LA CROSSE, WIS — The La Crosse Loggers, the summer collegiate baseball team of the Northwoods League, finally were able to start play last week after a month-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the first game was anywhere from ordinary as the Loggers first foe was a large pack of opossums who had taken over Copeland Park.
Reports indicated that as many as 65 adult opossums had built homes around the field including on the pitchers mound, behind home plate, in both bullpens, and the visitor team’s dugout.
“They were everywhere, and they weren’t leaving,” said Loggers Manager Jason Nell, “so we decided to solve the problem the old-fashioned way: we play for it.”
Because the Lumber Yard is now home field for both squads, the umpire flipped a coin to see who received home field advantage. The opossums lost the toss on a debatable call by the umpire qualifying the opossum captain’s hiss as a call of heads. The Loggers took the field to start the game.
It appeared as though the Loggers were going to rout the opposing opossums right away as the marsupials did not appear to know any rules of play. But Loggers starting pitcher Schax Merzer struggled early on as the average adult opossum stands only two feet tall. This, in turn, made the strike-zone only approximately three inches across the plate. The opossums took advantage of this by showing amazing plate discipline as the Loggers pitcher walked the first nine opossum batters.
Once the opossums had batted (ie: walked) through the line-up once, Merzer started showing visual signs of frustration at one point calling the opossum leadoff hitter a “dumpster cat.” This led to the opossum charging the mound and attacking Merzer. Though Merzer was not critically injured, he was forced to leave the game as he had to go to the hospital to get rabies shots.
This appeared to be another strategy by the opossum team as they continued to bite any Logger player who attempted to apply a tag. With each bitten player forced to leave the game for mandatory rabies shots, the Loggers roster was quickly depleted to seven active players that included Louie the Logger mascot, the bat boy, and that one guy in the crowd who yells “DROP IT” on every pop up.
Once the Loggers fell below the necessary 7 players to compete, they were required to forfeit the game dropping the season record to 0-1 with the Loggers not recording a single out.
The final score: Opossums-12 Loggers-0
Reporter Dr. Jonathan H. Dong contributed to this article.