Afterward, the members of the Menomonee Falls Lakers Land O' Lakes amateur baseball team shared a burger and a beer (in the case of those under 21, a soda) in the parking lot of venerable, old Trenary Field in the Falls.
It was a two-fold celebration on that rare sunny May 8 day. On the surface, the Lakers had just routed Monches, 10-1, in their opening game of the season, so they were happy to commemorate that. The opener was delayed a week by this on-again/off-again not-so-charming spring weather that's been happening around here lately.
A sure sign that the day had gone well was the following note by Lakers Board of Directors member Kent Sutherland: 'Concession sales were brisk; the crowd ran us completely out of hot dogs and Usinger Brats.'
That was a very good sign indeed, as this was also the official 'Welcome Back' for the Lakers franchise that had gone on a tumultuous hiatus last season after being around essentially since the league's inception in 1922.
Player/Manager Nick Heiting, who has been around Lakes ball for about 18 years, said there were more Monches fans there than Falls fans, but he was optimistic that trend will change as the weather gets better, and hopefully the team continues to play well.
A group headed up by longtime Falls baseball hands Larry Podolske (team president), Terry Fitzsimmons and Falls high school baseball coach Pat Hansen set about to resurrect the franchise at the end of last summer, a time that saw the Falls High School baseball team win its first WIAA state title and also, for the first time since anyone can remember, saw no Lakes baseball on Saturdays and Sundays.
The advertising signs that traditionally lined the Trenary Field outfield fence were gone and the parking lot empty.
The reorganization committee worked to correct the things that went wrong at the end of 2014, which led to the team's dissolution in 2015.
They secured commitments from a number of players, largely local, and brought in Heiting, who most recently played for Port Washington, as player/manager. Heiting has widely recognized organizational skills, having been named Now Newspapers Girls Softball Coach of the Year when he stepped in on an interim basis in 2013 and led Menomonee Falls to the WIAA state tournament. He is now the head coach for the Wauwatosa West girls softball team.
'We've been talking about getting the team back together, but we weren't sure we'd have enough guys,' he said, 'but it's been good. A lot of the guys we have play or live in the Falls.'
The roster came together piece by piece, Heiting said, such as securing the services of his wife's cousin's husband, former Falls player Chris Laurishke. It then escalated to include recent Menomonee Falls High School players Ryan and Tony Romens and Tommy Wolf.
The roster has a secure number of about 20, and Heiting has worked hard to bond the team.
'We've had a couple of Saturday and Sunday practice sessions, whoever could make them, and the turnout was good,' Heiting said. 'This is going to be a team with depth. Even our subs look good. The board has done a nice job of bringing in people.'
They range in age from former Milwaukee Brewer Don August, who is rumored to have once struck out Ty Cobb (just kidding Don), to key pitcher on the 2015 Falls High School state champion team, Lukas Kell.
Other former Falls hands back in the fold include August's son Logan, Tyler Fitzsimmons, Ben Burns, DJ MacLeod and others. Recent Brown Deer star Jake Schimenz is also on the roster, while centerfielder Paul Smith, a native of Manitowoc, has been elected captain.
Heiting really wants this comeback to work.
The former shortstop turned third baseman ('My range isn't what it used to be in high school,' he laughed), said the rainout on May 1 was a disappointment.
'We could have gotten the field ready, but it would have taken hours,' he said.
But that just made what happened on May 8 all the sweeter.
After Podolske threw out the ceremonial first pitch, the Lakers wasted no time in jumping out to a big lead against Monches as Laurishke collected three hits, including the team's first safety of the season.
Meanwhile, Tyler Fitzsimmons picked up the Lakers' first run batted in when he clouted a two-out double in the second inning.
Newcomer Josh Stanisch put an exclamation point on the inning by slugging a 3-run homer, putting the game out of reach.
Even Heiting himself got in on the act, driving in four runs on three hits, including a double. Burns got the save in relief of Don August.
It was a heady start, but Heiting knows the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. The next home game at Trenary is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday, May 22, against Oconomowoc.
'It's easy to be happy when you're winning,' he said. 'We're just going to see how this plays out. Hope we have what it takes to get through the usual ups and downs.'
But he did say that the first victory burger in the parking lot tasted awfully good.