There are always two kinds of horses in every race. The ones who want to get out front and just dominate the entire distance and the sleeper - that horse that will pace itself with the back of the pack, just waiting for the big burst at the end.
The Northwoods League is looking the same way right now. Duluth has held the front spot in the North Division for most of the second half. Both Alexandria and Mankato are within striking distance (2 and 2.5 games back respectively), but with less than a week left their time is running out.
And then there's the South. The once mighty Wisconsin Woodchucks, a team that looked unstoppable a couple of weeks ago, have fallen to third place. The Eau Claire Express have played well for most of the second half and are still holding on to a tenous lead over the charging Madison Mallards, and they're doing it with style. I was at Carson Park to watch my hapless La Crosse Loggers do battle with the Express on Sunday evening. After a seesaw battle, the Logger entered the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead. Single, walk, single and then BAM! Dominic Piazza crushed - and I do mean crushed - a grand slam into the trees over the right field fence.
Then the Express did it again on Monday. The capped the series with a two-out rally in the ninth to beat the Loggers again. I'm tellin' ya, if these guys hang on to their lead and make the playoffs, it'll be worth the trip to Eau Claire. Beautiful park hosting great baseball.