by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
A walk-off homer by red-hot Lance Dalbey capped off a wild championship game as Tootsie’s Tavern Orange of Big Lake outlasted Shooters 21-20 for the playoff title in Elk River’s Monday Men’s League.
Tootsie’s, coming through the losers bracket, beat Christian/HercU/Xtreme 20-5 in the lower semifinals, then toppled Shooters 13-3 to force a second game. Shooters had beaten Christian/HercU/Xtreme 18-8 in the upper semifinals earlier.
Needing one more win, Tootsie’s roared to a 13-3 lead, keeping their momentum going, before Shooters battled back to knot the score 14-14. Brandon Lueck’s three-run homer highlighted a big inning by Shooters. Dalbey doubled home a run for Tootsie’s in the sixth to regain the lead.
Shooters scored six in the top of the seventh for a 20-15 edge. Their lead would have been much larger but a three-run homer was turned into an out because they already had a 3-2 edge in homers. Tootsie’s stormed back with five runs, the last two driven home by Mason Loegering’s triple with two outs, tying the score. Then they blanked Shooters in the eighth.
Dalbey, who is Zimmerman’s girls basketball coach, ripped his second homer of the game, a no-doubter to dead center field, ending the game. The infielder swung a hot bat all three games with about a dozen hits and only one or two outs.
Tootsie’s, repeating as playoff champion, tied for fourth among 15 teams in the regular season with a 13-7 record. The other Tootsie’s team, Heroes, was regular-season champion at 17-3, followed by Shooters with 16-4 and Christian/HercU/Xtreme with 15-5.
Ron Brown was the pitcher for Tootsie’s with Scott Sanford catching. Infielders were Lance Valaria, Jeremy Hawthorne, Dalbey, Henry Brown, Adam Miller and Dustin Sprague. Outfielders were Aaron Bring, Michah Loegering, Matt Loegering and Mason Loegering. Other team members are James Sanford (manager) and Jesse Jarvie.
Runner-up Shooters had Norm Johnson pitching and Curt Youngquist catching. Infielders were Andy Klennert (captain), Brian Hockmeyer, Dan Carlson, Jared Nierengarten, John Kelash and Andy Nelson. Outfielders were Brandon Lueck, Geremi Kruger, and Adam Igoe. Other members are Tim Nelson and Mike Weyer.