“Screen ball pitcher, screen ball.”
If you’ve been to any Door County League baseball game where the Islanders were playing, you probably heard this phrase said very loudly while the opposing pitcher was on the mound. It was recently a topic of discussion at a game where the opposition was asking whether it was over the top or not.
When I played, I loved to be heckled by the fans – partly because I loved giving it back, and it made for a more intense but fun atmosphere. I think at times all of us can take ourselves too seriously.
I have heard players say way worse during a game. As long as they’re not being derogatory, disrespectful or demeaning to a fellow player, umpire or fan, I think players and fans can bring so much to the game with their passion for their team. Each team had – and still has – fans whom the opposition just knows will be there, ready to say their piece, and ready to cheer their team on in hopes of helping their team win.
You let it either motivate you, make you laugh or get under your skin. The choice is up to you.
The Swami went 2-2 last week to bring the season record to 24-8. That’s a .750 winning percentage. Let’s take a look at week 9.
Egg Harbor (3-5) @ Baileys Harbor (0-8)
The Indians ended a five-game losing streak Friday night in big fashion. The magic elixir has been the Cubs, whom the Indians have scored 40 runs against in two games this year. However, they lost pitcher Tyler Seibert to an apparent arm injury early in the game. Anthony Moore was the hitting star, and if Riley Spetz can make more games, that will just make this team better. Joe Sawyer has driven in nine runs during the first half of the season.
You have to go back to July 14, 2019, to find the As in the win column. They beat Kolberg 13-4 that day. Since then, they have lost 28 straight regular-season games. Jon Kordon has been one of the bright spots at times when he pitches, but they are just not hitting the ball enough to keep themselves in any game.
Swami says: Indians.
Kolberg (7-1) @ Maplewood (5-3)
The Braves took care of challenger No. 1 this week, beating the Ports easily. The Braves have five hitters in the top 20 in the league, and their starting pitcher, Trevor Reinhardt, had 51 strikeouts in 37 innings entering Sunday and had given up only four runs in those innings.
But the Braves are not undefeated because their southern rivals, the Mets, seem to steal one from them every year and did so in week 2 this year. Going into the season, the Mets had uncertainty with their pitching staff, having lost their ace from a year ago. But Drew Price has done well, and if he can cut back on the walks, this team can continue to rise.
The Mets are coming off a victory over the defending champs, Sister Bay, last week. That gives them five wins – one more than all of last season. They have three hitters – Kody Kissinger, Tory Jandrin and Kordell Draves – in the top 20 as well.
Swami says: Braves get revenge.
Sister Bay (5-3) @ West Jacksonport (5-3)
The Bays’ loss on Sunday put a big dent in their championship defense. Now they’re jockeying for playoff position. They still have one of the best pitchers in the league in Sam Forkert, but he was rocked for seven runs during the first two innings Sunday by the Mets. They, like Kolberg, have five hitters in the top 20, so this team can still be dangerous.
The Ports took one on the chin Sunday and now must regroup for an angry Bays team. Woody Schartner is the only Port hitting above .300, but you don’t have to score a lot of runs when your starting pitcher has control. Luke Steebs had 34 strikeouts and only seven walks during the first half of the season.
Swami says: Bays in a close one.
Institute (2-6) @ Washington Island (5-3)
The Cubs make the trip up to the island – not the friendliest place for them – although they did win up there in 2019. Injuries to their top two pitchers left the team to rely on Will Hartman, who pitched well, given the circumstances Friday.
The Islanders made quick work of the As and now play their second of four straight at home. The Islanders typically have a few hitters in the top of the league, but only Caleb Cornell cracked the top 20 during the first half. Jonathon Buchta has been a solid starter for the Islanders, but he had more walks than strikeouts during the first half and will have to clean that up for them to have any chance at the title.
Swami says: Islanders.
Week 8 Results
Egg Harbor 14, Institute 1
Kolberg 14, West Jacksonport 3
Maplewood 12, Sister Bay 9
Washington Island 20, Baileys Harbor 4
Sister Bay 5-3
Washington Island 5-3
West Jacksonport 5-3
Egg Harbor 3-5
Baileys Harbor 0-7