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Published On: June 4th, 2024

It was an exciting opening week for the Eau Claire Express, who began their 2024 campaign with a .500 record. These games have been entertaining to say the least, with home runs, diving catches, comebacks, and a walkoff at Carson Park. Let’s take a look at week 1!

To start their season off, the Express began with a home and away series against the Madison Mallards, which they split 1-1. The Express won a game 1 thriller, squeaking out a 5-3 win. However, they dropped game 2 in an offensive showdown at Madison, with a final score of 18-10.

From there, Eau Claire stayed on the road to open their second home and away series of the season against the Rochester Honkers. Game 1 was a nail-biter to the end, and it was a Gabe Richardson (Minnesota – Duluth) three-run home run that sealed a 4-3 victory. However, the Express could not complete the sweep, as they were defeated 8-5 in game 2.

The Trains got back on track at home, where they completed their first season sweep of 2024 against the Badlands Big Sticks. Game 1 had a flare for the dramatic, going into extra innings, where Jake Busson (Iowa Central CC) would be hit by a pitch to walk it off. Game 2 was won thanks to an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth by George Bilecki (Lewis). The game would finish with a final score of 5-4.

Eau Claire followed the home sweep by dropping 2 in a row on the road in Thunder Bay. Although both games were close, the Trains weren’t able to grab a win, losing 5-4 in game 1 and 2-1 in game 2. The Express finished their first week of play at 4-4, and currently sit in fourth in the Great Plains East division.

The Express offense has gotten off to a hot start, averaging 6.25 runs scored per game. Dylan O’Connell (Western Kentucky) has been the conductor of it all, starting with a .345 batting average, 10 hits and 6 RBI’s in 29 plate appearances. Luke Wiltrakis (Georgia) and Andrew Ball (Augustana) lead the pitching staff in strikeouts (12) while Henry Wilkinson (Minnesota – Duluth) leads all Express pitchers with a 1.50 ERA after 1 week of play.

Upcoming this week, the Express begin with a home and away series against the Rochester Honkers, followed by a 4 game homestand against the Willmar Stingers and the Waterloo Bucks.

The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Entering its’ 31st season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 26 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 350 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (TEX), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (STL) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (ATL). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2023 World Series Champion, 2021 and 2023 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and two-time All-MLB first team shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at and on ESPN+. 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.