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Baseball is Back: Assistant Coaches Set for 2021

Grafton, WI – Travis Akre has set his coaching staff for the 2021 season as Bladen Bales (Northeast Community College), Ryan Colegate (Phoenix College), and Keith Ritsche join Lakeshore this summer. The goal of the Northwoods League is to develop players, but this is also a great opportunity for these coaches to develop as well.

Bladen Bales joins Lakeshore as an assistant coach in 2021 due to the great success he has had at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska. In his fourth season as the top assistant coach under head coach, David Clapp, Bales coaches infielders, helps with hitting, and also assists in the recruiting process. He had an instrumental part in guiding the Hawks to their first ever NJCAA DII World Series appearance in 2019 while also helping 20 student-athletes sign with four-year schools in his time at Northeast. The Nebraska City, Nebraska native played collegiate ball at McCook Community College and Nebraska Weslyan University. Bladen brings a strong coaching skill set and valuable experience to assist Chinooks players this season in Lakeshore.

Ryan Colegate has been designated as the Chinooks pitching coach for the 2021 season. Ryan brings both Northwoods League and professional pitching experience. The Dayton, Ohio native played collegiate ball at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio and added a year of experience in the Northwoods League having played for the Kalamazoo Growlers in 2014. He was drafted in the 36th round of the 2015 MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians and spent 4 years playing professionally within the Indians and Padres organizations. Currently, Colegate is the developmental pitching coach at Phoenix College. Ryan has a ton of pitching knowledge and a strong passion for making players better, he will be a great mentor for these young pitchers.

Keith Ritsche enters his first season as an assistant coach for the Chinooks in 2021. Ritsche played collegiate baseball at the College of St. Scholastica and later went on to sign a professional contract with the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier baseball league. From 2010 to 2017 Keith was an assistant coach at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina where he was able to coach with his brother, Kevin. The two built the team from the ground up after the baseball program was reinstated after a 37-year hiatus. Ritsche went on to become the head coach of the Asheboro Copperheads, part of the Coastal Plain League, for 5 seasons and was their General Manager for 2 years before recently moving back to Wisconsin to be closer to his family. He brings a great amount of summer collegiate baseball experience to Lakeshore this summer, having played 3 seasons for the Duluth Huskies and was an assistant coach for the Madison Mallards for 1 season. He will be a great addition to the team as he brings a wealth of baseball knowledge and has the ability to motivate his players.

The 2021 season is presented by Port Washington State Bank with the home opener set for June 3rd at 6:35pm against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders. Season and group tickets are currently on sale with single game tickets available for purchase at the beginning of May.

The Lakeshore Chinooks 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. Having completed its’ 27th 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 250 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 (WAS), 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 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Chinooks as your favorite team.