August 6, 2014

The talented team that could


The year was 1948; the scene was Jamestown; the team was McClusky. The players, fourteen plus the team manager, fought their way to the North Dakota Amateur Baseball Tournament team title.

Along the way, five North Dakota teams were defeated in definitive victories under the combination of speed, pitching skills and base hits. Leonard fell 4-3; Robinson, 2-1; Oakes, 5-2; Mandan Trainers, 5-2; and Bismarck Legionnaires, 4-3. Oswald pitched in the two final games.

The men, with two borrowed from neighboring teams in Garrison and Wilton were Eddie Oswald, Jim Stephens, Bob Grein, Emil Neuharth, Kermit Kludt, Al Hepper, Church Stone, Harold Hepper, Bob Simons, Leo Froehlich, Henry Kiesz, Herb Neuharth, and Doug Boling. Team manager was Willis Britton.

On a July Saturday in 2014, Earl Heitzmann gathered the two remaining McClusky members of the team, Herb Neuharth and Harold Hepper, to record the history of the remarkable team of hard-working men who took five years of baseball and won a place in the national amateur baseball competition in Battle Creek, Michigan. Also on hand for his interview were Jerry Kluck and Russell Wahl, 1958 graduates of McClusky High School and well known high school athletes. Also present was McClusky Gazette Editor, to record the event for the newspaper readers.

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