Keeping the County League Relevant

I recently had a chance to sit down with Matt Stone and Frank Maloney to talk about the league for an episode of the Frankly Stoned podcast. (Check it out for my full preview of the season, recorded April 26, before play started.) 

Matt and Frank have a love for all things Door County, but especially Door County League baseball. And with platforms like theirs – plus support from local radio stations, the Peninsula Pulse and promotion on social media – the league is reaching more people in more places than ever before. The more coverage the league gets, the longer it will stay relevant. 

On to opening day! Week one in the Door County League went as expected, with the top teams emerging victorious. The Swami started out 4-0, but the next couple of weeks will bring a tougher slate to try to prognosticate. 

Washington Island (1-0) @ Sister Bay (1-0)

Both of these teams found themselves in the closest games of the weekend. The island team got a strong relief performance from Alex Johnson and a couple of others, and it weathered the frigid temperatures in Institute to start the season on a winning note. The Islanders did not hit the way a typical island team does, but it was only one game. A couple of defensive miscues from the Islanders gave the Cubs some life. Washington Island must clean that up to contend with the top teams. 

The Bays got their typically strong pitching in week one. That certainly isn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was who walked out to the coach’s box to help lead them to victory. It was none other than Door County League legend Mark Woerfel. His presence may be just the kick in the pants the Bays need to regain championship form. 

Swami says: Bays.

Kolberg (1-0) @ Egg Harbor (1-0)

These two teams combined for 37 runs in week one. Derek Schinktgen was the hitting star along the way, with some help from Nick LeCaptain and Austin Rohe for Kolberg. Top to bottom, this lineup is scary, and it’s going to take a team to have a special day to tame it.

The Indians started like they did last season: with a blowout win. Joe Sawyer picked up the win and had help up and down the lineup. The “Killer Cs” – Cody Giesseman, Cody Bauer and Cory Fuller – all drove in multiple runs. I could see this one being a close game, but I’m not picking against the Braves until someone proves I need to. 

Swami says: Braves.

Institute (0-1) @ West Jacksonport (0-1)

The Cubs played a solid game defensively, especially in the outfield, where Ethan Kroll flashed some leather on a sliding catch. Arthur Hocevar also played well behind the plate after not having done so in quite some time. However, a couple of mental lapses cost them on the offensive and defensive sides, which made the difference. If they clean those up, they come out victorious. This team will compete and do better than I predicted before the season.

The Ports kept themselves in the game against the Bays for the most part. Most of the lineup got hits, with Jaeger Brusky and Woody Schartner leading the way. The pitching was good enough to win, but offensively, the team just couldn’t put enough runs on the board. What might help is the addition of Kyle Volkmann. The longtime Cub jumped ship this year, and that will add some juice to this week’s matchup. 

Swami says: Ports.

Baileys Harbor (0-1) @ Maplewood (0-1)

These two teams come into the game reeling, having given up 19 and 18 runs, respectively. That just isn’t going to win you a lot of games. 

The Mets, who have beaten Kolberg once during each of the past two seasons, knew early on that Sunday wouldn’t be their day. The Mets have some young talent in Jayden Diller and Cam Debroux. If they can add to the veteran leadership that includes 2022 All-Star Kody Kissinger and Mark Villers, who is returning to full-time duty, this team could compete. 

Matt Francesconi of the A’s was the lone player in the league Sunday to hit a home run, and more of that will help. The A’s this year are not worrying about numbers because they have a lot of newcomers in the fold. Give them time, and they might surprise us. I have this hunch that the A’s will end the losing streak at some point this year, but I’m not ready to predict it this week.

Swami says: Mets.

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