Local baseball players compete for world record

Linder and Pilz helped raise money for cancer research

Sixteen-year-olds Charlie Linder and Nick Pilz participated in the Pitching, Hitting and Defense Club’s attempt to break the world record for longest baseball game to raise money for the Masonic Cancer Center on Monday, Aug. 12, at the Mall of America Field.  Photo supplied

Sixteen-year-olds Charlie Linder and Nick Pilz participated in the Pitching, Hitting and Defense Club’s attempt to break the world record for longest baseball game to raise money for the Masonic Cancer Center on Monday, Aug. 12, at the Mall of America Field.
Photo supplied

On Monday, Aug. 12, Charlie Linder, of Harris, and Nick Pilz, of Stacy, along with 33 other baseball players from around the state, set out to break the world record of longest baseball game ever played.

The two 16-year-olds from the Pitching, Hitting and Defense Club in St. Paul were unable to make history at the Mall of America Field by reaching and surpassing the goal of 60 hours and 11 minutes of play. But they were able to raise $7,500 for research at the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota over the course of nearly 41 hours and 167 innings of play.

Linder’s dad, Eric, said that the fundraising is far more important than the game.

“They’re good kids,” Eric Linder said. “They spent two days playing baseball for the right reasons, and hopefully the community sees that this was more than just a game.”

Eric Linder said the life lessons taught at the PHD Club is one reason his son and Pilz play for the program, as part of the mission statement is to learn “life lessons” that have value beyond the playing field.

Charlie Linder and Pilz, both of whom started varsity for North Branch High School as sophomores last spring, made the elite team a year ago and were a part of the 16-and-younger squad that took first at the Fall Extravaganza Tournament in Utah and second place at the San Francisco Labor Day Tournament last year.

The 35 PHD Club players who participated in the attempt to break the longest game record came from all over Minnesota, including Duluth and Rochester. Eric Linder, who watched about 30 hours of the game, said the athletes played 10-12 hours, rested six hours, then hit the field for another 10-12 hours.

While the PHD Club is just getting underway for the 2013 season, Eric Linder also said he believes the club will attempt to break the record again next summer, hopefully with more kids to keep the innings rolling.

“I absolutely believe we will attempt it again next year,” Eric Linder said. “I’ve always tried to teach my son to do something for someone else, do more and do something that matters. It’s a great opportunity for him to raise money for much-needed cancer research.”

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