The Algoma 'Guins and Two Rivers Polar Bears traded places on top of the Shoreland League standings all year long during the 2018 season. The 'Guins lost both of their regular season games to the Polar Bears, their only two losses on the year, and had to settle for the #2 seed in the playoffs due to losing the head-to-head tie breaker. However, Algoma was able to win two of the three games from Two Rivers in the Shoreland League Championship Series and win their first Shoreland League title and first title for 'Guins baseball in 50 years.
Championship (3-game series)
#2 Algoma 'Guins (2-1) over #1 Two Rivers Polar Bears (1-2)
Game 1: Two Rivers Polar Bears 3, Algoma 'Guins 12
The 'Guins bats were hot in game one as they put up 12 runs on 15 hits. Five of the nine Algoma starters recorded two hits each. On the mound, Justin Alexander threw eight innings allowing three runs with five strikeouts.
Game 2: Algoma 'Guins 4, Two Rivers Polar Bears 5 (10 innings)
The Polar Bears staked out to a 3-0 lead but it wouldn't last as the 'Guins would eventually tie the game at three. Extra innings would be needed with the tie score at four apiece. Two Rivers catcher AJ Dollinger would bring in the winning run for the Polar Bears with a walkoff single to even the series at one game each.
Game 3: Algoma 'Guins 5, Two Rivers Polar Bears 3
The 'Guins grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by David VanDreese and a sacrifice fly by Bubba Laughlin. They increased their lead to 4-0 with a run scoring on an error and another run brought in by Laughlin. The Polar Bears would bring in their first run in the fifth on a groundout by Luke Mandich. Both offenses would go quiet for the next few innings until Algoma added an insurance run in the top of the ninth with, yet another, RBI from Laughlin to bring the score to 5-1. Two Rivers would not go down without a fight, however. The Polar Bears would load the bases with one out and score one run on a walk and another on a groundout to pull within two. An intentional walk would load the bases again but Nick Kita would get Dylan Knoepsel to fly out to center field for the final out of the game and secure the title for Algoma. Laughlin did most of the damage for the 'Guins going three for four with three RBI's.
(watch the 'Guins celebrate their series win - https://www.facebook.com/shorelandbaseballWI/videos/2131887533719628/)
FULL PLAYOFF RESULTS
#7 Manitowoc Heat 2, #4 Branch Blaze 17
The Heat took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Blaze offense responded with seven runs in the bottom of the inning and never looked back.
#6 Kewaunee Chiefs 10, #5 Casco A's 11
Offense was aplenty in the first round matchup between the A's and Chiefs which was, due to a wet end of the season, the first and only meeting of the two teams.
#5 Casco A's 6, #4 Branch Blaze 7 (10 innings)
A nominee for game of the year featured 42 total baserunners, multiple lead changes, and extra innings. The A's staked a 3-0 lead after the first inning, but Branch would retake the lead in the fourth. Casco went up one in the top of the sixth inning but Branch tied it in the bottom of the inning. Both teams went scoreless the next three innings to send the game to extras. Tied at six in the bottom of the tenth, Joe Janke roped a based loaded single to the outfield to bring home the winning running for the Blaze.
Semi-Finals (3-game series)
#2 Algoma 'Guins (2-0) over #3 Denmark Devilbears (0-2)
Game 1: Algoma 'Guins 4, Denmark Devilbears 2
The 'Guins took game 1 behind the two hits and two runs scored of Tom Sawyer and two RBI's of Austen Dart. Justin Alexander threw six plus innings of one run ball to get the win for Algoma.
Game 2: Denmark Devilbears 1, Algoma 'Guins 4
Game two and the series went to Algoma. All but one 'Guin batter reached base, led by two hits and a walk from Austin Rohe and 2 RBI's from Sam Forkert.
#1 Two Rivers Polar Bears (2-1) over #4 Branch Blaze (1-2)
Game 1: Branch Blaze 2, Two Rivers Polar Bears 5
The Blaze outhit the Polar Bears but the Branch defense committed five errors. Chris Rohr put the game away for Two Rivers with a bases loaded triple with two outs in the fifth inning. Jake Jeanquart got the complete game win striking out nine.
Game 2: Two Rivers Polar Bears 0, Branch Blaze 2
Branch put up single runs in the fourth and seventh innings and that's all the Blaze would need as AJ Lorrigan threw a complete game shutout. Four Branch batters had multiple hits, led by three from Joe Janke.
Game 3: Branch Blaze 3, Two Rivers Polar Bears 7
The Polar Bears were down 2-0 early but added runs in the fourth and fifth to tie the game at two. They broke the game open with five runs in the sixth inning and cruised to 7-3 win and series victory. Two Rivers starting pitcher Luke Mandich went the distance with 16 strikeouts.