With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Steve Hilby bashed a long homerun to centerfield, clinching an exciting 18-16 win for the Century 21 Real Estate Rustlers.
Here’s how we arrived at that championship moment. The three-day double elimination tournament began with the Rustlers, managed by Mike Gloyd and sponsored by the Jim Leckner Agency, losing a heartbreaker, 18-17, to the upstart Farmers Insurance squad. The Farmers had finished last in the Sun Division Spring League, but surprised the top-seeded Rustlers in the opener. The Farmers were managed by Doug Friesen and sponsored by the Frank Margiotta Agency. Dan Melosi and Kelly Anderson led the Farmers’ well-balanced attack with four hits each. Melosi almost hit for the cycle, banging out a double, triple and homer and reaching base on an error. Steve Hilby was five for five with a double and homerun for the Rustlers.
In game two, the State Farm Insurance team, managed by Ron Carmichael and sponsored by the Ralph Vasquez Agency, trounced Manager Ken Brenden’s Financial Planners 20-7. Reyes Gonzales led the way for the Insurers with four hits, including two long balls. Dean Messier and Chuck Hamby also had four hits each. Don Scoggins paced the Brenden squad with three hits. The Insurers out-hit the Planners 29-13 to dominate the game.
On day two, the Rustlers eliminated Brenden Financial with a hard-fought 15-12 win. The Planners made a close game of it by tallying six runs in their final at bat, but came up three runs short. Paul Gayer and Larry Kaufmann led the way for the Rustlers with three hits apiece, while Tom Schneider had four hits for the losing team. The Farmers then beat the State Farm Insurers 21-17 in the nightcap. Rick Oien had five base knocks for the winners, with Dan Melosi and Tom Chilton adding three each. Reyes Gonzales and Randy Neumann had four safeties each for the Insurers.
The Rustlers then sent the Insurers home by eking out a 12-11 triumph, with Paul Gayer and Larry Kaufmann again pacing the Rustlers’ attack with three hits each. Chuck Schaan and Kelly Anderson had three hits each for the vanquished Insurers. That led us to the championship game, a rematch between the parvenu Farmers and the regular season champion Rustlers. The Farmers made a real game of it but, as was stated in the first paragraph, were outdone by Mr. Hilby’s climatic homerun. The Farmers slowly faded into the “cornfield” that is the Field of Dreams, as the Rustlers mobbed “Homerun” Hilby in celebration! …A great climax to a great season and tournament.