Proctor Rails

Recap for the 04/29/1981 game @ Grand Rapids

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Grand Rapids 3, Proctor Rails 0

Rapids' Tollett tosses Proctor a 3-0 defeat

By MARK STODGHILL of the News-Tribune staff

GRAND RAPIDS -- Jim Tollett doesn't know the medical term for what ails him.

"It's some long word. It has something to do with loose cartilage in my left knee. All I know is that it pops when I run," the Grand Rapids High School baseball pitcher said.

Tollett has a bum knee, but Wednesday afternoon at American Legion field here he showed there is nothing wrong with the hinge hanging from his right shoulder.

It was well-oiled.

The 6-foot, 170-pound senior tossed a masterful two-hit shutout and struck out 10 batters in leading...[Rapids] to a 3-0 victory over Proctor in a battle of regional Class AA powers.

Ron Renner, Grand Rapids' Boy For All Seasons (a frontliner in football, hockey and baseball), provided most of...[Rapids]' offense with two RBI and two of their four hits off Proctor starter Bill Richardson, who also pitched impressively.

He used a sharp-breaking curve ball and a mitt-popping fast ball to keep the Rail batters off balance most of the game. Shortstop Scott Pionk was the only Proctor player able to get a loud hit off Tollett.

Pionk solidly pinged a one-out single to left to break up Tollett's no-hit bid with one out in the fourth. Matt Downs had the only other Rail hit when he picked a high breaking ball, that didn't break, out of his eyes and went the opposite way with it for a one-out single to left in the sixth.

"He (Tollett) pitched very well," Proctor Coach Richard Petersson said. "It wasn't just the curve ball that killed us. He was quick. He threw the ball by us. I can't remember anyone pulling him."

...Renner didn't pull Proctor's Richardson either, but his two hits got the job done. Both came with two outs and both scored Jeff Skelly, who walked in the second and fourth innings.

In the second, the right-handed batting Renner picked on Richardson's first pitch and stroked it into right-center for a single to send Skelly, who had stolen second base, home.

In the fourth inning, Skelly came all the way around when Renner again went after Richardson's first offering and drove it up the right-center field alley for a 2-0 Grand Rapids lead.

"No, I wasn't guessing on the first pitches," Renner said. "The coach tells us not to do that. We're supposed to watch the pitch as it comes in. Both times they were fastballs in the same spot. That's what I like about batting seventh (in the order). The pitchers think you aren't too good a hitter. They just throw the ball over the plate and give you pitches that you can hit."

Tollett offered the same challenge to the Proctor batters. He walked only three batters and was around the plate most of the chilly afternoon.

His only trouble seemed to be keeping his balance on his follow thrrough after releasing a pitch. He was unable to bend his left knee when landing on his left foot after throwing.

"I hurt it way back in seventh grade, but it didn't start bothering me too much until American Legion ball last summer," Tollett said. "I hurt it again a little last weekend at St. Cloud. I thought about getting it operated on, but I wanted to wait until after this season. It didn't really bother me that much today until the later innings. Then it made me throw high."

Proctor put two men on in each of the fifth and sixth innings on a walk, hit batsman, an error and single, but Tollett got out of both jams.

With runners on first and second and two out in the fifth, Rapids Coach Bob Streetar gave...catcher Tim Graupmann a flick of the wrist. Graupmann flashed the curve signal to Tollett and he struck out [Jim Strongitharm] with a big bender.

"I guess we better get a new sign. That one is a little obvious," Streetar deadpanned.

The Rails threatened again with two on and only one out in the sixth. Dan Norton then lofted a short fly to right. Grand Rapids second baseman Bob Streetar, the coach's son, turned and looked for rightfielder Rian Reed to make the catch. But Reed got a slow start on the ball. At the last second, Streetar plucked out his glove to make the catch with his back to the basket.

"Call that good coaching," said Streetar, the coach, with tongue stuck firmly in cheek. Actually, Ma Streetar had about as much to do with young Bob being in position to make the catch as Pa. Both runners had to go back and Tollett got out of the inning with another strikeout.

(Duluth News Tribune, April 30, 1981)