The 2010 Northwoods League playoffs are set and ready to being Tuesday night. The North Division matches the 1st Half Champion Rochester Honkers with the 2nd Half Champion St. Cloud River Bats. The Eau Claire Express boast the league’s best overall record at 48-22 and face the Wisconsin Woodchucks, winners of nine of their last ten games, in the South Division playoffs.
The Honkers and River Bats have played ten times in the 2010 season with each team going 5-5 in their head-to-head matchups. The North Division begins play Tuesday night at Mayo Field at 7:05 PM. Game two will be played at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud at 7:05 PM Wednesday. Game three, if necessary, will also be played in St. Cloud at 7:05 PM. The two teams have combined to win three of the last four NWL titles and combined to win eight of the sixteen Championships in league history.
Rochester, 2009 Northwoods Champions, finished with a 36-29 overall record. Field Manager Ryan Ruiz (Central Arizona) guides the Honkers to the playoffs in his 1st season with the Honkers. The Honkers have won five NWL Championships (’94, ’97, ’99, ’06, ’09) and appeared in the playoffs ten times.
The River Bats have also appeared in the playoffs ten times which is tied for tops in the NWL history with Rochester. St. Cloud has won three NWL Championships (’98, ’00, ’07) in franchise history and are 23-15 overall in the playoffs. Field Manager Gabe Boruff (Washington State) has the NWL MVP in shortstop Steve Nyisztor (Rutgers) and Pitcher of the Year Jason Wheeler (Loyola Marymount) who leads the league in wins with eight.
Eau Claire goes into the South Division playoffs with the best overall record at 48-22 and faces a hot Wisconsin Woodchucks team who needed to win the final game of their season to make the playoffs. The two teams head into the playoffs with a head-to-head record of 5-5. The Express and Woodchucks will kick off the 2010 Northwoods League playoffs at Carson Park today, Tuesday, August 17 at 6:35 PM. Game two will take place at Athletic Park in Wausau on Wednesday, August 18 at 6:35. If a third game is necessary in the best-of-three series, it will take place at Carson Park on Thursday, August 19 at 6:35 PM.
The Eau Claire Express are led by 2010 NWL Manager of the Year Dale Varsho. They are making their 3rd trip to the playoffs in franchise history. The Express made it to the Championship in 2007, but lost to St. Cloud and again made it in 2009 where they lost to La Crosse in the South Division Series. The Express have an overall playoff record of 2-4.
The Woodchucks will be making their fifth appearance in the playoffs in franchise history. Wisconsin‘s overall playoff record is 8-8 with appearances in 1998 (Wausau), 2001, 2003, and 2008. They won the NWL title in 2001 and 2003 and in both series beat the St. Cloud River Bats 2 games to 1 for the Championship.
Follow the Northwoods 2010 playoffs at www.nwltickets.com. The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America.