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Published On: November 30th, 2018

Eau Claire, Wis. – The Northwoods League announced today changes made to the playoff format and extra innings rule for the upcoming 2019 season.

“Starting with our 2019 season the Northwoods League is adopting rule changes pertaining specifically to our playoff format and how extra innings shall be played that are aimed at enhancing both the fan and player experience,” said NWL President Gary Hoover.  “We believe the resulting benefits will make for a very exciting playoff run, great game finishes, and additional protections for our players.”

As recently announced, the Northwoods League adopted new division realignments to accommodate the expansion of the league. The realignment created the Great Plains and Great Lakes divisions, each with an East and West subdivision. The new playoff format will see the first and second half subdivision winners enter the playoffs in a best of three Sub-Divisional Series. The sub-divisional winners will then play in a single game Divisional Championship Game with home field advantage going to the team with the best overall record. The Northwoods League Championship will then be contested by the divisional winners, in a one-game League Championship Game, hosted by the team with the best overall record.

“The new playoff format will be something the fans will enjoy seeing as every team that qualifies for postseason play will now have the opportunity to host a playoff game,” said Eau Claire Express Owner and Field Manager Dale Varsho. “It will also ensure that a team that has a great regular season will not be eliminated in a single game. It should do more to ensure we see the best teams in the League in the Championship Game.”

A new extra-innings rule was announced by the Northwoods League this morning. Similar to Minor League Baseball, for all regular-season extra-inning games, the 10th innings will begin with a runner at second base. The runner at second will be the player, or a substitute, prior to the leadoff batter in the batting order, and for scoring reasons will have “reached base” on a fielding error not to be assigned to any one player. A loss in extra innings will count against the pitcher.

“Placing a runner on second base for extra-inning games will take necessary steps to speed up the pace of play for the League, said Varsho. “The rule also helps limit the amount of innings our pitchers will have to pitch. Injury prevention for our pitchers is important and this rule along with our pitch count rules help us emphasize that.”

For more information on the 2019 division realignment and schedule release, click HERE!

The Express are also happy to offer the Kwik Trip 5-game pack for the upcoming season. For more information or to purchase tickets, click HERE!


The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 25-year old summer collegiate 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 (MIA).  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.