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2021 Northwoods League Playoff Preview 

The playoff field is set. Eight teams will spend the coming days in pursuit of the 2021 Northwoods League crown. After last summer’s modified format, the NWL is back with a full playoff bracket. Games begin at 4:05pm CT tonight. 

 

Great Plains East

Waterloo Bucks  (42-25)

The Waterloo Bucks punched their ticket to the playoffs with seven games left in the first half of the season and they also won the Great Plains East in the second half. 

 

The Bucks recorded a .277 team batting average, a .388 OBP, and they scored 462 runs, — all league highs. 

 

Josh Kasevich (University of Oregon) led the offense with a .374 batting average and just seven strikeouts, the fewest in the Northwoods League. Garret McGowan (Pittsburg State) hit 12 doubles. Max Jung-Goldberg (University of San Diego) collected a team-high 66 hits. 

 

Ryan Duffy (University of Minnesota) posted the lowest ERA on the Bucks at 0.33, while pitching 27.2 innings. Duncan Davitt (University of Iowa) led the Bucks in innings pitched with 49.2 and strikeouts, with 53. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Garrett McGowan (Pittsburg State) 
  • Max Jung-Goldberg (University of San Diego) 
  • Ryan Duffy (University of Minnesota) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Max Jung-Goldberg (University of San Diego) 

 

Duluth Huskies (30-38)

The Huskies are making their first playoff appearance since 2018. Due to scheduling conflicts at their home field, Wade Stadium, the series will take place at the Waterloo Bucks’ field. The Huskies will be the home team for Game 1. 

 

Mike Boeve (University of Nebraska-Omaha) appeared in 67 games, hit .341 and led the Huskies in hits (84), drew 49 walks, and brought in 47 runs. Ambren Voitik (Grand Canyon University) had the most at-bats on the Huskies and hit three triples. Michael Brooks (University of Central Florida) set team-highs in home runs (5), doubles (15), and stolen bases (16). 

 

Will McEntire (University of Arkansas) compiled a 2.59 ERA in 59 innings pitched. He struck out a team-high 57 batters and walked 18 in a team-leading 10 starts. Eli Sundquist (South Dakota State University) saved four games in 10 appearances and struck out 39 batters while pitching 18.1 innings. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Mike Boeve (University of Nebraska-Omaha) 
  • Ambren Voitik (Grand Canyon University) 
  • Eli Sundquist (South Dakota State University) 
  • Will McEntire (University of Arkansas) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Mike Boeve (University of Nebraska-Omaha) 
  • Will McEntire (University of Arkansas) 

 

Great Plains West

St. Cloud Rox (50-18) 

The St. Cloud Rox won both the first and second half Great Plains West titles. With the best record in the league, the Rox will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

 

As a team, the Rox hit the most doubles in the NWL, with 120. Jordan Barth (Augustana University) broke the Rox all-time hit record with his 225th hit on August 12. He finished the season with 79 hits, the most on the team. Otto Kemp (Point Loma Nazarene University) hit .306 with six home runs and 42 RBI, both team-highs. 

 

The Rox have the lowest team ERA in the league at 2.94, led by Josh Gainer (Long Island University- Brooklyn) who did not allow an earned run in 22.2 innings on the mound. Trevor Koening (St. Cloud State University) led the Rox with 52 strikeouts. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Caleb Ricketts (University of San Diego) 
  • Otto Kemp (Point Loma Nazarene University) 
  • Andrew Pinckey (University of Alabama) 
  • Kevin Davis (University of South Carolina-Upstate) 
  • Hunter Dollander (Georgia Gwinnett College) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Caleb Ricketts (University of San Diego) 
  • Otto Kemp (Point Loma Nazarene University) 
  • Hunter Dollander (Georgia Gwinnett College) 
  • Josh Gainer (Long Island University, Brooklyn) 

Manager of the Year: David Ballamy 

Coach of the Year: Brandon Vial 

 

Mankato MoonDogs (44-24)

The Mankato MoonDogs are making their ninth postseason appearance this summer. 

 

Matt Higgins (Bellarmine University) led the MoonDogs in batting average (.339), runs scored (45), hits (80), doubles (22), and RBI (53). Will Hanafan (University of Nebraska-Omaha) stole a team-leading 20 bases and scored 15 runs. 

