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Published On: August 16th, 2016

Eau Claire, WI — The Mankato MoonDogs looked to extend their historic 15th season on Monday evening against the Eau Claire Express at Carson Park in Wisconsin. The MoonDogs were able to even up the score, but Eau Claire's pitching proved to be too much as they went on to edge Mankato 5-1.

Reece Eddins (Nebraska) took the hill for the MoonDogs in game one of the 2016 Northwoods League Divisonal Playoff to face the sixth best offense in the league, the Eau Claire Express. Eddins allowed a run in the first inning of the ballgame, after Alex McKenna (Cal Poly) singled home Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) to give the Express an early 1-0 lead. 

The tall right hander would hit his stride after the first, holding Eau Claire to the lone run for the next three innings. The Mankato offense picked Eddins up, when shortstop Alvaro Rubalcaba (Cal State Northridge) drove home Gavin Wehby (Nicholls State) to even up the scoreboard. 

The Express answered right away. In the bottom of the fifth the home team finally got to Eddins, picking up three runs on four hits. The MoonDogs starter turned his fortunes around, getting two straight hitters out to end the inning with the bases loaded. The damage had been done, though, as the MoonDogs' offense struggled at the plate against Eddins' counter part.

Caleb Boushley (UW-La Crosse) went 7.1 innings for Eau Claire, allowing just one run on four hits to the MoonDogs. The right hander did not allow a walk while striking out five on the evening. Boushley earned the win, while Christian Tripp (New Mexico)   picked up the save. Tripp threw 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball to close out the ballgame for the Express. Eddins was charged with the loss.

The 2016 Mankato MoonDogs will go down as one of the best in franchise history. First year field manager Ryan Kragh (Bethany Lutheran College) managed the team to a 46-26 record. That number puts them at the top of the list for regular season wins, eclipsing the previous mark of 42.

The 2016 MoonDogs also broke franchise records with 695 hits and 2,490 at-bats this season. Overall, the MoonDogs offense finished third in the league with a .279 batting average, also good for third in MoonDogs history as was their .373 on base percentage.

The pitching staff held their own in the record books, too. The team set a new mark in innings pitched with 637.1, while boasting the fifth-lowest ERA in team history (3.54). Mankato hurlers also allowed the lowest hit total since the 2011 season with 593. As a collective, the MoonDogs pitching staff held opponents to a .245 batting average in 2016. 

This season team was also loaded with star power. Three mid-season all-star selections (Jake Shepski, Jordan Kozicky, Ricky Digrugilliers), six major league dream showcase participants (Jake Shepski, Jordan Kozicky, Chase Hamilton, David Metzgar, Dalton Lehnen, Kevin Yarabinec), three post-season all-star selections (Jake Shepski, David Metzgar, Ricky Digrugilliers) and the NWL MVP in Jake Shepski. 

Although this season didn't end the way the team had imagined it would, the 2016 Mankato MoonDogs have etched themselves into the team's history and record books. 


The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.