THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Bulldog Baseball Team Ready to Defend Packerland Title
Issue Date: March 21, 2019
The Peshtigo Bulldogs baseball team returns much of the roster that surprised some people by going 17-6 overall and claimed the Packerland crown in its first year in the conference.
In the preseason, the Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh of nine teams by coaches. This year, things will be different.
"This year, we will have the bullseye on our back," Bulldogs coach Neal Henrigillis said. "However, I think this group is up for the challenge."
Aside from the loss of some key offensive weapons like Trevor Bloch and Riley Reif, Peshtigo's roster is largely the same as last year's conference championship squad.
Nine players return, including first-team all-conference pitcher Darren Dionne, first-team infielder Brandon Eick and second-team utility man Nick Nielson.
Other seniors returning to the roster include shortstop Travis Plym and outfielders Jared Potkay and Jared Madsen. Dionne will also likely see some time in the outfield, while Eick will likely start at first. He can also fill in as an outfielder.
Juniors Brady Heroux and Jacob Gordon are likely penciled in to take the third and second base spots, respectively, while sophomore Zack Wallin will likely replace Reif behind the dish at catcher.
Senior Nolan Lemke, Nielson, Heroud, Gordon and Mitchel Peters will all get their chance on the mound, though Dionne will undoubtedly anchor the pitching staff.
"If we can stay healthy and the team can pick up the leadership that we lost from last season, I truly believe the sky is the limit for this group," Henrigillis said. "It all depends how much they want it and how much they are willing to sacrifice to get there. This is one of the best opportunities for our team in the five years I have been coaching in the Peshtigo baseball program."
Henrigillis said he thinks Sturgeon Bay, Kewaunee and Oconto will be the team's top competition for the conference crown and he expects every team's best pitching on a nightly basis.
One big change for Peshtigo will be at playoff time, when the Bulldogs will take on Division III competition as opposed to the usual DII regional bracket.
"It is exciting to go from one of the smallest Division II schools in the state to now one of the larger division III teams," Henrigillis said. "Our regional features a lot of local schools, highlighted by Oconto, Coleman and Bonduel. It will be a lot of fun going up against some local rivals in playoff time. We look forward to the opportunity of competing for a regional championship and hopefully make a push into sectionals this season."
Weather and field conditions pending, Peshtigo opens the season at home against Kewaunee on March 30.