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Official website of the Wisconsin State League

Dodgers Begin First Year in Wisconsin State League

May 31, 2016

Wisconsin State League baseball returns to Northeast Wisconsin for the first time since 1999, with the De Pere Dodgers beginning their inaugural season this summer.

Wisconsin State League

GREEN BAY – Wisconsin State League baseball returns to Northeast Wisconsin for the first time since 1999, with the De Pere Dodgers
beginning their inaugural season this summer.

The Dodgers bring a
hometown feel from the top down, with Dennis Ruh as general manager,
Notre Dame Academy baseball head coach Doug Coe as manager and many
former local high school players on the roster.

Ruh was a part of
the Wisconsin State League in its first season in 1970, as he led the
Green Bay Blue Ribbons organization to 13 championships in 26 seasons.
Now at age 75, Ruh is back in the game he loves.

“It is very exciting for me, at 75 years old I feel rejuvenated,” Ruh said. “Baseball is and always has been in my blood.”

Ruh
says the formation of the Dodgers came from trying to find a way for
local college kids to continue playing baseball in the summer, and after
receiving funds, the team began forming in November of 2015.

With
the funds in place, Ruh and the rest of the board of directors hired
Coe in February to be manager and player for the Dodgers. Ruh feels Coe
was the perfect fit to manage the team.

“At his age he is old enough to connect with the young players easier, yet he is old enough to get respect from them,” Ruh said.

As
head varsity coach at Notre Dame, Coe knows most of the roster from
coaching locally and believes it helps the players come in ready to play
with a good comfort level.

“Looking at the roster, it looks like
we have an area all-star FRCC team,” Coe said. “Almost all the schools
locally have one or two guys on our team. We wanted to have that
hometown feel.”

The team is made up of players from ages 18-39
from schools such as Green Bay East, Bay Port, Notre Dame Academy,
Kewaunee, St. Norbert College and more.

Players that excite Ruh
and Coe are Joe Baier, a former FRCC player of the year for Bay Port in
2015, currently playing for Chicago State, and Tyler Nehring from De
Pere, who currently plays at Winona State.

Other former area high
school players on the Dodgers roster include Jacob Watzka from Green Bay
East, Zach Abfall from Bay Port, Sam Kohnle from Kewaunee, Jack Collins
from Denmark and Austen Dart of Algoma.

With many of the players
from Northeast Wisconsin, Coe says it was easy for the team to mesh
together really quick from telling stories about playing each other
through the years.

Ruh noticed the team chemistry immediately in a moment after practice that impressed him.

“After
giving some instructions I walked away and leadership took over with
someone initiating a 1-2-3 Dodgers to end practice,” Ruh said. “I
thought it was great because no one told them to do that, they just did
it.”

Both Coe and Ruh consider the Wisconsin State League to be
one of the toughest and premiere semi-professional baseball leagues in
the Midwest that features a lot of young and older talent. As a younger
team, the season will be a learning experience for many of the players
playing in a wood bat league against older players that have some
experience playing professional baseball.

“As older players and
vets we try to teach not only the fielding, hitting, throwing part, but
the mental approach,” Coe said. “When you play against teams with 30-35
year olds, they’ll beat 18 year olds every single day because they’re
smarter in the game. We try to teach them as much as we can to help them
in their college career.”

With a 30-game schedule beginning on
Thursday, the expectations for the first-year team are high as Coe
believes he has the players who are hungry to prove something and win.

“My
personal goal is to win it all,” Coe said. “We want to come in right
away and show that we belong. I told my guys that we are going to win.”

2016 DE PERE DODGERS SCHEDULE

Note: All home games are played at Westwood park

June 2: at Little Chute, 7:30 p.m.

June 5: TBD, 1:00 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

June 7: vs. Appleton, 7:30 p.m.

June 9: vs. Marinette, 7:30 p.m.

June 11: at Kenosha, 3:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

June 13: vs. Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m.

June 15: vs. Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m.

June 16: vs. Oshkosh, 7:30 p.m.

June 18: vs. Lombard, 5:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

June 19: vs. Lombard, 1:00 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

June 20: at Appleton, 7:30 p.m.

June 21: vs. Oshkosh, 7:30 p.m.

June 23: at Two Rivers, 7:30 p.m.

June 25: at Addison, 5:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

June 26: at Addison, 12:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.

June 28: at Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m.

July 7: vs. Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m.

July 9: vs. West Allis at Wildwood Baseball Park, 10:00 a.m.

July 9: vs. Addison at Wildwoood Baseball Park, 2:00 p.m.

July 10: vs. Lombard at Wildwood Baseball Park, 12:00 p.m.

July 10: vs. Kenosha at Wildwood Baseball Park, 5:00 p.m.

July 11: at Oshkosh, 7:30 p.m.

July 15: at Marinette, 7:30 p.m.

July 18: vs. Hoffa Park, 7:30 p.m.

July 19: vs. Oshkosh, 7:30 p.m.

July 21: vs. Little Chute, 7:30 p.m.

July 23: at West Allis, 3:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

July 25: vs. Branch Blaze, 7:30 p.m.

July 26: at Sheboygan, 7:30 p.m.

July 27: vs. Two Rivers, 7:30 p.m.

July 30: vs. Kenosha, 5:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

July 31: vs. West Allis, 1:00 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

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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