Tyler Geislinger started for Eden Valley-Watkins on Saturday. His cousin Matt Geislinger relieved him, pitching five shutout innings as his team overcame a 4-1 deficit to beat Sebeka 7-4 in the Class 1A championship game at Target Field.
Two other Geislingers were on the EV-W roster, and in the stands there was a Geislinger who pitched in the 1985 state championship game -- Matt's father, Bruce.
Nobody who lives near Clear Lake would be surprised by the preponderance of baseball-playing Geislingers at Target Field on Saturday.
"Out on the lake, it's my brother, then me, then a house, then my other brother, then my uncle, then Dad, then an uncle, uncle, uncle all the way down there," Bruce Geislinger said. "We all live on one side of the lake because our grandfather owned it.
"And we all grew up on baseball. That's all we played."
Bruce was standing behind the Twins dugout, wearing a Watkins Clippers amateur baseball cap, after watching his son earn the victory, hit two doubles and drive in the tying run in the fifth before scoring the winning run.
Matt's performance gave Eden Valley-Watkins a state title, a 26-0 record, a 43-game winning streak (including their American Legion team), and unique bookends to their dream season: They started the year with a victory in the Metrodome and finished with a championship at Target Field.
"It's just what you dream about doing, and he did it," Bruce said. "You dream about playing on this field, and the game he had was unbelievable."
Bruce, too, dreamed of a state championship, but his team lost the 1985 state title game. "That would have been cool, to win it," he said.
Was it a thrill just to play in the title game? "Ah ... you want to win it," he said. "Second place ... you never get written about in second place. It's always the champions.
"Today, I'm very proud. It's kind of an emotional thing, when you see this, after 25 years. I was in the same spot, and they won it, and they deserved it."
Tyler pitched a shutout in the quarterfinals, and Matt dominated in the semifinals. Tyler struggled from the start on Saturday, and Matt replaced him to start the third, with Sebeka leading 4-1.
"Today, I was a little worried," Bruce said. "Their pitcher was throwing good. But once I saw Matt come in there, and I saw he had his stuff, I said, 'If we can score five runs, we'll win.'
"I could see he was tough today."
Pumping strikes and working fast, Matt retired the first eight batters he faced. In the sixth, he came up with two outs and a runner on first and his team trailing 4-3 and smacked a double down the left field line that scored the tying run. As his teammates poured out of the dugout to celebrate, Matt reached second and refused to display any emotion.
"I just wanted to keep my cool, get back on the mound and finish the game," he said.
Tyler singled to left, Matt scored and the Geislingers were on their way to a celebration that figured to include a bunch of their cousins.
"We'll go back home and hang out at somebody's house tonight, just not sure where yet," Matt said. "Every weekend, me and Tyler hang out. We play on the same team in amateur ball, and we stay close with all of the guys because of Legion ball."
Did he plan to needle his father after winning the state championship, 25 years after his father tried? "Maybe a little," he said, smiling through the grime and eyeblack caked on his face.
Matt didn't need his father to tell him how unique his day, and his season, had been.
"It was sweet to play in the Metrodome," Matt said. "And this is an even better park.
"You would never imagine this. I'll remember this my whole life, and treasure it."
Along with a town, and especially a lakefront, filled with baseball fans and Geislingers.
Jim Souhan can be heard at 10-noon Sunday on AM-1500. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • email@example.com