The 1998 Camrose Roadrunners

Posted November 13, 2019


The 1998 Camrose Roadrunners
Recently discovered stats by Wes Wilson of the 1998 Camrose Roadrunners season gives the local baseball fan a nice trip down memory lane. Some of the names turned into longtime PBL players, others were players who may have played only briefly. So thank you to Wes for sharing and thank you to Wes’ mom for hanging on to this for all these years. 
 
Here is a look at those stats: 
 
 
The Roadrunners would end up with a 6-6-1 record in 1998 setting up a PBL Semi-Final Series against the 1998 Pennant winning Bardo Athletics. The A’s finished atop the standings with a 10-2-1 record, ahead of the second place Tofield Lakers (10-4), the third place Powerline Brewers (9-5) and the fourth place Roadrunners. The youngsters from Camrose would strike early and often again Bardo, sweeping the A’s two games to none in the best of three series with a 7-1 victory in game one and a 17-7 game two win. The series win would set up the youngest team in the league (Roadrunners) to challenge the oldest team in the league (Brewers) for the PBL Championship. 
 
While the Roadrunners cruised through the A’s the Powerline Brewers had a little more difficulty with the Tofield Lakers. Despite sweeping the Lakers, the Brewers needed a pair of one run games to do so. 
 
On July 29, 1998 the veteran Powerline Brewers met the upstart Camrose Roadrunners in Ryley for game one of their best of three series. The Brewers would win game one by a score of 7-1 on the back of Don Oslund’s tremendous game on the mound recording twelve strikeouts and a home run from long time PBLer Dennis Danilak. 
 
 
In game two the Brewers would find themselves up 3-1 after four innings after Dennis Danilak would again hit a home run, this time a two run shot to put the Brewers ahead. A two run home run from Trevor McTavish would give the Roadrunners their first lead of the game and the strong pitching of Henry Stremmel would hold the Brewers offence at bay giving Camrose a 6-3 win and a tie in the series. 
 
Game three in Ryley was described as "one of the best crowds seen at a local ball game for years” by Ray Lehman to the Tofield Mercury on August 11, 1998. With the stands packed, and likely along the infield fence as well, the Roadrunners and Brewers would square off to decide the 1998 PBL Championship in a winner take all game. On the mound for the Roadrunners was a young Curtis Stensrud who probably had the highest velocity that the PBL had seen in quite a while, and perhaps hasn’t seen anything quite like that since. But opposing him was longtime big game pitcher, Don Oslund. The veteran known for his velocity and bulldog mentality on the hill would look to win his second game of the PBL Championship Series that year. 
 
Curt and Don were the same pitcher but had one very distinct difference, at least to me playing against both of them. With Don you had to face really good pitching, but as a hitter you could dig in because his control was immaculate and often looked like a pitching clinic. Curt on the other hand was a little uneasy at times, adding to the intimidation factor he had. He could be aiming for that spot four inches off the outside of the plate, or he could be aiming for your hip. You never knew and perhaps where the pitch ended up, wasn’t always the target to begin with. But wow…what a pitching match-up fans would have gotten to see that August night in Ryley. Teams were still shining aluminum bats, on a small field and against velocity, but this had to have been an all-time pitching matchup in the PBL. 
 
 
Once again, it was big game Don Oslund that would come through. In game one he struck out twelve, and in game three he struck out fourteen including the final five Roadrunner hitters of the night to seal the game for the Brewers. This was against a good hitting Roadrunners team with the good hitters who could put the ball in play and were swinging aluminum bats. And the veteran Oslund would absolutely mow the young kids from Camrose on this night setting up the Brewers for a 6-1 win and their first PBL Championship.
 
An on again, off again relationship with the PBL is probably the best way to describe the tenure of the Camrose Roadrunners looking back at their team history. The team joined the PBL in 1972 as a midget baseball team and played consistently until 1992 when they would be absent from the league until 1997. The second Roadrunners team would play from 1997 until 2001. In 2002 the league was once again without a Roadrunners team.  Another Roadrunners team played in the 2003 and 2004 seasons before once again, taking a year off due to players suiting up for the Camrose Colts in 2005. The Roadrunners re-formed, again for the fourth time, for the 2006 season while the Camrose Cubs played in the Sunburst League. This team played through the end of the 2009 season. In 2010 there was again no Roadrunners team, however fo the 2011 season the Tofield Lakers moved to Camrose, restarted the Roadrunners team and have played in the league since. The current Camrose Roadrunners are the Rose City’s fifth version of the team since 1972. 
Photos
2019 Wild Card Game
2017 PBL Championship
2016 Season
2019 Wild Card Game
2017 PBL Championship
2018 All Star Game
2017 PBL Championship
2016 Season
2017 Season
2016 PBL Championship