 

Nolan Pender (Bellarmine University) posted a team-high eight wins, and a 2.43 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched. Vince Reilly (Grand Canyon University) recorded a 0.41 ERA in 22 innings pitched and saved eight games. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Matt Higgins (Bellarmine University) 
  • Blake Reilly (Grand Canyon University) 
  • Nolan Pender (Bellarmine University) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Matt Higgins (Bellarmine University) 
  • Blake Reilly (Grand Canyon University) 

Co-MVP: Matt Higgins (Bellarmine University) 

 

Great Lakes East 

Traverse City Pit Spitters (42-29)

The 2019 Northwoods League champion Traverse City Pit Spitters are back in the playoffs after winning the first half Great Lakes East title. It’s the third postseason appearance for the three-year-old team. 

 

Chris Monroe (University of Illinois at Springfield) led the league in RBI with 59. He scored 28 runs and hit seven home runs. Mario Camiletti (Central Michigan University) scored 44 runs, hit four triples, and drew 58 walks, all team-highs. Christian Faust (Grand Valley State University) appeared in more games, 64, than any other Pit Spitter. 

 

Pitcher of the Year Cam Schuelke (Florida Gulf Coast University) posted a 0.68 ERA in 53 innings on the mound. He struck out 48 batters and gave up 32 hits. Evan Gates (North Carolina A&T State University) appeared in 16 games and recorded eight saves. He allowed nine hits in 16 innings pitched. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Chris Monroe (University of Illinois at Springfield) 
  • Jeremy Neff (University of Richmond) 
  • John Beuckelaere (Madonna University)
  • Evan Gates (North Carolina A&T State University) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Chris Monroe (University of Illinois at Springfield) 
  • Cam Schuelke (Florida Gulf Coast University) 

Pitcher of the Year: Cam Schuelke (Florida Gulf Coast University) 

 

Kokomo Jackrabbits (45-27)

The Kokomo Jackrabbits won the overall Great Lakes East and earned home-field advantage for the first round. 

 

Jakob Marsee (Central Michigan) scored 49 runs, hit three triples, and stole 23 bases in 44 games. Chase Meidroth (University of San Diego) recorded 60 hits, collected 44 RBI, and drew 40 walks. Martin Vincelli-Simard (Sacramento State) led the team in doubles (14) and home runs (5). 

 

In 22.1 innings pitched, Jackson Uner (MSU-Mankato) did not allow an earned run. Adam Christopher (Loyola Marymount) led the Jackrabbits with 36 strikeouts. He faced 101 batters and allowed 17 hits. Tommy Peltier (Canisius College) appeared in 22 games, pitched 25.2 innings, struck out 30 batters, and recorded 10 saves. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Chase Meidroth (University of San Diego) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Chase Meidroth (University of San Diego) 
  • Tommy Peltier (Canisius College) 

 

Great Lakes West 

Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (43-28)

2020 Wisconsin-Illinois champion Fond du Lac Dock Spiders are back in the playoffs after winning the first half Great Lakes West title. 

 

Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech) led the league in stolen bases with 55. As a team, the Dock Spiders swiped 234 bags. Simpson also posted a team-best .377 batting average. Jackson Loftin (Oral Roberts University) hit 11 doubles and six home runs, collected 52 RBI, and drew 38 walks. Ryan Lasko (Rutgers University) appeared in a team-high 59 games. 

 

Connor McKenna (Truman State University) was the workhorse of the staff with 53 innings pitched. Carlson Reed (West Virginia University) struck out 39 batters in 26.1 innings. Nathan Thomas (Northern Illinois University) appeared in nine games and led the team with six saves. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Jackson Loftin (Oral Roberts University)
  • Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech)
  • Nate Thomas (Northern Illinois University) 
  • Carlson Reed (West Virginia University) 

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech)
  • Jackson Loftin (Oral Roberts University)

Co-MVP: Chandler Simpson (Georgia Tech)

 

Madison Mallards (39-32)

The Mallards punched their post-season ticket on the final day of the regular season. 

 

Alex Iadisernia (Elon University) hit .345, scored 40 runs, hit 26 doubles and 10 home runs, all team highs. Bryant Shellenbarger (University of Akron) collected 81 hits, three triples, and brought in 44 runs. JT Benson (University of Louisville) had 55 hits, 43 RBI, and drew 32 walks. 

 

Eliot Turnquist (UW-Milwaukee) struck out a team-leading 52 batters in 43.1 innings pitched. Kade Lancour (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) appeared in 24 games and posted a 1.97 ERA. Jared Fong (Washington University in St. Louis) saved seven games and issued six walks in 39.1 innings of work. 

 

Mid-Season All-Stars: 

  • Alex Iadisernia (Elon University) 
  • Drake Baldwin (Missouri State University) 
  • Theo Denlinger (Bradley University)

Post-Season All-Stars: 

  • Drake Baldwin (Missouri State University) 
  • Alex Iadisernia (Elon University)