A Step Back In Time: Root and Lunz lead Mankato Players Lounge to Winona softball title

Written by Bob on February 13th, 2017

Winona Daily News
June 28, 1971

WINONA, Minn. – Players Lounge jumped on a faltering Carl Aegler for four home runs and coasted to a 9-1 triumph over Club Midway of Fountain City in Sunday’s title game of the 1971 Winona Invitational Softball Tournament.

Aegler, starting his fifth game in sweltering heat, was greeted by Mankato’s Gary Lunz, who belted a homer deep over the left-field fence in the first inning. Then after a single by Les Dittrich, Jerry Flanagan clouted another round-tripper over the deepest part of the centerfield to make it 3-0.

DALE ROOT, picked up the win after earlier shutting out Ronnie’s Bar of Ettrick, Wisc., 5-0, in the quarterfinals earlier in the afternoon. He apparently was at full strength throughout the championship tilt.

He allowed just two hits – a single by Tom Precious and a homer from Don Hazleton, who spoiled Root’s bid for a shutout with his line-drive blast in the sixth.

Root, who notched his 15th victory in 20 decisions this season, walked only two and struck out 13.

Players Lounge now owns a 36-6 record and its other underhand artist, Randy Walker, is 21-1.

BOB PRANGE blasted a three-run homer in the third on an 0-2 count giving Mankato a 6-0 bulge. Lunz closed out Mankato’s scoring by belting his second homer of the game in the fifth.

Players Lounge defeated Ronnie’s Bar and Bob’s Bar of Prairie du Chien 8-2 to reach the finals. The winning team received a trophy and $200, and Club Midway was presented with the runner-up trophy and $150.

PLAYERS LOUNGE pounded out 11 hits, led by Lunz, 3-for-3, Dittrich, 2-4, Flanagan, 2-4, Root, 2-4, and Prange and Meyer with one hit each. Root allowed the two hits with 13 strikeouts and two walks, while Aegler allowed 11 hits, 8 earned runs and one walk and a strikeout.

DALE ROOT went on to establish himself as one of Minnesota’s and the Midwest’s all-time best fastpitch pitchers, and was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame in 1996.

6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Gary Baughman says:

    Dale Root pitched in Cedar Rapids. in the 60’s. Used to pitch against ISC HOF Jerry Ralfs.in the Major Open League.

  2. Gary Baughman says:

    Dale Root was a school teacher in the winter and worked construction in the summer of 1967. I worked with him.

  3. Kevin kammuellet says:

    Randy Walker still pitches in the St Paul leagues. I remember facing him many times when i first started pitching. Threw many years for Mancinis and was always tough.

  4. Bob says:

    Randy and I went to college at Mankato State, and the school had a seven-team intramural fastpitch league with Randy, Craig Brown, myself, the Cummings brothers, Dave and Dan, and a couple of throwers from Iowa. And when Root was going to MSU, he pitched in that league. It was a pretty tough league. Randy had an easy motion with great mechanics. His rise ball was one of the better ones that I saw back in those days.

  5. Bob says:

    Rooter was good, no doubt. One of the all-time best in Minnesota history. Beat some good teams in the nationals.

  6. Bob says:

    I met Jerry at last year’s ISC WT. What a great guy. He was standing in the outfield while I was taking pictures and we struck up a conversation. I didn’t ask him his name until we were about to wrap up our talk. A very humble man and he didn’t want to make himself out to be as great as he was when I started asking him questions for a story that I ended up writing about him.

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