Sheboygan slated to host inaugural Wisconsin State League Challenge

July 12, 2013

The Sheboygan A's will host the inaugural Wisconsin State League Challenge this weekend.

Wisconsin State League

The Sheboygan A’s are sitting second-to-last in the six-team Wisconsin State League right now.

That’s a position the team could improve upon pretty quickly this weekend, though.

What: Wisconsin State League Challenge

Where: Wildwood Baseball Park and Field of Dreams, Sheboygan

When: Today through Sunday. Actual game times are as follows:

Oshkosh vs. Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m., at Wildwood

Kenosha vs. Lombard, noon, Wildwood
Lombard vs. Oshkosh, 2:30 p.m., Wildwood
Eau Claire vs. Kenosha, 2:30 p.m., Field of Dreams
Addison vs. Eau Claire, 5 p.m., Wildwood
Addison vs. Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m., Wildwood

Addison vs. Kenosha, noon, Field of Dreams
Lombard vs. Sheboygan, noon, Wildwood
Eau Claire vs. Oshkosh, noon, Field of Dreams
Eau Claire vs. Lombard, 2:30 p.m., Field of Dreams
Kenosha vs. Sheboygan, 2:30 p.m., Wildwood
Addison vs. Oshkosh, 2:30 p.m., Field of Dreams

Cost: $3 general admission for adults, $1 for students 17 and younger.

The semi-pro club has a chance over the next few days to put a serious dent in its seven-game gap behind league leader Lombard — and in front of a largely supportive audience, too. The A’s are scheduled to play four games at home against league opponents this weekend during the inaugural three-day Wisconsin State League Challenge, which begins today and runs through Sunday in Sheboygan.

“I think we’re fired up,” A’s general manager Denny Moyer said.

This is the first time the previously seven-team league has hosted the Challenge, Moyer said. After the Manitowoc Bandits dropped from the league last year, he explained, WSL teams faced playing a shorter-than-desired schedule. The fix: a weekend-long gauntlet in which each team plays four intra-league games at a central location. The Challenge won’t play like a tournament — there won’t be a “winner” on Sunday — and Moyer said the league could cease holding such Challenges in the future if a new seventh team joins the league.

The A’s won their league opener against Oshkosh in June, but have struggled since then against WSL teams. Sheboygan will carry a 4-8 league record into this weekend’s Challenge, and sits more than a half-dozen games behind the Lombard Orioles, who have proved the enviable cream of the league’s crop.

But the A’s, who have played well this season in their two other leagues, look to chug like a freight train into their four-game weekend. Sheboygan, which also plays in the Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League and the Frank Langsdorf League of Southeastern Wisconsin, won 11 straight games between July 1 and Wednesday — results from a game Thursday night in Manitowoc, a potential 12th straight win, weren’t available by press time — which should promise plenty of momentum for Sheboygan as the team readies for its bevy of WSL challengers.

“Our kids are really playing well,” Moyer said. “They’re seeing the ball well and they’re playing well defensively.”

Sheboygan will play the Oshkosh Giants at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Wildwood before playing the Addison Braves at the same time and place Saturday night.

Those are two winnable games — at least on paper. At 4-6, Oshkosh is sitting just one game ahead of Sheboygan in the WSL standings; plus, Sheboygan’s already beaten the Giants twice this season. The Braves, meanwhile, haven’t won a league game all year — results from a game Thursday night against Lombard weren’t available by press time — and sit in last place in the standings.

The A’s could face taller hurdles in their two games Sunday, though, when Sheboygan is scheduled to face off against Lombard at noon before taking on the league’s second-place Kenosha Kings at 2:30.

Moyer said the team isn’t overlooking anyone this weekend — not even its first two opponents — and isn’t expecting to rely too much on any perceived momentum the A’s run of recent wins may provide.

“We’re playing well, and that’s a good thing,” he said, before noting he isn’t sure what impact — if any — the club’s strong recent play will have on its performance this weekend. “… You’ve got to play every pitch. And what you did yesterday really doesn’t count.

“You can’t look ahead. You’ve got to play every game as it comes,” Moyer added, referring to this weekend’s contests against Oshkosh and Addison. “These teams can hit. … All it takes is one bad inning and the game’s over. Never count your chickens.

“We’ve got to win the games,” he said. “You know, the opportunity’s always there. It’s just a matter of playing well.”

Story by: The Sheboygan Press

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