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Published On: July 3rd, 2024

The first half of the Northwoods League season is ending, and what a half it’s been. The Woodchucks finished in the #1 spot in the Great Lakes West and clinched just their 9th playoff appearance in franchise history. The Chucks were the most dominant team in the league at one point. Let’s take a look at how they did.

Carsen Plumadore pitching, Chucks @ Express

The Chucks set a franchise record for the best start in their history, going undefeated through the first nine games and cementing themselves as a dangerous competitor in the Great Lakes West. They started that winning streak with a sweep of the defending NWL Champions, the Green Bay Rockers, and never stopped building from there. That streak ended just one game short of tying the franchise record win streak at ten games.  The Chucks got well acquainted with the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, playing them six times in just eight days, including four straight, during which the Chucks came away with five wins.

Drew Berkland at-bat, Chucks vs Huskies

After appearing to fall from their winning ways after a short road trip to Lakeshore and Madison, the Chucks bounced back and started another nine-game winning streak, including a five-game win streak that took them as far as Canada. That road trip took them to meet old foes, as they played Eau Claire for the first time since 2013, and Thunder Bay for the first time since 2016. After cementing themselves at the top, the Chucks’ win streak again ended at that magical number 9, and they fell to the bitter divisional rivals in Rapids. The Chucks were the first team to 20 wins when they found a victory over the Rapids Rafters.

Max Galvin at-bat, Chucks @ Express

We saw all-star talent across the entire first half. Drew Berkland and Max Galvin set the bar for batting performance, and both led the team in home runs. Drew had the only grand slam of the season (so far) for the Chucks, and Max Galvin never stopped leading the team in hits. The Chucks’ pitching rotation and bullpen are perhaps the best in the league, seeing the likes of Adiel Melendez, Jorge Decardenas, Carsen Plumadore, Tyler Smith, Cutter Clawson, and Seth Clausen. The Chucks’ pitching is #1 in strikeouts, #1 in wins, and in the top 5 for BAA.

Adiel Melendez pitching, Chucks vs Chinooks

Manager Corey Thompson, in his 3rd season with the Woodchucks, broke the record for most wins by a manager in the franchise. Win number 104 came against the defending NWL champions the Green Bay Rockers, and we still have a long way to go until the end of the season.

Corey Thompson, Chucks @ Express

The Woodchucks were neck-and-neck with the Madison Mallards for the first-half championship, and it came down to the final series right at the end of the first half. The Woodchucks stole one away from Madison at Warner Park and clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2022. That 26th win also tied a franchise record for most wins in any half and broke the franchise record for most wins in the first half. The Chucks almost went undefeated at home over the first half, only losing 3 games. They swept 9 series and were not swept once. At 26 wins, they are just the seventh team in NWL history to achieve that mark in the first half.

With a playoff spot secured, the Woodchucks aren’t done yet, as they look to remain the best team in the NWL in the upcoming second half of the season. The Woodchucks will host a playoff game in August, and look to start a run to the championship for the first time since 2003.