Front Row (L to R): Jerry Latherow, Larry Wherley, Mike Prina, Tony Fritzel, Sam Chaney, Gary Bultemeir,
Mike Voyles & Rick Nelson.
Back Row (L to R): Head Coach Bill Tuttle, Bill Ferrill, Don Avery, Gale Murk, Richard Shriber, Marty Morse,
Bill Swanson & Greg Yocum.
In 1970, the first four scheduled Carl Sandburg College baseball games in the College's history were losses, but the losses do not actually show up in the loss column. Six inches of snow fell in the area and the games, double-headers, Saturday, April 4, 1970 versus Black Hawk and Tuesday, April 7, 1970 versus Spoon River were lost due to the weather.
The '70 Chargers baseball team, coached by former Major Leaguer, William Robert Tuttle, received their first losses that counted on Friday, April 10, 1970.
Sandburg's Mike Voyles hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning in the first game, but it was not enough. Sandburg had seven errors and after having an early 1-0 lead ended up losing 10-7. Donald "Butch" Avery was the starting pitcher for Sandburg and was credited with the loss.
In the second game, Sandburg and their opponent, Lincoln College, agreed to use the ten run rule and Sandburg lost 14-0 in five innings. Tony Fritzel had the only Charger hit, but ended up getting picked off while he was on first base. Rick Nelson was the starting pitcher for Sandburg and was credited with the loss.
After the first two loses, the Chargers thought they had figured out a way to win. On Wednesday, April 15, 1970, they piled into the 1960 Lincoln limousine, which was loaned to the College for road trips and headed to Canton, Ill. to play a double-header against Spoon River. Sandburg lost 1-0 in 10 innings in the first game and 11-8 in seven innings in the second. After their games in Canton, the Chargers went on to win six games and lose three and qualified for the season ending tournament.
"That was fun," Fritzel said.
All the games were memorable for the members of the '70 Chargers baseball team even though they did not always turn out the way they wanted.
"I remember one game specifically. Not to brag but it would be a game against Black Hawk East," former Sandburg pitcher Gale Murk said. "I threw a shutout. Jerry (Latherow) had a run in the fifth or sixth inning and the score ending up being one to nothing. My time at Carl Sandburg was a great experience. Glad I did it. We got along great, and I still talk to some of my teammates from that team."
A game Fritzel has fond memories of was played in Carthage, Ill.
"I will always remember when we were in Carthage. We had to play Robert Morris College and we only had eight guys," he said. "So, Coach Tuttle played first base. Coach had a few nice plays over there. What an experience to play on the same field with a former Major League baseball player."
The baseball program at Carl Sandburg College has never won an NJCAA Championship or always had more wins than losses, but the program has always displayed a will to win, put teams that played quality baseball on the field, and put wonderful memories in the minds of its student-athletes.
Former Sandburg baseball players Gale Murk and Tony Fritzel were interviewed for the above by Matthew Wheaton in May 2006.