windom Eagles high school baseball team won its first-ever Minnesota state Class A championship, shutting out Winona Cotter 2-0 in the title game in St. Cloud (the Eagles also won the 1985 state crown). While spring sports remain on hold, The Globe is reprinting selected articles from great sports moments of the past. Today’s story (condensed), which appeared in the June 18, 1984, issue of the Daily Globe, celebrates the Eagles’ 1984 title.
BY DOUG WOLTER
ST. CLOUD -- Joel Frederickson singled home the winning run in the sixth inning and Timm Gronseth pitched a four-hit shutout Saturday as the Windom Eagles captured a first-ever state Class A baseball championship.
The Eagles (21-3), who placed second in last year’s state tournament, used such timely hitting and gutsy mound efforts to sweep past three opponents en route to the 1984 title, their first state championship in any major high school sport. After beating Roseau 7-2 in a rain-delayed opener Thursday, they moved to Saturday morning in the semifinals where three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning tipped Springfield 6-5.
Frederickson’s two-out single between the shortstop and third baseman in the bottom of the sixth inning went through the leftfielder’s legs, causing a second run to score in the championship game against Winona Cotter. That was more than Windom needed for Gronseth, who got the Ramblers out in the seventh for a 2-0 victory.
Winona Cotter’s Mike Troke pitched a fine game, allowing the offensive-minded Eagles just five hits overall. But in the sixth he put runners on first and third for Frederickson, who bounced a hard liner onto the outfield grass.
“I hit a fastball,” said the sturdy catcher, who will be a senior next fall. Frederickson indicated that he was looking for a fastball -- a self-described fastball hitter, he jumped all over the pitch.
“We haven’t been hitting a lot of curves -- the off-speed pitches,” he admitted, referring to a team “slump” in the tournament, where the Eagles managed but 13 hits in three games. But the Windomites are well-schooled in taking advantage of situations, and they took advantage of enough of them to win a state championship.
What was Frederickson thinking when he stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning?
“A lot of prayer,” he said.
Saturday afternoon’s win felt pretty good to Gronseth, who was the losing pitcher last year in the finale against Staples where the Eagles stranded 15 runners in a 7-5 loss.
“Pretty awesome,” the big righthander described the feeling. “Feels a little sweeter on the other side.
“I’ve been waiting for the championship game to prove a point. Last year we had one bad inning or we would have won it,” he said.
Coach Dean Jaacks praised his ace pitcher -- and the entire team. “Timm was superb,” he said, adding, “I give a lot of credit to these kids. They play with a lot of heart. You take a lot of average ballplayers -- they’re good players because they play with a lot of heart.”
Windom had to dig deep for something extra against Springfield, which took a 5-3 lead into the seventh inning with ace pitcher Chuck Stifter on the mound. Stifter, who struck out 15 batters in the Tigers’ 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Hermantown, struck out five Eagles since coming on in the fourth inning in relief of Rod Saffert. But seventh inning wildness got him in trouble and the winning run scored on a wild throw past third base into leftfield.