The Northwoods League begins its 23rd season today. In its first 22, the league has yet to see a repeat champion.
That is the task awaiting the Kenosha Kingfish when they begin their quest for a second consecutive NWL title at 7:05 tonight against the La Crosse Loggers at Simmons Field.
Has it really been almost 10 months since the Kenosha Kingfish won the Summer Collegiate World Series to claim the Northwoods League championship in their second year of existence?
Note: All home games at Simmons Field; all times CDT.
31—La Crosse, 7:05 p.m.
KENOSHA — Pete Schuler already has his summer figured out.
The Kenosha Kingfish will host their league all-star game in July, along with a unique home run derby highlighting the city’s lakefront.
Team General Manager Jake McGhee said the Northwoods League All-Star Game will be held at Simmons Field July 19, drawing the league’s best players from around the Midwest.
KENOSHA — The defending Northwoods League champion Kenosha Kingfish will open their third season in the summer collegiate wood bat league against the La Crosse Loggers on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:05 p.m. at Simmons Field.
The NWL announced its complete schedule for 2016 — its 23rd season — on Wednesday, with all 18 teams again slated to play 72 regular-season games.
The Kenosha Kingfish won everything there is to win in the Northwoods League this summer. They kept winning at the league’s annual fall meetings.
On Monday, the NWL announced that the Kingfish were awarded the league’s Organization of the Year, while general manager Jake McGhee was named the league’s Executive of the Year. The awards were voted on by a panel of team officials at the league’s fall meetings in Madison last week.
The Kenosha Kingfish captured the Northwoods League championship on Friday.
Now the postseason honors are starting to roll in, and they’re likely to keep piling up in the aftermath of the summer collegiate baseball season.
KENOSHA — While the roster for the Kenosha Kingfish was constantly in motion this summer, one thing definitely stayed the same.
And that’s who the field leader was.
In just two seasons, the Kenosha Kingfish rose to the top of the Northwoods League with their 8-1 victory Friday night to clinch the Summer Collegiate World Series crown.
Chants of “We did it!” and “Thank you, Kingfish!” echoed throughout Simmons Field Saturday evening as loyal locals celebrated their Northwoods League championship win over the St. Cloud Rox.
A sea of royal blue and red jerseys, T-shirts and hats flooded the stadium and concession stands. The official store looked like a Black Friday sale as young and old gobbled up bobbleheads and other merchandise to show their support.
The Kenosha Kingfish didn’t make their fans wait long to experience the Summer Collegiate World Series.
The Kenosha Kingfish enjoyed a productive inaugural season in 2014, finishing with a 41-30 overall record and within a half-game of qualifying for the Northwoods League playoffs.
And 2015 for the Kingfish has been markedly better.
On paper, at least, the Summer Collegiate World Series that starts tonight at 7:05 between the Kenosha Kingfish and St. Cloud (Minn.) Rox at Simmons Field couldn’t be a better matchup.
The best-of-three series for the Northwoods League championship features the 18-team league’s top two teams as St. Cloud finished with the best overall regular-season record (49-23) and Kenosha (48-24) was right behind.
The tension and drama of the night evaporated instantly the second the ball left John Brodner’s bat with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night, headed for a vacant right field.
There was only delirium.
One unique aspect of this season’s Northwoods League playoffs is that three of the four qualifying teams from the South Division — the Kenosha Kingfish, Madison Mallards and Green Bay Bullfrogs — are under the umbrella of Big Top Baseball, an ownership group that includes Steve Schmitt, Conor Caloia and Vern Stenman.
Big Top Baseball’s fourth team, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, didn’t make the playoffs.
The diehards started filing into Simmons Field at 6:05 p.m., an hour before first pitch.
This was bonus baseball — the Kenosha Kingfish’s first-ever Northwoods League playoff game against the La Crosse Loggers — and the fans were here to witness history.
The first postseason run in Kenosha Kingfish history will last at least one more day.
The Kenosha Kingfish’s path to a Northwoods League championship took a decidedly more difficult turn Sunday night.
After possessing the 18-team league’s best overall record for most of the regular season, the Kingfish couldn’t hang onto it when it ended.
The Kenosha Kingfish clinched one important milestone on Saturday but will need to win on the regular season’s final day to clinch another.
David Meade pitched eight sparkling innings for the Kingfish, but a trio of St. Cloud Rox pitchers held Kenosha to four base hits, as the Kingfish dropped a 2-0 Northwoods League pitcher’s duel before a crowd of 1,250 at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Minn.