Milwaukee-Rock League, 18+ Division
Tropics 17, Wauwatosa Warriors 6 (Game two in best of three series sweep)
Submitted by Henry Posnanski, Tropics manager
We had a great season this year going 18-2 in 19 games (one win by forfeit, playoffs included) thanks to our lineup having no weak spots anywhere. We led the league offensively in batting average (.336) hits (230) Extra base hits (73) runs scored (202) stolen bases (53) and Home Runs (23). I strongly believe we set a league record for home runs, but records for some seasons aren’t complete so I could not verify it.
Our home run leaders were Ryan Citro (7), Kevin Schoenbach (3), and Mike Robinson (3). Our RBI leaders were Ryan Citro (29), Kevin Schoenbach (18), Mike Robinson (16), and Jake Klekamp (16) Leading us in on-base percentage were Ryan Citro (.592), Felix Santiago (.583), Jake Klekamp (.578), and Kevin Schoenbach (.506). The leaders in batting average were Felix Santiago (.545), Jake Klekamp (.457), Ryan Citro (.415), and Riley Richarz (.415).
We led the league in pitching for earned runs (57), strikeouts (228), era (3.103), and whip (1.246), with five pitchers having ERAs under 3.00. Felix Santiago (1.440), Ty Ramirez (1.636), Jay Peters (1.862), Jake Klekamp (2.423), and Lucas Keller (2.930) led the way for us.
We won two games to 0 defeating the Wauwatosa Warriors, based out of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. They are a very strong team who made it to their fifth consecutive League Championship Series.
Game one: 9-2 win
Jake Klekamp started on the mound, giving up two runs on three hits in one inning, followed by Felix Santiago, who gave up 0 runs, on two hits and two walks over eight innings while striking out 18 batters.
Offensively we collected 11 hits with big games from Dylan Detert (2 hits 2 RBIs), Jake Klekamp (2 hits 1 HR 4 RBIs), Blake Correll (2 hits 1 RBI), and Felix Santiago (3 hits, 3 doubles, 1 RBI).
Game two: 17-6 win
We got a complete game by Lucas Keller, giving up six runs, five earned, with all runs scoring in the first inning on seven hits and one walk, while striking out two batters.
Offensively we had our most hits in a game all season with 25, led by Riley Richarz with three hits and two RBI, Felix Santiago had five hits, two doubles, and three RBI, Jake Klekamp pounded out six hits while collecting four RBI, and JD Gardner contributed three hits, one double, and one RBI. JD was playing in his last game with us, as he will be moving back to Florida. We affectionally called him “the southern boy.”
Thoughts on the team/season:
I am outrageously proud of this team and what we have accomplished in two seasons. Our team motto is “everybody love everybody” or “ELE” and this truly is a special team. I started the team because I can no longer play as much as I’d like to, or at the level I expect of myself due to a laundry list of injuries to my hips and back, so I decided to start my own team full of nothing but my friends, or friends of friends. I see myself as more of an “organizer” than a “manager” because every time I made a lineup, or a roster decision, many players on the team are involved, so I see it as “our” team.
On top of our ability to play high-quality baseball, we are a very close team, as some of my best friends are on the team, including friends from childhood, and people I coach with for the Milwaukee angels/ Midwest halos youth program.
The other coaches on the team are Ryan Citro, Ty Ramirez, Riley Richarz, and previously Felix Santiago. Felix has since started his own youth program called Heavy Hitter located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Other players who deserve mention are Kyle Iverson, a sure-handed middle infielder who has a heart of gold and never complained about a thing. Dominic Gutierrez, one of my childhood best friends that did wonders for me in terms of helping me out by coaching bases, working the scoreboard, recording stats, and overall keeping me calm in big situations, and never getting upset with me when I was short with him. He got into one game this year getting two plate appearances, getting a line-drive single, and a walk.
Ian Petoskey is one of the best defensive outfielders I’ve seen on a non-professional level. His older brother Kyle, a scrappy player who can play anywhere but mainly stays at third/second base, was our emergency catcher and a true role player who excels at his role and would be a key starter on just about any other team. Tyler Batchelor, who is a massive human being with insane power. We don’t have “advanced stats” but I’d be willing to bet he hits the ball harder than anyone in the league, hitting balls that many people on the team think could’ve been close to 110 mph off the bat. He is a truly impressive hitter who is never satisfied with “just” singles.
And lastly Logan Rademan, a soft-spoken middle infielder that has great hands in the field and at the plate. He is another player who understood his role on the team and played it very well without complaint. Logan was our youngest player and has a great future ahead of him as he continues his baseball career, winning a title this year as a key part of the West Allis Nationals in the Wisconsin State League.
In my heart, I truly believe that the Tropics are the best amateur baseball team in the state of Wisconsin, which of course could be biased, but I say that with no disrespect meant to any team in the other leagues in the state as they have great teams in fantastic leagues with lots of history. Those leagues include Land of Lakes Baseball, Rock River League, Wisconsin State League, and our Rock League Baseball 25+ division. Our team goal for next year is to cement our mark as the best, as I really hope to go undefeated, and repeat as champions. I think we can do it, and I will enjoy the challenge of making an already incredible team even better.