Published On: August 17th, 2010

The Eau Claire Express and Wisconsin Woodchucks are set to play Tuesday night at Carson Park in Eau Claire at 6:35.  The Express won both halves of the South Division NWL season and have a 48-22 overall record.  The 2nd playoff spot came down to the final night with the Woodchucks beating the La Crosse Loggers to clinch their spot in the NWL playoffs. 

Eau Claire is managed by 2010 Manager of the Year, Dale Varsho, and comes into the playoffs with the best overall record in the NWL (48-22).  The Express have the league’s best pitching staff with a 3.04 ERA and are led by Ian Campbell (Corpus Christi) and Felix Cardenas (Texas Permian Basin).  Campbell’s seven wins on the season are 2nd most in the NWL and he boasts a 1.36 ERA.  All-Star Felix Cardenas, another strong arm for the Express, has five wins on the season in 62.2 innings pitched.  The Express line-up is just as strong as their pitching.  Their .280 batting average is 2nd in the league and their 403 total runs lead the league.  Postseason All-Star Drew Heithoff sets the tone for the Express offense with his league leading .389 batting average.  Steve McGuiggan (Illinois-Chicago) has the most home runs on the team with seven while speedy outfielder Nolan Fadness (Wisconsin-Oshkosh) is hitting .305 with 13 steals and 20 RBI. 

The Woodchucks made the playoffs in the final game of the season as three other teams had an opportunity for the playoffs in the final week of the season.  Wisconsin comes into the playoffs winning nine of their last ten games.  Fiery Field Manager Guido Aspeitia guides the Woodchucks into the playoffs with a 42-28 overall record.  The ‘Chucks lone Postseason All-Star representative, Don Lisi (Central Missouri), was 5-2 with a 2.88 ERA.  Mitchell Beacom (UCLA) and Anthony Drobnick (Washington State) are part of an impressive bullpen that has 18 saves on the season.  Their offense is one of the best in the NWL with a .277 batting average, but lead the league in home runs with 49.  Athletic second baseman Rob Lind (Georgia State) has the best batting average on the team with a .320 clip with 15 doubles.  Speedy Travis Whitmore (Pittsburgh) leads the league in steals with 29 and was second in the NWL with 49 runs scored. 

The Eau Claire Express make 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 NWL title.   

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 winner of this series will meet the winner of the North Division finals that features the Rochester Honkers and St. Cloud River Bats. 

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