Several BABA races still left to be determined as season winds down

Gresham holds slim lead in East, one of the tightest division races
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Contributed photo John Dunlavy and the Clintonville A’s are chasing Gresham in the East Division.

Through nine weeks of the Badger Amateur Baseball Association (BABA) season, a number of teams have enjoyed strong seasons. Yet with just a few weeks remaining in the season, the league’s division races are still up for grabs.

The final games of the regular season will be played on Aug. 5, with the divisional semifinals taking place on Aug. 12. The top four teams in each division will take part in the division semifinals.

The division semifinal winners will square off in the division finals on Aug. 19, with the winning team from each division reaching the BABA semifinals. The two semifinals will be played on Aug. 26, with the winners advancing to the BABA Grand Championship on Sept. 2.

The Gresham Gophers lead the East Division with a 7-0 record, one of just two undefeated BABA teams remaining. Despite its perfect mark, Gresham holds just a one-game lead over the Clintonville A’s (6-1).

Gresham claimed a 9-7 win in the team’s lone matchup of the year on June 10. The teams also have a game remaining, July 29 in Clintonville.

In order to lock up the division title, the Gophers will lean on a balanced offensive attack led by Nate Ejnik (.515 batting average). Tom Nietzer, Pete Carroll, Joe Ejnik and Mike James have also enjoyed impressive summers at the plate so far. Gresham also features the strong pitching duo of Josh Foreman and Derek Bowman. Foreman has earned four wins on the mound while logging 27 1/3 innings. Bowman has worked 24 innings, claiming the teams other three wins along the way.

Clintonville also boasts a strong offense, led by Parker Mindell. Hunter Vollmer and Turner Doornink also have turned in strong starts at the plate. Jake Madson has handled most of the work on the mound, helping the A’s to three shutout wins to open the year. The Clintonville pitching staff has allowed just 13 runs all season.

Neopit sits third in the East Division standings with a 5-3 record, 2½ games back of Gresham. Alex Peters, Dustin Peters and Mike Pecore have served as the Chiefs’ top hitters while Dallas Madosh and Bob Peters have handled most of the innings on the mound.

Marion (3-5) has a chance to make the division semifinals, but faces up uphill battle as it faces Gresham and Neopit in the next two weeks. Menominee (1-5) and Shawano (1-6) have gotten off to slow starts this summer could could make the division race interesting if either team were able to pull off upsets.

The West Division also offers up a tight division race, with Little Falls (6-2) leading the way but Tigerton (5-2) and Caroline (4-3) hot on its trail.

Little Falls has been dominant in its six wins this summer, outscoring teams 66-14. Kal Fischer (.419 avg.) leads a dangerous offense, with a supporting cast of Kasey Morgan, Hunter Gruenwald, Cameron Gruenwald and Nate Korb wreaking havoc on opposing team’s pitching staffs. The Loggers’ pitching staff has been a balanced one, with several guys toeing the rubber. Chris Dunn has earned three wins while Jeremy Bauer claimed the team’s other two.

The Tigerton Tigers sit just a half-game back in the division race and are currently on a two-game winning streak. Outside of two lopsided losses, the team has also looked dominant in its wins, outscoring teams 61-19.

The Caroline Cougars are 1½ back of the division lead and face a tough challenge if it hopes to put pressure on Little Falls before the end of the season. After hosting Leopolis this weekend, the Cougars will play four straight road games, including tests against Tigerton and Gresham.

Leopolis (2-4), Bowler (2-5) and Tilleda (1-7) all sit at least three games behind Little Falls but are all within two games of the final division playoff spot.

The seven-team Northern Division is currently being controlled by a 6-1 Eland team. Elderon (4-3) which is tied for second, has a chance to narrow that margin when the teams schedule a makeup game.

Jarod Richter has been in a groove all summer on the mound and earned all six of the Eland wins. The Engineers have allowed more than three runs just three times this season.

Wittenberg (4-3) has enjoyed both tight wins and losses this summer. The Pilots have dropped two one-run games and has been outscored by a total of five runs in its three losses. Wittenberg has won each of four its games by three runs or fewer, outscoring opponents 26-19 along the way.

Erik Steigerwald, Wittenberg’s manager, leads the team with a .407 average while Dominik Anderson holds a .310 average. Anderson and Steigerwald have also handled most of the pitching for the Pilots, tossing 31⅓ and 16 innings, respectively.

Polar (3-4), Birnamwood (3-4) and Hatley (3-5) are separated by just a half-game for the division’s final playoff spot.

Birnamwood has won two of its last three games after a three-game losing streak left the team with a 1-3 record. All of the losses in the losing streak came by one run. The wins have been convincing, with the Kings outscoring opponents 23-3.

Aniwa (2-6) sits just a game back of the final playoff spot. Each of the Orioles’ games this summer has been decided by three runs or less.

In the South Central Division, Waupaca (8-0) holds down the top spot while Scandinavia (7-1) follows closely behind. Plover (4-3) is the only other conference team over .500. Omro and Weymont are each tied for fourth with 2-6 records while New London (0-7) is still looking to find its stride.