2018 Season Recap
The Woodchucks celebrated their 25th Anniversary this season, and there were many exciting events that took place at Athletic Park. Athletic Park has quickly turned into one of the go-to places in Wausau for a fun-filled family outing, and this season was no different. On top of watching our Woodchucks play, there was always more action going on around the stadium that offered something from everyone!
Some of our Woodchucks players had great success this year, and were recognized for their performances. Within the first two weeks of the season, our catcher, Bryan Lavastida, was drafted in the 15th round by the Cleveland Indians. In his eight games with the Woodchucks, Lavastida hit .300.
The pitching staff was loaded this year, and two pitchers shined enough to earn spots in the All-Star Game. Lenny Gwizdala (aka “Lenny Ice”) returned for his second season with the Wisconsin Woodchucks, and this season he took on the closing role. Lenny Ice was excellent this season, with a 1.45 ERA, 30 strikeouts in 24.2 innings pitched, and ten saves. He also made the Northwoods League postseason All-Star team. The other Woodchuck that made the All-Star Game and solidified himself as a dominant force on the mound was Frank Frate. Frate was brought on as a temporary player, but quickly showed what he was capable of and ended up signing a summer-long contract with the Woodchucks. Frate finished the season with a 1.47 ERA and 30 punchouts through 36.2 innings.
Other strong pitchers to note were Alex Stodola and returner Orsen Josephina, who were both selected to the Major League Dreams Showcase. Stodola started four games for the Chucks and came out of the bullpen. He had 45 strikeouts in 38 innings on the bump. Josephina started seven games this season and pitched 34 innings with 31 strikeouts. He ended the season with a 2.38 ERA.
On the batting side, Zach DeLoach was the leader with a .323 batting average, 17 doubles, five home runs, and 38 RBI. DeLoach played in the Major League Dreams Showcase were he went 3-for-3 at bat. He also received postseason accolades and was selected for the postseason Northwoods League All-Star roster.
Reese Alexiades, Alex Toral and Javier Valdes had a three-way tie with seven home runs on the season. Valdes showed his versatility by playing all nine positions in one game on August 12th vs. the Lakeshore Chinooks.
The Woodchucks finished the season with a 30-42 record and a winning record at home. A few exciting games included the 21-12 win in Madison. Alex Toral won Player of the Night honors after the game as he went 3-for-5 with seven RBI. The Woodchucks also had a few exciting wins during the season. One came against Fond du Lac and Nick Loftin hit a walk-off single to win the game. Another was against Battle Creek. Nick Loftin was the hero during this game as well. He hit a two-run homer in the 8th inning to come back for the win.
The Woodchucks had the pleasure of welcoming WWE Hall-of-Famer, Road Warrior Animal, to Athletic Park this past summer. Road Warrior Animal was a fan favorite during his wrestling career, and that was evident by the number of fans that came out to get his autograph and try on his famous spikes for a picture.
Fan-favorite gameday promotions such as Faith and Family Day, Local Heroes Day, Eat-A-Palooza, Christmas in July, and Princesses at the Park returned for another season. We added a new promotion and stole one from the script of “Step Brothers”, hosting a Catalina Wine Mixer event at Athletic Park. Other new promotions included a Bourbon Tasting on the Ascension Terrace and Yoga & Wine Tasting in the luxury suites.
Marshfield Clinic sponsored our first ever create-a-jersey contest where kids ages 12 and under designed the Woodchucks jersey for a game. The jerseys were auctioned off after the game to raise money for the Marshfield Children’s Hospital.
The Woodchucks also wore special 25th anniversary throwback jerseys to commemorate their 25th season. These jerseys featured the black and blaze orange colors that the Wausau Woodchucks wore in 1994 with the original logo.
A couple of the other fan-favorite promotions is when we brought the Flying Houndz Frizbee Dogs, Rally Entertainment, and the Zooperstars in to perform. These entertainment acts travel all over the country performing for various events and were some of the most fun nights at the ballpark this summer!
The Woodchucks also hosted themed fireworks shows including 1994 Mixtape Music Fireworks, Justin Timberlake Fireworks, 80’s Night Fireworks, and The Greatest Showman Fireworks. Giveaways this season included four bobbleheads – Woody Trooper, Paint Your Own Woody, Stevie Pointer, and 25th Anniversary Woody – as well as hats, inflatable bats, mini bats and team posters.
When the Woodchucks were away, Athletic Park was still a hot attraction for the community. On the 4th of July, we hosted the Red, White & Boom Festival presented by Ascension. The Spicy Tie Band came and played in community park, and then we had fireworks on the field. We hosted our first ever Shrimp Boil Event in partnership with Thrive Foodery, where we offered all you can eat shrimp! Our final event at Athletic Park is our Food Truck and Beer Festival coming up on August 18th where we will have local vendors come to the park to provide all-you-can drink beer samples and delicious food truck favorites!
It was another great season at Athletic Park. Huge thanks to our staff, players, coaches, host families, our fans, and the Wausau community for making the 2018 season a success! See you next year!