Bandits Turn To Veterans For Success In WSL

June 19, 2010

A mix of veteran leadership and new faces will be the recipe that the Manitowoc Bandits will be using this season.

Wisconsin State League

MANITOWOC — A mix of veteran leadership and new faces will be the recipe that the Manitowoc Bandits amateur baseball team will be using this season.

The Bandits will welcome back familiar faces such as Mike Hall, Nat Richter, Sam Spurney, Brock Wetenkamp, Brad Liermann and Matt Phipps to the team that went 38-23 overall last season. One Bandit that won’t be suiting up is Donovan Strouf, who is second in most of the Bandits’ all-time records behind current player/manager Josh Krowiorz. Strouf decided to take the year off.

“Strouf is the second-longest tenured Bandit behind me,” Krowiorz said. “He hopes to be back next year, but it really has us scrambling for a centerfielder right now. That’s been his spot for a long time.”

Hall, Wetenkamp and Richter will play in the infield while Spurney and Liermann will play outfield and catcher, respectively. Manitowoc will be without three players that came over from Willamette University in Oregon. Max Stepan, Doug Bloom and T.C. Lee will be replaced by the recent batch of West Coast players in Galen Duff and Parker Johnson. Duff will play infield while Johnson will be a regular in the rotation according to Krowiorz.

“We lost a lot of offense in the Willamette guys,” Krowiorz said. “We’re really going to depend on some young guys to pitch and hope to win some close games. Players like Hall and Spurney will need to come through as veterans. There are no easy games in the Wisconsin State League. Beating Oshkosh in the first game (on June 22) was a good start though.”

Krowiorz said he likes how Spurney is playing so far this season. Spurney was a member of the UW-Stevens Point baseball team that made it to the NCAA Division III College World Series. Spurney hit .382 with seven home runs in the regular season for the Pointers to make honorable mention in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and has a .467 batting average through the Bandits’ first six games.

Phipps, who Krowiorz called the team’s leader on the mound, will eat up a lot of innings this season along with Edgewood College’s Miles Mayer. A healthy Chris Krepline will also see time on the mound along with Brennan Rhode and Gregg Herr. Joseph Jost, a 2009 graduate of Manitowoc Lutheran, was expected to pitch quite a bit but suffered a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum recently and will be out for the summer. He will have surgery during his Christmas break according to Krowiorz.

Pitching will be key to the Bandits, especially when they have back-to-back doubleheaders on the road on various weekends.

“Road trips really thin out a team,” Krowiorz said. “From a pure numbers standpoint it is really taxing because some players can’t even make the trips. That really helps stretch your staff thin.”

Manitowoc has had the services of Tony Jandron from Negaunee, Mich., but the St. Norbert College graduate will miss some games coming up while he attends tryouts for Major League Baseball teams, however.

Story by: Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter
Marques Trost: (920) 686-2136 or

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. | #WSL