League-leading records have eclipsed the Sister Bay Bays for many years. The team has not won the Door County League baseball regular season since 1994, although they did win the 2011 Playoff title, but the perfect combination of youth and experience has put the Bays back in the title hunt.
Sister Bay is off to a 5-0 start, approaching the midway point of the year with the only unblemished record in the league. With a little bit of veteran age and a little bit of youth, a couple of walk-off home runs and a couple of blowouts, combinations of “this and that” have proven to be the winning formula for the Bays.
Throughout this young season, Sister Bay has been led by players from their early 20s to their early 30s. Regardless of age differences, the team has meshed into a machine.
Will Henriksen and Sam Forkert, both 20-year-olds, have controlled the mound for the Bays and are among the league leaders in innings pitched and strikeouts.
Joining them are fellow young’uns, second baseman Tom Sawyer and outfielder Dusty Johnson. Sawyer leads the group of young players with a .350 batting average (as of June 3), but the Bays’ veterans are proving that with experience comes statistics that are even more impressive.
James Larsen and Justin Hartel have put together noteworthy seasons thus far, batting .364 and .450, respectively.
Although there may be polarity in the ages from shortstop to second base or pitcher to catcher, the team has crossed those boundaries without skipping a beat.
“Since the younger guys have arrived, within the last few years, we’ve sort of rejuvenated the older guys,” Sawyer said. “But a lot of those guys are just teenagers in 30-year-old bodies.”
Perhaps the biggest addition for the Bays is third baseman Stewart Larsen whose brother James convinced him to make the transition from the West Jacksonport team. Through the first four games, Larsen was leading the league with a .667 batting average. He has brought Sister Bay his own form of rejuvenation with what Sawyer described as a, “baseball attitude that makes you just want to play the game.”
In addition to their age-bracketed makeup, the Bays have also combined various winning styles in assembling their fruitful season. Sister Bay has squeaked out two of their triumphs with walk-off home runs and proceeded to win their other three games by a total of 42 runs.
Wacky wins and lacking losses are just the newest combination for Sister Bay, but it continues to work in their favor.
“It’s sort of been an emotional whirlwind,” Sawyer said, but the recharged Bays wouldn’t have it any other way.