Still swinging

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 30, 2001

Joe Carlin got kind of a funny look on his face when asked if he’d be willing to switch teams, but he quickly agreed.

Monday, July 30, 2001

Joe Carlin got kind of a funny look on his face when asked if he’d be willing to switch teams, but he quickly agreed. It was a good choice. He wound on the winning side.

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Carlin played for the Country Boys, who defeated the City Slickers 9-6 in the 35th Annual Freeborn County Fast-Pitch Softball Old-Timers Game at J.M. Snyder Fields Saturday night.

Carlin, 77, is one of only three men to appear in every Old-Timers Game. But he always played for the town team, which rarely beat its country counterpart throughout the past decade.

&uot;Dave (Gilbertson) said, ‘Will you play with these guys?’ said Carlin. &uot;I said, ‘What the heck.’ I was on the winning team. How about that? Put that in headlines, will ya?&uot;

Carlin, batting leadoff and playing second base as usual, reached base four times and scored a run.

The other two players to appear in every Old-Timers Game – 82-year-old John Thorson and 68-year-old Virg Ryan – played for the Slickers.

Though he still likes to win, Ryan resolved to come away from this year’s game injury-free.

&uot;I pulled a hamstring last year,&uot; said Ryan. &uot;I hit a Gopher hole in Conger. I’m taking it easier this year. There’s a golf tournament this weekend. That’s more important now.&uot;

When asked why they keep showing up every year, Ryan said, &uot;We still think we can play.&uot;

Some of them still can.

Players who got on base or scored runs for the Country Boys included Carlin, Larry Zevenbergen, Marlowe Wangen, Pete Louters, Gus Courrier, Lowell Doppelhammer, Curt Pritchard, Orville Goskeson, Daryl Paulsen, Barry Hoffman, Bud Varner, Gary Nelson and Al Batt. The team’s only other player, Rex Stotts, injured his arm while attempting to make a diving catch in the outfield and was taken to the hospital for x-rays.

Dick &uot;Cannonball&uot; Nelson and Bobby Hanson both scored a pair of runs for the City Slickers. Ron Bergstrom and Bill Schallock both singled and scored.

Schallock’s son, Al, batted behind him in the order. Along with Bill’s father, Ed, a 1968 hall of fame inductee, the Schallocks are the only family with three generations enshrined in the local hall.

The rest of the City team included Tim Elmer, Gilbertson, Ryan, Al Pedersen, Jack Woodside, Tom Guiney, Thorson and Lenny Stanek.

Aside from Stotts’ near-catch in the outfield, there were several other exciting moments.

One was when Wangen slid under Gilbertson’s tag at the plate to score a run in the first inning.

In the fifth, Nelson surprised the hard-throwing Courrier in his first inning of relief with a line drive, leadoff single.

Three batters later Bergstrom stepped to the plate, rekindling memories of many on-field encounters through the years.

Bergstrom didn’t get a chance to swing the bat. Courrier plunked him on the shoulder with the first pitch, then quickly apologized as the two shook hands.

&uot;He always had that rise ball, and I was able to lean into it,&uot; said Bergstrom. &uot;He’s still a competitor.&uot;

Obviously, he’s not the only one.