Green Bay wins first Northwoods League title in franchise history
St Cloud, Minn.- The Green Bay Rockers won their first ever Northwoods League Championship Friday night against the St. Cloud Rox 4-3 at Joe Faber Field, taking down the Great Plains Champion Rox by one to secure their first title in team history.
The Rockers led from the third inning on en route to the championship victory, and despite a late rally by the Rox in the ninth inning, Green Bay held on for the one-run victory to win the title, capping of a season in which they finished 45-31 overall in 2023.
With the win, Green Bay also finished the postseason a perfect 4-0, with wins over Madison, Traverse City, and St. Cloud en route to the championship. Additionally, they finished a perfect 3-0 on the road with the lone home playoff game taking place Monday night at Capital Credit Union Park.
Brett Sanchez (Belhaven) started his night off strong on the mound by striking out two batters in the bottom of the first inning, keeping the game scoreless through an inning of play at Joe Faber Field.
After Sanchez threw a scoreless second inning, Kendal Ewell (Illinois-Chicago) handed Green Bay a 1-0 lead in the top of the third courtesy of his third postseason home run, giving the Rockers the early advantage following the first two and a half innings of play.
Despite two baserunners getting on for the Rox in the bottom of the third, Sanchez escaped the jam and kept St. Cloud off the board through three innings of play, with the score still at 1-0 in favor of Green Bay.
Fellow UIC product Zane Zielinski (Illinois-Chicago) added to the Green Bay lead in the top of the fourth off an RBI single, making it a 2-0 game entering the bottom of the fourth with the Rockers still up by two.
Sanchez recorded his third strikeout of the night to keep the Rox off the board in the fourth, and that trend remained true in the bottom of the fifth, with the Belhaven product putting two more strikeouts on the board as Green Bay still led 2-0 through five innings of play in St. Cloud.
Mateo Matthews (Wagner College) and Sam Polk (Washington University-St. Louis) added RBI singles themselves to push the Rockers lead up to four in the sixth, while a great defensive play from Cooper Kelly (Kansas) at short kept it a 4-0 ballgame in favor of the Rockers going into the seventh.
St. Cloud scored their first runs of the night in the bottom of the seventh off RBI singles from Noah Greise (Nebraska-Omaha) and Ben Vujovich (St. Thomas), trimming their deficit to just two runs at 4-2 entering the eighth.
Michael Riley (Gateway Community College) threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth to take the championship into the ninth with Green Bay still leading 4-2, after recording back-to-back fly outs to keep the Rox off the board in the frame.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jacob Faulkner (Princeton) was tasked with getting the final three outs of the game, as he looked to seal the deal for a Northwoods League Championship.
The Rox cut the deficit to one on an RBI single, but Jacob Faulkner reset and forced a fly ball to left field with two outs, in which Ewell settled under it and made the catch, sealing the championship for Green Bay in what is their first title in franchise history.
The Rockers want to thank all their fans for the continuous support all season long. Fans are encouraged to stay tuned at www.greenbayrockers.com and on the Rockers Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all offseason updates regarding the team.
The Rockers front office and Team Apparel Fan Shop at Capital Credit Union Park are located at 2231 Holmgren Way in Ashwaubenon. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm.
The Green Bay Rockers 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. Now in its’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 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 325 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 (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com and on ESPN+. For more information, visit www.greenbayrockers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rockers as your favorite team.