Eau Claire, Wis. – The Northwoods League today announced the game schedule for the 2019 season. The Eau Claire Express begin their 15th season of play in the league on the road on Tuesday, May 28 to begin a four-game set with the Bismarck Larks. The Express then travel home to begin the home season against the Duluth Huskies on Saturday, June 1. The home opener will feature a postgame fireworks show and a first pitch time of 7:05 p.m.
The league will again play a 72-game schedule in 76 days, giving players the ultimate Minor League experience. The League has expanded in 2019 to 22 teams, with new additions being in Kokomo, Ind. and Traverse City, Mich. The Northwoods League will adopt new divisional names as part of its realignment. New division names are Great Lakes and Great Plaines. The names serve as an homage to the growth the League has experienced over its 25-year history, as well as its vast geographic presence, stretching from the Great Plains as its western-most edge, throughout the Great Lakes region to the East. Within each division will be an East and West sub-division. The breakout is as follows.
Great Plains West: Bismarck, Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud, Willmar
Great Plains East: Duluth, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Thunder Bay, Waterloo
Great Lakes West: Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Lakeshore, Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rapids
Great Lakes East: Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Kenosha, Kokomo, Rockford, Traverse City
Regular season play begins Tuesday, May 28 and concludes on Sunday, August 11. Playoffs will begin on Monday, August 12 and conclude on Friday, August 16. Playoff format will be announced by the League in the coming days.
Eau Claire’s home schedule will feature start times detailed below.
- Sunday Home Games – 2:05 p.m.
- Monday – Thursday Home Games – 6:35 p.m.
- July 4 – 5:05 p.m.
- July 30 – 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. (Doubleheader)
- Friday Home Games – 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday Home Games – 6:35 p.m.
Start times for the Express will remain the same as 2018. Sunday games will begin at 2:05 p.m. for a second consecutive season. The popular July 4 game will be scheduled to begin at 5:05 p.m. for a second straight season in 2019 as well. Postgame entertainment will be announced at a later date that will follow the July 4 game and precede the City of Eau Claire’s fireworks show. Last season’s entertainment had to be cancelled due to a weather delay.
Eau Claire will play 17 of its 36 home games in the first half of the season, which wraps up in Mankato, Minn. on July 2. The Express schedule features 17 home games 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 five Fridays during the summer (all of which will include postgame fireworks) and six Saturdays.
The league will again have two scouting events. The annual All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday, July 16 in Waterloo, Iowa. The seventh annual Big League Dreams Showcase doubleheader will be held at Warner Park in Madison three weeks later. Both events showcase the top prospects in the Northwoods League annually to scouts from every team in Major League Baseball.
Season tickets and Kwik Trip 5-Game Packs are now on sale at the Express office. Returning to the Kwik Trip 5-Game Pack is the unlimited food, reserved seat for five games, and the batting practice party on the field prior to two of the games. The free gifts in 2019 will be an Express black jersey and a Hank Aaron bobblehead doll. Packages are available online or by calling 715-839-7788 for only $70, which amounts to $14 per game. Single-game tickets will go on sale for all games on May 1. The full Great Plains Division 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. Now in its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIL). 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.