DCL: Braves Aim to Continue Dominance

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which means it’s time for Door County League baseball to return. The first couple of weeks are crucial for teams’ title chances as key players are finishing up a college or high school commitment. One early loss could derail championship aspirations. 

The Kolberg Braves will set out to defend their dominance of a year ago, which saw them win both the regular season and playoff titles. Washington Island was hot on their heels, and Sister Bay and Jacksonport rounded out the playoff participants. Will the same four teams vie for the top spot?

Another dominating performer last season was the swami, who posted a final record of 46-12. He returns this year and is hoping, like the Braves, to have a repeat season.
Let’s take a look at week one, with last year’s regular-season records listed next to the teams. 

Sister Bay (10-4) @ West Jacksonport (9-5)

The Sister Bay Bays found themselves in uncharted waters last year, losing more games in 2022 than they did during the previous two campaigns. To get back to the top of that mountain is going to take strength from the entire team. They still have the arms to compete with Sam Forkert and Matt Hecht, and their offense is no slouch either, returning a bevy of all-stars such as Tom Sawyer, Stewart Larson and Griffin Cole.

After a 6-8 season in 2021, the West Jacksonport Ports turned it around last year to make the playoffs. Luke Steebs was a solid starter last year, but an offseason injury could put the brakes on a repeat performance. That means more work for veterans Drew Tanck and Woody Schartner. The lineup is pretty solid up and down, so even without Steebs for a stretch, they can still compete. 

Swami says: Bays. 

Trevor Reinhardt’s dominating 2022 season earned him Pitcher of the Year honors. Photo by Deanna Reinhardt.

Kolberg (13-1) @ Maplewood (6-8)

Let’s face it: When you have the kind of pitching talent that Kolberg does, you’re not too worried going into most games. The availability of young players early in the season would pose problems for many teams, but the Kolberg Braves can go three to four deep into the rotation and still be dominant. Pitcher of the Year Trevor Reinhardt returns, along with an explosive offense that includes former batting champ Kyle Routhieaux. Jake Schneider is slated to be at the front of the rotation this year. It will take a special season from another team to prevent a repeat.

The Maplewood Mets early on were just that: a special team. A team I had picked in the bottom half made me look foolish early on as they sprinted out to a 4-3 start that included toppling Kolberg, only to go 2-5 in the second half. The Mets’ lineup has stayed pretty much the same for a few years, and that cohesiveness will keep paying dividends. Having found an ace in Drew Price has helped as well. Veterans Zach Marchant, Kordell Draves and Adam Gutschow will be counted on greatly to keep this team moving in the right direction.

Swami says: Braves.

Washington Island (9-5) @ Institute (4-10)

The Washington Island Islanders have been in contention for a couple of seasons, only to suffer late regular-season setbacks. But in last year’s playoffs, they served notice that they might stick around the top half for a while. Troy Jorgenson was lights out at the end of the year, and he will be the ace going in. Caleb Cornell leads an offense that can score in bunches as well. 

The first year for Institute’s coach, Jared Pflieger, was a tough one as injuries to key arms doomed their season. Will Hartman is penciled in as the starter this year, and from there, it will be anybody’s guess. The addition of Elijah Reimer will certainly make the offense and defense better.

Swami says: Islanders.

Baileys Harbor (0-14) @ Egg Harbor (6-8)

It was July 14, 2019, when the Baileys Harbor A’s throttled the Braves 13-4. They haven’t won since. A 32-game losing streak. However, they did show some life with some young stars such as All-Star game hero Isaac Berkley. Jon Kordon will handle much of the mound duty, and they have a roster full of young players who are eager to get their turn. 

Egg Harbor was my disappointing team last year as I picked them to make the playoffs. They started out like a house on fire, going 2-0 and scoring more than 40 runs, but that success was short lived as the Indians lost nine of their remaining 12 games to finish the year at 5-9. Batting champ Cory Fuller returns, as does most of last year’s lineup, who, when on, can outhit anyone. Pitching will once again be what makes or breaks their season. 

Swami says: Indians.