Year in Review: A Look Back at the 2015 Season
Posted: October 1, 2015
One might compare the 2015 Sheboygan to an enthralling movie with a disappointing ending.
Enduring a managerial change less than two weeks into the season, the club adapted quickly to the low-key but no-nonsense style of Derek Loomans to finish with 33 victories (34 if you count a “gimme” forfeit win over Northern Illinois) against 18 losses.
They got those 33 wins with veterans on the mound, but with several first-year players in the line-up, including the critical catching and shortstop positions. And they showed remarkable elasticity. After losing 4 of 6 games including two poorly played 8-1 and 10-0 defeats, Loomans’ club bounced back to go 14-3 in their next 17 games and move into championship contention.
While it had more than its share of highlights, it turned out to be another “close, but no cigar” season for the A’s. They finished second to Lombard in the State League’s Long Season standings, second to West Allis in their division in the State League’s Short Season race, and second to Menasha in the Northeastern Wisconsin League. It marked the third straight year the A’s lost to the MACs in the NEW championship playoff.
Individual standouts? That comes down to who’s your favorite. A’s players are going to have to make difficult choices when they cast their MVP ballots. The Triple Crown tracks never had a “you-pick-em” race like the one that is going to be run for A’s post season honors.
Blake Fleischman (UW-Milwaukee last year but a transfer to UW-Whitewater this year) led the club in hitting with a .363 average and also led in triples with six and in slugging percentage, .566. He was one of five players with 100 or more appearances who hit over .300.
Carter Amundsen was runner-up at .344. The outfielder-third baseman finished the season at shortstop after Nate Heili shut down with a hand injury. Heili finished third in hitting at .328. Both Amundsen (Sheboygan South/Augustana) and Heili (Sheboygan Falls/UW-La Crosse) were in their first full seasons.
Harry Steldt, a UW-Stevens Point grad, came in at .318 and led the team in walks, hit by pitch and on base percentage, .497.
Dylan Deter (UW-Milwaukee), another first year player, hit .315 and led the team in runs scored.
And further, still another first year player, Wyatt Olson (Indian Hills) hit .294 and led the club in games played, appearances, at bats, hits, RBI, stolen bases, triples and total bases
Yet another “rookie” is Taylor Grimm (Lewis College transferring to UW-Oshkosh) led the club in sacrifice flies, doubles and home runs.
Defensively Dan Barwick (UW-Milwaukee) had an outstanding season in centerfield as did Adam Ryan (Marian University) at first base and catchers Grimm and fellow first year player Hayden Fenner (UW-Whitewater). Ryan had only one error in 205 chances for a team leading .995 fielding percentage.
Eric Schmitz led pitchers with a 5-0 record with a 1.88 ERA. The former UW-Whitewater star struck out 46 in 53 innings.
Taylor Schwarz had another great season, 5-1 and 2.19. Schwarz, who played at North Carolina-Greensboro and UW-Parkside, fanned 48 in 66 innings.
Left-hander Brandon Winfield emerged as the workhorse of the staff again, appearing in 14 games and completed six of 10 starts. The former Marian University star struck out 71 in 74 innings and posted a 7-4 record with a 2.69 ERA.
Weston Nelson was 3-1, AJ Alessi (Marian University) 3-2, Loomans 3-3 and Mark Wallace (Marian University) and Rob Hagedorn (Cardinal Stritch) both 2-1.
As a team the A’s hit an even .300. It was only the third time the club hit .300 or better since going to wood bats in 1999. The team ERA was 3.45 and the fielding average .946.
The Sheboygan A's are members of the Wisconsin State League and Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League. The A's have helped develop more than 43 players that have reached professional baseball, including 2002 World Series Champion Jarrod Washburn (Anaheim Angels). All Sheboygan A's home games are played at Wildwood Baseball Park in Sheboygan. Connect with the A's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.