1958 Little League South State Champions
It was a memorable year for the city of Elyria in 1958. The city celebrated its 125th anniversary during the summer of 1958 and South Little League capped off the celebration with the city’s first state little league championship. Manager Don Holzhauer and Coach Frank Woods assembled the all-stars from the Majors division (11 and 12 year olds) at Little League South. At that time, South’s home was known as Troxel Field, built behind the Troxel Company, a bicycle seat manufacturing plant on Oberlin Road.
Members of the team included Tim Orvis. Jim Lepkowski, Greg Young, Frank Finch, Joe Zaleski, Bill Ignatz, Craig Crozier, Houston Young, Ron Zidek, Dave Dicken, Ken Lengel, Denny Kaminski, Rich Pichola, Steve Perkins, Eddie Woods and Dennis Crozier. On July 23rd,
South opened its tournament run with a 10-0 shutout of North Elyria. Zidek, the rightfielder, clobbered a pair of home runs and knocked in four. Dennis Crozier threw a 5-hit shutout at North with his battery mate and cousin Craig getting three hits and scoring three runs. Lepkowski, the lead-off third baseman, drove in three runs. Lengel followed up Crozier’s shut-out by pitching a four-hit, 8-0, whitewash of Medina. Lengel helped his own cause with two hits and two RBI. Woods had three hits, Young and Zidek two each. Zidek was credited with throwing out two would-be scorers from right field to help preserve the shut-out.
South then eliminated West, 8-3, at Lappin Field behind the old General Motors plant. South scored three runs in both the third and fourth innings to open a 7-0 lead. Pichola and Woods each had a pair of hits. Lengel drove in two. South then shut-out Painesville, 11-0, on a two-hitter by Dennis Crozier in what was called a sub-state game at Lappin Field. Lengel was three for four at the plate with Pichola and Dennis Crozier hitting homers.
In the next game, Lengel struck out 13 and fired a one-hitter as South defeated Austintown, 6-1, at Campbell, Ohio. Young had three hits, Woods two to pace South’s 11-hit attack. South advanced to the state title game with a 9-5 victory over host Massillon on August 4th. Elyria built an 8-0 lead at one point behind back-to-back home runs by Zidek and Dicken. Zidek had three hits in the game. Young, Lengel, Craig Crozier, and Dicken each had a pair.
South then won the city’s first state championship with a 2-0 win over Ashland at Galion in front of an estimated crowd of over 2,500 fans. South scored single runs in the third and fourth innings. Lengel, an 11-year old, struck out seven and walked four in winning his fourth tournament game. He allowed just two hits. Young’s double to right-center scored Pichola with South’s first run. Dicken scored the other run. He walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and a single by Dennis Crozier advanced him to third. He then scored with some alert base running on a ground ball by Lepkowski. South outscored its opposition, 66-9, during its championship run.
South lost its bid to advance to the World Series with a heartbreaking 6-5 loss in 12 innings to Birmingham, Michigan in a game that took two days to complete.