By CHRIS CHESKY
Sun Sailor Newspapers
The Hamel Hawks have been one of the most successful town baseball teams since their inception in 1926. Many players, coaches and community members have aided the Hawks in their journey to overall team success without receiving much recognition from the team.
That changed Sunday, July 12, when the Hawks honored 10 former players, coaches and community members that have helped the team by making them the first class in the Hamel Hawks Hall of Fame.
“I think it’s a really nice tribute to the people who made this ballpark something special,” Connie Fust, the treasurer for the board of directors for the Hamel Hawks, said. “Town team ball is something special in the state of Minnesota and especially here in Hamel. There’s a lot of history with this team, so we felt that as a board it was really important to recognize the individuals who made this thing start, made it happen and have kept it alive for all these years.”
Ben Osier, Paul Fortin, Ron Fortin, Dorothy Fortin, Donny Deslauries, Dolly Deslauries, Laurel Flemming, JoAnn Flemming, Howie Schaber and Gordy Schmidt were chosen to represent the Hamel Hawks in their first Hall of Fame class.
“We’re honoring people who have had a long standing relationship supporting hamel baseball,” Joseph O’Brien, the president of the board of directors for the Hamel Hawks, said. “It’s important for us as an organization to establish ties to the community.”
The idea for a Hamel Hawks Hall of Fame was first discussed a couple years ago, but plans were not made until earlier this year, when Hawks Assistant Coach Greg DeVos brought the idea back up to the board.
“It’s probably something that should have been done 10 to 15 years ago,” Hamel Hawks Head Coach Tim Flemming said. “The whole town of Hamel supports what we’re doing. I think it’s a good thing.”
Flemming has been with the team for the past 37 years and has seen many players come and go during his tenure as coach. The team he assembled this season has been playing very well and has been consistent both offensively and defensively.
The Hawks got off to a slow start during their hall of fame game, falling behind 3-0 after the first inning, but they scored 13 unanswered runs to defeat the Albertville Villains 13-3 in eight innings.
Robert Dworsky settled down after a rocky first inning to pitch seven innings and struck out seven Albertville batters.
“It’s pretty special for Greg and Tim,” Dworsky said of winning the team’s inaugural hall of fame game. “I’m glad we could get the win for them. It’s pretty cool for Hamel.”
Offensively, Willie Fust went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and 3 RBIs total to help lead the offense past Albertville. Brandon Smith also starred for the Hawks, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
“I’m just trying to help my team win,” Fust said. “I got that broken bat hit to fall and that’s baseball. It feels good [to perform well], but winning is all that matters.”
Hamel improved their season record to 12-7.
Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports