Sheboygan A's Baseball

A’s Register Pair of Opening Day Victories

Posted: May 28, 2017

A solid pitching performance overcame what appeared to be some Opening Day offensive jitters and the Sheboygan A’s recorded a sweep in the festive atmosphere of the Citgo-sponsored, Pat McCurdy enhanced 2017 opener.

The A’s eeked out 1-0 and 4-3 victories over the Marinette Redbirds in Northeastern Wisconsin League play Saturday afternoon at Wildwood Park.

A pair of Bens filled the hero roles in game one with late-game heroics.

John VanderPloeg (St. Cloud State commit) opened the top of the final seventh inning, his second inning of relief for Eric  Schmitz (UW-Whitewater alum) in this still scoreless tie, by walking Marinette’s first two hitters.

Enter Ben Folger (Ripon College). Two on, nobody out, top of the seventh. A sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in an unsuccessful fielder’s choice and now the bases were loaded with nobody out. Here Folger got a big strikeout and then Jason Hofer lined out to first baseman Mitch Sutton (UW-La Crosse) who stepped on first to double off the runner and the A’s were out of the inning.

Charged by the escape, the crowd got in the game and howled when Mitch Sutton walked to start the bottom of the seventh.

Enter Ben Gordon (Upper Iowa alum), as a pinch runner for Sutton. Taking a teasing lead, Gordon took off for second when Marinette pitcher Brian Bell threw over to first. Gordon beat the throw to second and had a stolen base. Then A’s manager Derek Loomans had first-year outfielder Mark Wanner (Indian Hills) in full bunt mode and Wanner got the bunt down. Bell made an errant throw to first. Gordon never slowed rounding third and came in with the game-winning run.

In game two Josh Moses (UW-Platteville) scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the fifth inning on a wild pitch. Zac Cain (Upper Iowa University) got two hits to lead the A’s offensively. Brad Nehring (Marian University) got the win and Aiden Wojciehowski (Loras College) the save.

Both starters, Eric Schmitz in game one and Rodney Valdes (Indian Hills) in game two, had solid starts although both dealt with control issues. Schmitz overcame his, striking out seven and giving up only one hit in his five innings. Valdes overcame six walks before leaving with two out in the fourth.

The A’s return to action Wednesday night with a 7:30 Wisconsin State League game against the West Allis Nationals. After that comes three straight road games before they return home June 6 to play Oshkosh in the annual Sponsors Night game.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.