Winsted advance to state, again
The Winsted Wildcats are beginning to make going to the state baseball tournament a habit.
For the seventh time in the past 12 years, the Wildcats played in the state tournament in 2012.
During the regular season in 2012, Winsted finished second in the Crow River Valley League North Division with a 13-7 record, behind league-leading Waconia, which finished 17-3. Overall, the Wildcats finished the season with a 23-15 record.
Winsted swept past Mayer in the CRVL playoffs to advance to the Region 7C tournament, which took place in Young America.
At regions, the Wildcats finished third to punch their ticket to the Class C state tournament in St. Cloud.
At state, the Wildcats won its opening two games, beating Jackson 8-5, and followed that up with a 3-2 win over Roseau.
The season came to an end in the sweet 16 for Winsted, as they were knocked out of state by Sobieski, which topped the Wildcats 4-0.
The Wildcats were led in 2012 by Tony Kley, who was named the CRVL pitcher of the year. Over the course of the CRVL season, Kley was 6-2 with a 0.84 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched.
It was also a big year for the Wildcats for another reason, as long-time Wildcat Dennis “Soup” Campbell was inducted into the Minnesota Amatuer Baseball Hall of Fame this fall.
Soup becomes the fourth hall of famer from Winsted, joining his late father Denis. M. Campbell, the late Ken Norman, and Fran Kappel.
Winsted is managed by Aaron Schultz, who has either managed or co-managed since 2006.
While Winsted has enjoyed a multitude of success this past decade with seven state tournament appearances, they have been unable to win a state championship.
That is something a team of the past has done. Back in 1948, the Wildcats were state champions, and followed that title season with state appearances in 1949 and 1950.
Amateur baseball in Winsted traces its beginnings back to 1935. Then, Winsted was a member of the Dairy Belt League, which also included Lester Prairie, Lake Marion, Hamburg, and Plato.
According to past player and longtime Winsted manager Francis Kappel, a long time ago, in 1947, a contest took place to select a name for the Winsted baseball club. The winning name was “Warriors.”
In those days, Winsted also had a second “class B” team, known as Specs’ Wildcats. That team was organized and run by Jerome “Specs” Campbell.
For a few years, in the early 1950s, Winsted did not have an organized ball club, due to the fact so many men were in the military. At about that same time, Specs’ team folded. When organized ball came back to Winsted in the mid 1950s, the Warriors’ name was changed to the Wildcats.
At that time, Winsted was in the Wright Star League. In 1972, Winsted joined the Crow River Valley League.
Winsted plays their home games at Denis M. Campbell Field in Winsted, with the 2011 season opening up in early May.
Over the years, Winsted has had three players, Francis Kappel, Ken Norman, and Denis M. Campbell (the Winsted baseball field’s namesake) inducted into the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
For more information on the Winsted Wildcats, go to its website at www.herald-journal.com/sports/baseball/crvl/winsted/wildcats.html, or call manager Aaron Schultz (320) 282-6514.