by Max Mercy
Ten Years Ago: 2004 Back-to-Back-to-Back HR's Lift Rails to Victory
On June 2, 2004, one of the most spectacular offensive displays in school history occurred in the first inning of a first-round game of the Section 7AA Playoffs, an 11-7 victory over Eveleth-Gilbert at Virginia. In three straight at bats, senior Jake Comnick hit a two-run blast, and sophomore Dan Solarz and senior Ryan Vanderscheuren followed with solo shots. The feat ranks tied for third in statewide team records for consecutive home runs, and tied for sixth for home runs in an inning. The win was Proctor's first in the post-season since 1995. Proctor was eliminated in a 5-2 loss to Hermantown at Hinckley the following day. Hermantown went on to win its fourth out of five consecutive Section 7AA titles.
Thirty Years Ago: 1984 Section 7AA Runners-Up
With a bye in the first round, Proctor needed just one win to gain the sub-Region 2 championship, but it did not come easy. Lee Stephenson scored on an error in the eighth inning as Proctor defeated Duluth Central, 4-3, at home on May 30. Steve Makitalo earned the win, Proctor's sixth sub-region championship in nine years. The Rails faced Duluth Denfeld-Morgan Park in the Region 7AA semifinals on June 5 at Grand Rapids, and won, 7-4. Chris Frank hit a two-run home run and Todd Johnson hit a three-run homer to spark the Rails' offense. Ray Sandstrom earned the save by retiring the two batters he faced to quash the Hunters' rally against winning pitcher Makitalo in the seventh. The Region 7AA championship pitted Proctor against seven-time defending champion Grand Rapids at Grand Rapids on June 7, and it was no contest. Grand Rapids, behind the pitching of Mark Sonaglia, earned its eighth consecutive trip to the state tournament with a 10-0 win. Sonaglia, who pitched a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 1-0 semifinals win over North Branch, again allowed no hits with 11 strikeouts through five innings before being replaced by current Grand Raipds head coach Bill Kinnunen (who served as an assistant coach at Proctor in 1990). Marty Running got Proctor's lone hit, a single in the sixth inning. Sandstrom was the losing pitcher. Grand Rapids posted a 21-1 record en route to winning the state Class AA championship.