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Published On: June 20th, 2017



With Eau Claire leading the La Crosse Loggers 7-1 in the top seventh inning on Monday night, outfielder Zach Ashford came up with the play of the year by making a fantastic barehanded bobble catch at the wall. The Express would go on to beat the Loggers 11-1, but Ashford's amazing grab would go on to become the story of the contest.

The play made waves on social media, reaching all the way to Bristol, Conn. where it was picked up by ESPN and named the top play of the evening on Sports Center's daily "Top 10 Plays" segment.

For Ashford, a sophomore from Fresno State, the play was all reactionary, as he swiped the ball out of the air as he was falling parallel with it towards the warning track dirt.

"I was just thinking 'catch the ball,'" Ashford said. "It all happened so fast."

As an athlete, finding yourself atop Sports Center's Top 10 list and having your accomplishment put on display before the masses is a thrill most never get to experience. As Ashford proclaimed, it was "pretty cool" to see himself being recognized by the world wide leader the following morning, a moment he'll likely never forget.

The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team. – See more at: