Moselle, 59, is still pitching in to help town teams
BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Not only was pitcher Randy Moselle like a coach on the field for Loretto at the State Class C amateur baseball tournament in St. Cloud starting Friday, Aug. 17, but he was also like a history book.
Moselle was recently inducted into the state Class A baseball hall of fame for his memorable moments in state tourney history. The thing is, the 59-year-old is still on the field in the news.
After his Hamel town team folded two years ago and Moselle moved from New Hope to Rogers, he was eligible to play for Loretto and long time friend and over-35 league teammate Herb Koch, the coach of the Larks.
Shoulder trouble kept Moselle out of action last season, but this year he pitched in relief for Loretto and will play at state for the 29th time. This ranks him second in state history. At one time he held the state record for playing in 27 straight state tournaments.
Loretto opened the state tournament with a 5-0 victory over Wilmont, gaining a 10-5 hit advantage. The Larks move on to face Milroy, 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 at Putz Field in St. Cloud.
The larks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when a double by Tyler Maher scored Brandon Scanlon and Eric Schutte. Another run came in the second inning when Luke Steinbach started the inning with a double and later scored.
Starting pitcher Adam McGrane worked into the sixth inning, giving up three hits and striking out six. He would get himself out of jams with strikeouts to end four innings with runners in scoring position. Eric Hanson pitched in relief, going four innings and allowing two hits with seven strikeouts.
Loretto would add another run in the seventh off a Ryan Schaust RBI single to score Kent Koch and another run in the eight on a hustle play from Brandon Scanlon, scoring from second base on an infield single from Koch.
Koch, Maher, Schaust and Josh Hanson each collected two hits. Wilmont helped by making six errors.
Other rounds would be 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at Putz Field, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2 at Putz, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2 at Putz and the title game is noon Monday, Sept. 3 at Putz Field.
Moselle also was a key starter for the Minnetonka Millers in the over 35 league. He pitched a 3-hitter in a 2-1 loss Sunday, Aug. 12 at the state tournament.
Tied to history in other ways, Moselle was in the first graduating class at Armstrong High in 1971. He played at the University of Minnesota along with Paul Molitor, who is in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. He coached the Armstrong boys soccer team to the Lake Conference title in 1976 and later coached soccer at Cooper High School.
While pitching for Class A Columbia Heights, Moselle was part of three state championship teams in 1978, 1986 and 1989. He was named Most Valuable Player in 1986 and 1989.
Moselle had one tryout with the Twins and was told he was too little at 175 pounds.
“We are glad to have Randy on our team,” said coach Koch. “He always throws strikes, keeps the ball down and has a good slider. He is one of those guys who gets in a groove and can hit his spots.”
Koch knows what Moselle can do after playing with him for many years in the Florida fall league for teams over 38 and 48. Their over 38 team was national champion in 2005.
“I was very fortunate not to have any arm trouble over the years,” said Moselle. “I kept in shape by playing sports instead of just exercising. I still play for an over 45 soccer team and with my daughter in a winter indoor league. I started playing in the over 35 baseball league when I was 41, some 17 years ago.”
One reason why Moselle switched from playing for Class A Columbia Heights to Class B Hamel was he wanted to play in front of bigger crowds, making it more exciting.
Last year was the first time Moselle had to sit out six weeks to do therapy on his arm because of arthritis. When he did get back into action and drove home after pitching a few pain free innings, “I felt like a kid again.”
Moselle has continued to pitch because he loves competing and believes he can still be effective. He once said it would be nice if he could pitch until he was 40. Now he is one year away from 60.
“Having wood bats only is another reason why I am still playing,” notes Moselle. “I can throw inside and saw off the bat at the thin handle. A metal bat could still produce a hit on the same pitch. There are also not as many home runs being hit with wood bats.”
For example, Moselle recalls one year when a teammate used a metal bat to hit eight home runs in the state tournament alone. The next year when wood bats returned, the player mustered two homers all season.