State tournament kicks off at Brightondale; Faber pays surprise visit

Butch Faber (center with red hat and blue shirt) chats with Jeff Neave and Mario Anichini. Neave and Anichini's Seniors league team won the district title for Lakeland Friday night and will now advance to that league's state championship tournament.

Butch Faber (center with red hat and blue shirt) chats with Jeff Neave and Mario Anichini. Neave and Anichini's Seniors League team won the district title for Lakeland Friday night and will now advance to that league's state championship tournament. At right is Kevin Auseth.

Little League State Majors Tournament play got underway Saturday afternoon at Lakeland Little League’s baseball complex at Brightondale County Park.

There is not a Lakeland team in the tournament but there was still plenty of local pride in hosting the prestigious event.

But perhaps the most local excitement was caused by the appearance of Lakeland mainstay and District 6 official Butch Faber, literally minutes after leaving the hospital where he had multiple cardiac procedures earlier in the week.

Faber was brought down to the fields in a utility cart and received a steady stream of well-wishers, from players to coaches to parents to umpires. Earlier in the week he had ¬†undergone a triple bypass, a valve replacement and removal of carotid artery blockage on one side. He’ll need to have the other side done down the road, he said.

Talking less than two hours after being released, Faber said he was glad to be at the tournament.

“This was my first stop,” Faber said. “It was important to see all of my friends.”

Faber, as the District 6 administrator, had been working toward getting ready for the tournament until he was laid low by his condition about three weeks ago. That’s when others from Lakeland — like Lakeland President Wally Zirbel, acting district administrator Kevin Auseth and his wife Linda and others — stepped in to make the preparations. Faber said it was evident that they did a great job.

“They took over the whole running of this state tournament,” Zirbel said.”Without them, this tournament probably would have to have been moved elsewhere. They took care of everything. And no one gets paid.”

Lakeland has not hosted the State Major Tournament before, so this was a key opportunity for the league, Faber said.

“You want to do an excellent job; you want to show off,” Faber said.

As for his health, Faber said he is already feeling better in many ways than he did before the surgery.

“It’s amazing what science can do these days,” Faber said.

On the diamonds, six teams, each representing one of the Wisconsin districts, played their first round of pool play.

The results:

A Glendale batter connects. Glendale beat Eau Clare 8 to 2 Saturday.

A Glendale batter connects. Glendale beat Eau Clare 8 to 2 Saturday.

A West Madison batter gets behind this hit. West Madison beat Franklin National in a close game 7 to 6.

A West Madison batter gets behind this hit. West Madison beat Franklin National in a close game 7 to 6.

An Appleton batter slides in to score. Appleton beat Wausau 11 to 1.

An Appleton batter slides in to score. Appleton beat Wausau 11 to 1.

The pool play will continue Sunday through Wednesday. Semi-finals will be Thursday and finals Friday. The winner of the tournament will represent Wisconsin in the play that ultimately ends up in the Little League World Series played in Williamsport, Penn.

Outside the games:

Though some of the teams were from half a state away, the crowds Saturday were still large and enthusiastic.

Though some of the teams were from half a state away, the crowds Saturday were still large and enthusiastic.

After each game, players were given state participation pins. At center is Lakeland President Wally Zirbel.

After each game, players were given state participation pins. At center is Lakeland President Wally Zirbel.

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5 Comments

  1. Lu says:

    Butch,

    Good to see you.

    Love you.

    Lu

  2. Mike Wright says:

    Butch,
    We were all so glad that you could make it down to the fields on Saturday. It was great to see you out among your loving fans and family. Continued success and good health.
    See you on the diamonds.
    Mike Wright and family

  3. Jim Malone says:

    Butch, Just found out about your ordeal. Glad to see you in better health now. Take care & get well. Jim

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