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Official website of the Wisconsin State League

Sheboygan A’s Set to Open Season

May 25, 2010

A season loaded with special events, special games and more home dates than any season in the 48 year history of the Sheboygan A's opens this Thursday night.

Wisconsin State League

A season loaded with special events, special games and more home dates than any season in history opens for the Sheboygan A’s this Thursday night.

The city’s semi-pro club that competes in both the prestigious Wisconsin State Baseball League and the Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League opens with an exhibition game against the Two Rivers Polar Bears of the Shoreland League.

Gametime is 7:30 at Wildwood Park with the North High School Drum Line lighting up the crowd in a 7:10 pre-game show.

Two Rivers has a 2-1 record going into this week. They play the Manitowoc Heat Wednesday night before meeting the A’s on Thursday. Two Rivers has split with Howards Grove and beaten Plymouth.

Skipper Chad Gehr has tabbed 12-year veteran Will Madson to start the opener. Madson worked only 22 innings last year, but came out with a 2-0 record and a 2.05 ERA. Over his career, Madson, an assistant coach at South High School, has a 34-24 record with 10 saves and a 3.99 ERA.

Gehr plans to look at a lot of people Thursday night (and Friday, when the A’s host Branch in another exhibition on Fish Fryday Night).

The 2010 A’s are once again a very young team loaded with college players and Gehr has only a few games to see which of them will adjust best to the wood bat before the club gets into the grind of its tough 2010 schedule.

“I was hoping to have a few more experienced players on the club this year, but I couldn’t get them to make a commitment,” general manager Denny Moyer said. “Challenging for the pennant in the State League is tough when you are going against experienced players. Still, while we are young, I think we have some talented people this year.”

It all starts with the pitching staff and A’s fans are not going to be shortchanged there.

Madson is the veteran on a staff that could include no less than nine newcomers.

Top returning pitchers are 2009 Most Valuable Pitcher Ryan Schmitz, who went 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA and a club high 66 strikeouts in 59.2 innings; and Mitchell Gardner, 5-2 and 3.00 last year. Schmitz just graduated from Beloit College where he received a number of baseball honors. Gardner plays at Marian College.

Other returnees are Greg Blohowiak (UWM, 3-4, 5.46), Bryan Dominick (UW-Whitewater, 2-2, 4.22), Gabe Marshall (UWM, 2-4, 6.61) and Kevin Wild (MATC, 1-0, 9.00). Ryan Eigenberger, Drew Powers and Jake Ristow are also back from last year, but with no decisions and only limited innings.

New to the staff are Jack Archie and Eric Van Beck of UW-Stevens Point, Mitch Arens, Jack Larsen and Chevy Tollefson of MATC, Ty Engler of Marian, Eric King, who will be at UWM next fall, and Connor Lenz of Monterey Peninsula CC.

Catching appears to be solid with Jordan Rennicke and Phil Kramsky, both of UW-Stevens Point, returning. They will be joined by Ryan Schilter of Concordia.

Returning infielders are Matt Schilter (Concordia), Schmitz, Taylor Schwarz (UNC-Greensboro) and Justin Hunt (MATC). When he wasn’t pitching last year, Schmitz smoked the ball for a .321 average. Schilter hit .296, Schwarz .281 and Hunt .143.

New infielders are Kyle Edlhuber (Wisconsin Lutheran), Alex Erdmann (UWM) and Jared Fon (UW-Whitewater redshirt),

The outfield is where the A’s could have problems. Tim Patzman, the team’s MVP for two straight years broke his elbow running into the outfield wall at Wright State. He was hitting .417 at the time. He is hoping to be with the club in July, but a lot of things have to go right for that to happen.

Patzman hit .368 last year and led the club in just about every offensive category.

New to the outfield this year are Ross Fassbinder (Winona State redshirt), and Joey Patzman, Tim’s brother, who is a UW-Whitewater grayshirt.

“We’re still working the phone trying to find a centerfielder,” Moyer said.

A’s ticket-holders will definitely get their money’s worth this season. If the A’s qualify for the Northeastern League Playoffs, fans could see as many as 38 home games and special events with their season ticket.

The special events are the July 9 Northeastern League vs. Southeastern League All-Star game, the July 15 historic baseball exhibition featuring the Green Bush Dead City’s vs. a team of Sheboygan Physical Education Teachers and the big July 26 Military Appreciation Day that will be highlighted by the A’s playing against the Heroes of the Diamond, a Military All-Star Team from California.

General admission season tickets sell for $30 (less than $1 per game), Grandstand seasons sell for $40 and Box Seat seasons for $50. Admission without season tickets is $3, $4 and $5 respectively.

Included are games against local clubs Cleveland, Howards Grove and Plymouth, two straight 4-game weekends against strong Chicago clubs, 28 Wisconsin State League games and 24 Northeastern Wisconsin league games.

Fans are encouraged to follow the A’s website, www.sheboyganbaseball.org, Facebook page (facebook.com/sheboyganbaseball), and Twitter page (twitter.com/shebbaseball) – for updates on the various special events, entertainment and activities.

A’s notes:
The Club is still plugging away on the Wildwood Rally Fund-Raiser to improve the park. The latest effort is the 2010 Pledge-Athon. Fans can make pledges in any amount (10 cents is the minimum) on just about any team or individual statistic they wish: e.g., $1 per win, a quarter for each home run, a dime for every strikeout Ryan Schmitz posts, a quarter for every double Matt Schilter hits. Fund-raising progress will be posted weekly once the season begins. Fans can pick up pledge cards or print them off the website and send them in to the club (Sheboygan A’s, P.O. Box 32, Sheboygan, WI 53082-0032).

The entertainment schedule for the next couple weeks is: May 27 North Drum Line, May 28 Music of the ‘50s, June 3 Music of the ‘60s, June 5 Music of the ‘70s, June 7 II Cool, June 9 Music of the ‘80s, June 11 Country Music Night.

Season tickets can be ordered by calling the club at 920-458-6377. Tickets will be left at the box office. Fans planning to purchase season tickets are urged to call in their order to ease opening day congestion at the ticket window.

Individual advance tickets can also be ordered for the All-Star Game ($3 adults) and Military Appreciation Night ($5 adults) by calling, emailing (sac@excel.net) or writing.

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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