Express Suffer Season-Ending Loss, 12-0 to Mankato
Eau Claire, WI- The Eau Claire Express had their season come to a close on Monday night at Carson Park after being eliminated in the first round of the Northwoods League Playoffs by falling 12-0 to the Mankato MoonDogs.
The Express saw their campaign come to a close just one day after clinching a playoff spot by winning the second half North Division championship, capping off a fantastic run in which they went 24-12 after the mid-season mark.
Eau Claire went down with their best on the mound, with Luke Eldred (Dallas Baptist), whom has been a staple atop the Express rotation for the entire season, was roughed up for five earned runs on eleven hits. It was a bitter end to what had been a fantastic season for the freshman; he closed the regular season with a stellar 3.27 ERA and 35/8 K/BB ratio over 66 innings pitched.
Unfortunately the Express bats were never able to get going in this one, tallying just three hits and three walks, as they were shutout by a lights out MoonDogs pitching staff. Third baseman Trevor Schwecke (UW Milwaukee) was the only Eau Claire hitter to record more than one base hit in this one, going 2-3 with a couple of singles.
Left fielder Zach Ashford (Fresno State) was named the MVP of the 2017 Express season, after hitting .301 with a .424 on-base percentage in the regular season. Appearing in 61 games with Eau Claire this summer, Ashford finished the season with the most innings logged of any Express player who appeared on the team’s roster this year. The sophomore made great strides in his second go-around with the organization, holding an OPS over .800 (.817) over 229 at-bats, earning an invite to the Major League Dreams Showcase, in which he went 1-2 with a single and a stolen base.
To all the players, coaches, staff members, and especially the fans, thank you for making this season another fun-filled summer in the Chippewa Valley!
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.