Booyah open season at new ballpark
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – A new era in Green Bay baseball has officially begun.
The Green Bay Booyah – formerly known as the Bullfrogs – kicked off its 36-game home schedule with a 12-6 Northwoods League (NWL) loss to Wisconsin Rapids June 1 at Capital Credit Union Park in Ashwaubenon.
The $14 million stadium, which is located at 2231 Holmgren Way, saw 2,317 attend opening night.
“Obviously, you want to win on opening night, but it was very exciting to kick things off,” said Booyah manager Tom Carty. “The guys were really excited to play. We didn’t get in until 4:45 a.m. [Saturday] from our long road trip. It was a great environment – we just came up short on the outcome.”
Green Bay (3-2 overall) came into the game winners of three straight after dropping its opener.
The Rafters (2-3) wasted little time in quieting the enthusiastic crowd in the opening inning.
They used two hits and an error to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
“This is going to be a good group of guys, but when you let the leadoff guy reach base four straight innings on a walk, you’re bound to run into trouble,” Carty said. “I know we will bounce back. The game is dictated by the guys in the [pitcher’s] circle. If they pound the zone, the results are usually good.”
The Booyah, who currently have only one returning player in Blaise Maris (Florida Tech) from last season on their roster, answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first.
Jacob Buchberger (Davenport) had an RBI single, while Justin Greene (Arizona Western) recorded a sacrifice fly.
Matt McDonald (Lamar), who came into the contest with two home runs in his first four games, legged out an infield hit in the inning but then came up gimpy with a leg injury.
“He has a slight hamstring pull,” Carty said about McDonald. “I think it’s a situation where he will be day-to-day.”
The Rafters would go on to score five more runs over the next three innings to take an 8-4 lead, chasing Green Bay starter Luke Wallner (Meridan College), who surrendered seven runs, with five being earned.
Bobby Dorta (Millersville) and Chris Jefferson (New Mexico St.) also saw action on the mound for the Booyah.
Green Bay plated two runs each in the third and fifth innings before seeing Rapids tally four more times in the ninth to close the scoring.
Buchberger had three hits, including a triple to the left-center gap, while Chase Hanson (UNLV) and Ty Herrenbruck (Pittsburgh St.) each added two to lead the Booyah.
Zach Raabe (Minnesota) reached base three times via base on balls.
Early in the season, NWL rosters are in constant change due to the fact that some players are still playing for their college teams in the postseason.
“Final rosters have to be set at the end of June,” Carty added. “Until then, we have some permanent guys on the roster but also some temporary players. To give you an example, we had five guys come in while we were on the road trip and joined us today.”
The same two teams conclude the two-game series Sunday, June 2, with a 5:05 game.
Editor’s note: The game also saw the return of former Green Bay manager Kirk Shrider, who is now an assistant coach with Rapids.
Shrider was the manager of Green Bay in 2018 in the team’s final season at Joannes Stadium.