GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Rockers began the second half of their season in style with a 7-6 win over the Lakeshore Chinooks on a steamy 4th of July afternoon. As great as that is, their Monday night, July 3, was much more exciting…
They won the first half crown for the Great Lakes West division after defeating the Madison Mallards and with some help from the Fond Du Lac Dock Spiders who defeated the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters – which means they punched their ticket to the 2023 Northwoods League Playoffs.
It’s the first time they’re headed there in about 10 years.
“Guys really stuck to what they believed in from the start,” said manager Chris Krepline. “Getting here it was 0-0 every game, play it like it was just the one (game at a time). We got to be in the present. They’ve been working their butts off and can’t be more proud of them.”
Heading into last weekend with the division title within their grasp, Krepline asked his team a very important question:
“Coach talked to us like, ‘hey guys we’re this close this close to getting it, how bad do you want it?’ And I felt like the team really came together, like you know if we really want this win we have to come together and we did and we got it,” said outfielder JoJo Jackson.
There’s no doubt about the talent on their roster, from pitching to hitting, but it’s the culture that’s helped them play so well.
“From Day 1, we really wanted them to get to know each other, get to know Green Bay, understand what this season is going to be and what they want out of it,” Krepline said. “They really took it to heart and everyday they’re constantly working on the culture of the team and they’re working for the greater good. They want to do really great things here.”
They describe themselves as one big family. No player is bigger than the team.
“We just don’t really have any solo personalities on the team,” said pitcher Brett Sanchez, who has a 2.04 ERA in a little more than 39 innings pitched. “We all want to be together, we all want to be a part of each other outside of baseball, inside of baseball and just in life.”
Every player joined the team to work on an aspect of their game, they all support each other and doing so with a pick me up attitude.
“Come pick me up instead of he sucks or anything like that, so I feel like that was more of an eye opener for me,” Jackson said. “I was like okay I can work with this team, we can work with each other as long as we got each other's back.”
Now the team can relax, they’ve made the playoffs no matter what happens in the second half of the regular season.
“It takes a lot of pressure off and I think for the second half it really helps with our guys getting on a developmental schedule,” Krepline said. “From today going all the way through until August these guys are going to be able to have that schedule of I can lift, I can go run, I know I can come hit and they’re going to basically have that schedule that every single day they know what to expect when they get here.”