Eau Claire, Wis. – The schedule for the 22nd season of Northwoods League play was announced today by the league. The Eau Claire Express, beginning their 11th season of play, open the 2015 campaign north of the border in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Eau Claire takes on the Border Cats Tuesday and Wednesday, May 26 and 27, before returning home for their home opener on Thursday, May 28. The Duluth Huskies are this year’s first home opponent as they come to Carson Park for a two-game set. First pitch for the home opener is scheduled for 6:35 PM, with gates opening at 5:30.
The league will again play a 72-game schedule in 76 days, giving players the ultimate Minor League experience. The Express will again compete in the North Division, playing 64 of their 72 games within that division. South Division opponents to face Eau Claire will again be the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and the defending champion Lakeshore Chinooks. Regular season play begins Tuesday, May 26 and concludes on Sunday August 9. Divisional playoffs, matching the first and second half champions in each division, begin the following day and extend through Wednesday, August 12. The Northwoods League Championship Series runs Thursday, August 13 through Saturday, August 15. Both playoff series are a best-of-three format.
Eau Claire’s home schedule will feature start times detailed below.
· Sunday Home Games – 5:05 PM
· Monday – Thursday Home Games – 6:35 PM
o Exception: July 29, 2015 – 1:05 PM and 7:05 PM
· Friday Home Games – 7:05 PM
o Exception: July 3, 2015 – 6:35 PM
· Saturday Home Games – 6:35 PM
o Exception: July 4, 2015 – 6:05 PM
For the second year in a row, the Northwoods League schedule features two day/night doubleheaders. This year’s opponent is again the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. One change in 2015 is that each doubleheader will be played at one location, rather than one in each community as was the case last season. Monday, June 29 will feature two games at Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids, with game one beginning at 12:05 PM and game two beginning at 7:05 PM. Wednesday, July 29 will feature the second half of the series with the Rafters, this time at Carson Park. Game one will begin on that date at 1:05 PM with the nightcap finishing the season series at 7:05 PM.
Eau Claire will play 17 of its 36 home games in the first half of the season, which wraps up in Wisconsin Rapids on June 29. The Express schedule features four home games in May, 13 in June, 15 in July and four in August. The league was kind to Eau Claire in scheduling of weekend games. Carson Park will be home to Northwoods League baseball on six Fridays during the summer (five of which will include postgame fireworks) and six Saturdays, which of course includes the popular Express home game on the July 4 holiday.
This year’s Northwoods League scouting events will be held in Wisconsin Rapids and Madison, respectively, this season. The annual All-Star Game will take place at Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids on Tuesday, July 21. The third annual Big League Dreams Showcase doubleheader will be held at Warner Park in Madison just two weeks later. Both events showcase the top prospects in the Northwoods League annually to scouts from every team in Major League Baseball.
To purchase season tickets or voucher packs please contact the Express office by calling 715-839-7788 or by stopping by the office at 102 E. Grand Ave. in downtown Eau Claire. Single-game tickets will go on sale for all games on May 1. The full Express schedule can be found here.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com.