By Alex Strouf
Photo by Steve Schultz
The De Pere Dodgers hosted and swept the West Allis Nationals in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, keeping firm in second place of the Wisconsin State League. The Dodgers are 12-1 overall on the year, with their only loss coming from West Allis last weekend.
The Lombard Orioles hold control of the WSL, so far perfect on the year with a 12-0 record.
The Dodgers, though, showed they’re a powerhouse team in the WSL on Saturday, defeating the Nationals 4-1 and 5-3 in a doubleheader.
In game one, catcher Mike Manns (Oconto Falls, Wis.) began the offensive production for De Pere, hitting a solo shot to left field for the Dodgers’ second hit and first run of the afternoon. Manns finished 2-for-2 with two RBI in game one.
First-year player Griffin Summers (Green Bay, Wis.) was the winning pitcher in game one, throwing all seven innings, allowing only two hits–one of which was a home run–and striking out four. The Dodgers offense combined for six hits, including two from Manns, in the 4-1 victory.
In game two, three runs from shortstop Hunter Staniske (De Pere, Wis.) powered the D’s to a 5-3 victory over their counterpart from West Allis. Zach Abfall (Green Bay, Wis.) and Noah Robinson (Green Bay, Wis.) each had two RBI.
Cole Nelson (De Pere, Wis.) got the win on the mound, throwing all seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs, striking out five.
Manns, a second-year Dodger who attends and plays at UW-Whitewater, was geared up behind home plate for the entirety of both games. Manns is fourth in RBI and runs this year for the Dodgers, with 10 each. Manns is fifth overall in the WSL with 10 RBI.
Offensively, his home run that lit the fire for De Pere’s offense throughout Saturday was just business as usual.
“He just put it where I wanted it and I hit it well,” said Manns. “Nothing more to it than that.”
De Pere’s 112 runs through 13 games is the most in the Wisconsin State League. The bats have been flaming, and it could stay that way, says Manns.
“One through nine is seeing the ball well,” said Manns, who batted eighth on Saturday. “If we have one of ‘those’ games, hope we can get back to what we’re at now, hitting and fielding the ball well.”
Coming into the season, it seemed as if pitching would be an issue for the Dodgers, but so far, so good. The Dodgers have the best team earned run average in the league by more than a run average, with 1.45.
“The [pitchers] are just hitting spots well right now. If they’re missing, they’re not missing by much,” said the catcher. “When the starters come out, whoever comes in is doing the same thing. They’re throwing strikes and that gets outs.”
The Dodgers return to non-league action on Monday, hosting the Denmark Devilbears. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m.
ELSEWHERE IN THE LEAGUE ON SATURDAY
Lombard 11, Sheboygan 1
Lombard 18, Sheboygan 4
Lombard 5-0 (12-0)
De Pere 6-1 (12-1)
Sheboygan 5-4 (8-4)
West Allis 5-6 (5-6)
Addison 4-8 (4-8)
Oshkosh 3-7 (3-7)
Kenosha 2-4 (2-4)