They say the cream always rises to the top. That seems to be true in the Door County League as the top two teams – Sister Bay and Kolberg – are there once again. The Bays reclaimed the regular-season championship with a win over the Mets this week. It’s the sixth time the Bays have won the regular season title since 2014 and 17th overall, tying them with West Jacksonport for the most regular season championships.
In fact, the top three seeds in the playoffs are repeat participants, with only Egg Harbor being the new kid on the block. We’ll take a look at the playoff matchups in a bit, but first I want to discuss the four that didn’t make it.
West Jacksonport (8-6)
Last year, the Ports were a playoff participant. This year, they missed out by one game. Losing the last two at home didn’t help. They mustered only three hits on Sunday, with Drew Tanck getting two of them. The Ports were a Jekyll-and-Hyde team this year, scoring nine or more runs in half their games, but then scoring only two or fewer in five games. It’s been a long time since this team was at the bottom, so expect it to be in the thick of things again next year.
Adam Gutschow hit another home run Sunday, a two-run shot. Unfortunately, those were the only two runs the Mets scored on the day. Jayden Diller chipped in with two hits, but the offense at times this year was spotty. They had some decent pitching at times as well this year, and they were in a lot of games. They just have to get a couple of wins against the top-tier teams, and they will be right in the playoff picture.
Baileys Harbor (1-13)
The A’s got their first win in three seasons this year, but that was the only one. A record of 1-41 since the playoff season is nothing to write home about. However, a good group of young players at times kept them in some games early, and as we have seen over the years, if you can keep a group of players together over the long haul, the experience gained eventually pays dividends.
The Cubs definitely played better in the second half of the season, but the results don’t show that. They, too, are a young team that battled lineup changes almost weekly. However, the young ones who put in the time started to see results. Tommy Junion got his first Door County League hit Friday night and would have had two if not for a controversial end to the game. The Cubs need pitching, and then maybe we can talk about a few more wins for them.
Speaking of wins, the Swami had four more this weekend, putting his regular-season record at 48-8.
#4 Egg Harbor (9-5) @ #1 Sister Bay (12-2)
The Indians are back in the playoffs after sitting last season out. They had to win their last three games to do so, and they did just that, beating Sister Bay during that stretch. Friday night, Cody Giesseman, Nick Kita and Alex Byrne each had two hits to stave off a feisty Cubs team and then had to wait out Sunday to see their fate. Joe Sawyer at times has been lights out on the mound, and three weeks ago, he held the Bays to one run over nine innings.
The Bays won the title in a blowout Sunday over the Mets. Sam Forkert struck out eight and had two hits, and Stewart Larson had three hits. Griffin Cole, Tom Sawyer, Spencer Krause and Casey Weddig all had two hits. It marked the second straight game in which the Bays scored 13 runs.
It’s rare that the regular-season champ wins the playoff title. After winning it all, sometimes the playoffs can be an afterthought. However, getting past the first round means hosting the playoff championship, which is a lucrative day for both teams. Kolberg won both last year, and maybe Sister Bay wants to do the same – and avenge the one-run game it had against Egg Harbor last time.
Swami says: Bays.
#3 Washington Island (9-5) @ #2 Kolberg (11-3)
The Islanders return to Kolberg, where they played in the playoff championship last year. In that game, the Islanders stormed back in the ninth inning, only to come up short, 10-9. Last Sunday – needing a win to guarantee a playoff spot – Matt Foss and Ben Johnson collected three hits each. Luke Geiger had two as well, and they turned back the A’s 10-0. Even coach Joey Cornell got into the game and had a hit Sunday.
The Braves’ Jack Peterson had three hits on Sunday to lead the way. Trevor Reinhardt continued his hot hitting ways, getting two more hits with a home run, and Christian Counard had two hits as well. Jake Schneider continued his havoc on the mound, collecting another eight strikeouts. Last year, the Braves swept the Islanders in all three games and won the two regular-season games this season. They say it’s tough to beat a team three times in a season, but as I mentioned, the Braves have done it before. And with having to give back the regular-season trophy this year, something tells me they’re pretty focused on not having to give back both.
Swami says: Braves.