Eau Claire, WI- In a do or die, win or go home battle with the St. Cloud Rox (17-19 Second Half, 42-30 Overall), the Eau Claire Express (24-12 Second Half, 39-33 Overall) locked up the 2017 second half North Division title with a 7-0 win on Sunday night.
Eau Claire will host the Mankato MoonDogs (24-12 Second Half, 44-28 Overall) tomorrow at 6:35 PM in the first round of the Northwoods League Playoffs. Tickets for that game can be purchased, here.
In his first and only start with the Express in 2017, Dalton Roach (Minnesota State) pitched a gem, tossing seven-shutout innings with nine strikeouts. The junior allowed just three hits and one walk, walking away with the Marshfield Clinic Player of the Game Award.
Unfortunately, Roach will not be allowed to pitch for Eau Claire in the postseason after missing the Northwoods League Playoff eligibility deadline by joining the team just a few days ago.
Mopping up in the final two frames was reliever Alex Ogren (St. Thomas), allowing just two Rox hitters to reach base in the eighth and ninth.
Although they didn’t need the offensive support, the Express put together seven runs on fourteen hits, with each starter collecting at least one base hit on the night.
Standing out from the rest of the pack was catcher Garrett Wolforth (Dallas Baptist), after he went 3-4 at the plate with three doubles and three RBI.
Left fielder Adam LaRock (Iowa) also played a major role in Eau Claire’s offensive showing, connecting on his first home run in an Express uniform in the bottom of the fourth.
Just a few hours before tonight’s contest got started, it was announced that Eau Claire outfielder Zach Gilles (Central Michigan) had been named to the 2017 Northwoods League Postseason All-Star team. Gilles was honored with a spot on the team after having a fantastic season at the plate, leading the league with a .479 on-base percentage.
The full All-Star roster can be found, here.
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 180 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 www.eauclaireexpress.com 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.