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Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Tie game kicks off 1959 season

By Robb Hemmelgarn
Talk about a bummer of a way to kick off the baseball season.
After waiting nearly a year since the final pitch in 1958, the 1959 season finally opened this week for the St. Henry Redskins and Celina Bulldogs at Mercelina Park in Celina.
The initial start date was booted back a few extra days to accommodate Mother Nature's wrath, and when it finally commenced, the teams battled for four hours before ending in a tie. Celina lefty Bruce VanTilburg opened the season on the mound for the Bulldogs, as he squared off against St. Henry hurler Linus Hartings.
The Redskins took early advantage of VanTilburg's wild arm, as they jumped in front 2-0 through two innings of action. The Bulldogs managed to score their first run in the bottom of the third and tied things up at two runs in the fourth inning before pulling ahead with two more scores in the fifth inning.
St. Henry answered with two runs in the sixth to knot the game at four, but prior to the start of the seventh inning, coaches Dick Volk and Joe Zigovits agreed to call it a draw.
• This week in 1984, the area opened up Midwest Athletic Conference baseball action, with the favored teams of the season all nabbing victories. The Coldwater Cavaliers, Parkway Panthers, and St. Henry Redskins were all victorious on the afternoon, while the Marion Local Flyers, Minster Wildcats, Mendon-Union Pirates, and Celina Bulldogs all slipped. Left-hander Mike Wolters helped the Cavaliers move to 5-0 on the year as he held Marion Local scoreless in his team's 8-0 win. In Minster, Parkway's Kerry Roehm slammed three base hits as the Panthers downed Minster 9-3 for their third straight win. At Mendon, St. Henry picked up their first win of the young season with 12-hit, 25-0 shutout over the Pirates, while Celina suffered their first loss in four games after falling to the Elida Bulldogs by a final of 10-3.
• Ten years ago this week, the executive board of the Midwest Athletic Conference, consisting of commissioner Phil Schumann and each of the schools athletic directors and administrators, met to discuss to possibilities of the league expanding by two teams. Sidney Lehman and Lima Central Catholic each made inquiries in February requesting possible admission into the conference, but the issue was tabled indefinitely after those in attendance decided that they were not going to support any additions at this time. Within the next two years, the issue resurfaced and the entry of the Versailles Tigers was approved for all sports, while Sidney Lehman and Lima Central Catholic were once again denied.
If anyone has any story ideas for thePassport to History series, please contact Robb Hemmelgarn at
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