Chinooks eager for Northwoods League season

MEQUON, Wis. – With baseball season in full effect, you can expect new players and a season of excitement and dedication from the fans and the players in the Northwoods League.

On Friday, the Lakeshore Chinooks lost 7-5 to the Madison Mallards in their home opener. The result wasn’t what they hoped for, but the excitement of the home opener still lingered after the contest.

“It is always good to be playing here. If you look all around the league, there is nothing like night games here,” said Chinooks coach Trevor Cho. “It’s just the aesthetic of it, good to be back home.”

The Chinooks played their first four games on the road before returning to the cozy confines of Kapco Park, nestled on the shore of Lake Michigan.

“It was a lot of fun, although we didn’t get the result and play enough defense; it was fun being with the home fans,” said Chinooks shortstop Gabe Roessler. “They give us the push to keep the game as it was; it was fun being home with them.”

To start the season, the Chinooks’ roster is largely made up of players from Wisconsin or with ties to the state. With how quickly the Northwoods League begins after the conclusion of the NCAA Division I regular season, it’s a luxury for the Chinooks to play in a state that’s a growing hotbed for producing high school talent that goes on to play collegiately.

“You can get guys in and out pretty quickly, so Lakeshore is a pretty fortunate area for a lot of baseball players, and in 10 days, full-time guys get here who are local,” Cho said.

This season marks Roessler’s second summer playing with the Chinooks. A Rockton, Illinois, native, Roessler started his college career at Madison College and recently completed his junior season with the Milwaukee Panthers.

“I haven’t escaped the state, but I am starting to represent Wisconsin even though I am an Illinois native,” said Roessler.

The Northwoods League is a collegiate summer baseball wooden bat league known for developing college baseball players for potential future professional baseball opportunities. It is one of the premier amateur summer leagues. It consists of teams in the Midwest playing 70 games from Memorial Day to the second Saturday in August before the playoffs begin.

Sam Hunt is starting his third summer in the Northwoods League after playing for Eau Claire in 2021 and 2022. Hunt, a catcher who recently finished his redshirt sophomore season at Minnesota, appreciates the development opportunities the Northwoods League provides while passionate fanbases watch on every night.

“It’s always great to play the first home game,” Hunt said. “The fans were awesome. The park is awesome. I’m just excited to get out here and keep clicking out as a team.”

JJ Rodriguez
JJ Rodriguez
JJ Rodriguez recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, majoring in Journalism and Advertising/Public Relations. He has an extensive background in producing multimedia feature stories for various Milwaukee media outlets.

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