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Season wraps up for Blue Anchors

Blue Anchors pitcher Spencer Koopmans of UC Davis threw during Alexandria's 6-0 win over Wisconsin Rapids last Thursday. Koopmans had his best start of the summer, tossing a complete-game shutout by scattering nine hits and just one walk. He struck out six and finished with a 3-1 record on the season. (Echo Press photo by Blaze Fugina)

In his first year as the Blue Anchors' manager, Al Newman did not achieve the record he envisioned for the inaugural season of the new franchise in Alexandria.

But many of his goals for player development this summer were reached. With the season now complete for the Blue Anchors, Newman is happy with the improvements that many of the players showed throughout the summer.

"When the season started, I set out to win a championship, but obviously that's not going to happen," Newman said. "But from that point on, when I realized we weren't going to win, it became more important to teach the guys obviously how to play the game and how to get better for their college season."

As a team, the Blue Anchors showed some improvement as the season progressed. They finished in last place in the North Division during the first half with a 10-24 record. In the second half, they improved to 14-22 and finished in sixth place. The Blue Anchors finished with an overall record of 24-46.

"As far as development, I think the players got better," Newman said. "I can look at three or four guys that, when they came here, learned and developed, and that's what this league is all about."

Before the season began he signed a three-year contract to manage the Blue Anchors. Newman hopes to be back for the next two years as manager of the team.

"I'm hoping to be back as well as Mike Robles, the pitching coach," Newman said. "The staff, I know I signed a three-year contract, but they may renegotiate it and get me out. But I'd love to stay."

Spencer Koopmans is one player who felt confident that he will return to UC Davis this fall as an improved pitcher.

He had a 3-1 record in eight starts this season, finishing with a 4.74 ERA. Although Koopmans did not have the season he envisioned on the mound, he felt confident that his summer in the Northwoods League gave him some insight on pitching.

"I definitely learned some things here from the coaches and my teammates, and just getting work, so I'm definitely going to try to take that back to school with me next year," Koopmans said.

Catcher Michael Barash, from Louisiana State University, played in 32 games this year, hitting .257 with two home runs and 15 RBIs. He worked with Newman and the Blue Anchors coaching staff on improving his swing.

"Me and Newmie have been putting some good work in, making constant adjustments," Barash said.

He said the players were committed to improving their games during the season. In a league comprised of collegiate players, development is always a goal for them.

"The guys here, they're just constantly learning," Barash said. "That's all we can really ask for without stressing over the little things. It's just constantly learning and getting better as baseball players."

Barash felt that the team improved in the second half thanks to improved pitching and a steady offense.

"We struggled a little bit in the first half, but the second half we started playing better baseball," Barash said. "Pitching started coming around, and we're hitting well."


ALEXANDRIA - 130 000 051 - 15 14 1

THUNDER BAY - 010 010 530 - 10 16 1

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Tyler Beck - 6.1IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2SO; Dominic Reed - 0.2IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 0SO; Andy Johnson - W, 3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 3SO; Ben Allen - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Jake Bergren - 2-6, 2B, 2 runs, RBI; Kris Goodman - 1-5, 2B, run, 2 RBIs, 2 BBs; Shea Molitor - 1-6, 2B, 2 RBIs, BB; Tim Cusick - 2-6, run, BB; Michael Barash - 1-6, 2 runs, BB; Dalton Leuschke - 1-4, 4 runs, BB; Andrew Mulato - 3-5, 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Tyler Curtis - 2-3, 2 runs, RBI, BB; Allen - 1-5, run, 2 RBIs, BB

ALEXANDRIA - 210 213 000 - 9 12 2

THUNDER BAY - 302 005 26x - 18 19 2

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Travis Famias - 3IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 1SO; Ben Larpenter - L, 3IP, 7H, 5R, 4ER, 0BB, 1SO; Jake Hanzalik - 2IP, 6H, 8R, 7ER, 3BB, 0SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Bergren - 1-4, run, 2 RBIs, BB; Goodman - 1-4, 2 runs, RBI, BB; Molitor - 1-4, run, RBI; Cusick - 1-4, 2 runs; Barash - 1-4, 2 RBIs, BB; Leuschke - 1-5, 2 RBIs; Mulato - 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 runs, RBI, BB; Curtis - 1-4, run; Allen - 3-3

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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