Muskegon Clippers celebrate record-setting season

It’s been a remarkable season for the Muskegon Clippers. Muskegon’s summer collegiate baseball team has taken first place in its summer collegiate baseball division, matched a league-milestone 33-5 record, set an all-time record for the highest win percentage ever, and will host the first playoff game.

The Clippers will open the playoffs at home on Wednesday in historic Marsh Field at 7:05 p.m. against the Lima Locos in a short three-game North Division series. Game 2 will be Thursday in Lima, and Game 3, if necessary, would be back in Muskegon on Friday.

This year’s Clippers team members have excelled at their craft, bolstered by large enthusiastic crowds, great coaching, and experienced management. The Clippers are the talk of the town.

“There are not enough words to describe what these guys have done for 38 games,” says second-year Clippers head coach Logan Fleener. “It doesn’t matter what the score is, they are always ready to go after it. They don’t like to lose. It means something to these guys to be the best team in league history.”

Eyes on the championship

As proud as the Clippers are of their regular-season success, they won’t consider their job complete until they capture the team’s first Great Lakes League championship.

The Clippers are members of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, which is a developmental league for college athletes from across the country. These student-athletes are looking to hone their skills and possibly get spotted by baseball scouts as they hope for an opportunity in the major leagues.

The Clippers comprises players from universities such as Michigan State, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Oakland, Saginaw Valley State, Kellogg Community College, and Kalamazoo College. In addition, the roster includes players from states including Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, and Wyoming, as well as the Gold Coast in Australia.

The roster also features several high school standouts from West Michigan, including former players from Grandville, Forest Hills Northern, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Grand Rapids South Christian, Grand Rapids West Catholic, North Muskegon, and Mona Shores.

A special fan experience

The Clippers are coached by former Muskegon Clippers player Logan Fleener and pitching coach Deon Felger, with legendary high school coach Brian Wright as assistant coach. The Clippers' general manager is Walt Gawkowski, who also is co-owner with his brother, Pete Gawkowski.

What makes the franchise successful is creating a special fan experience, Pete Gawkowski says, adding the Clippers have gotten rave reviews from baseball experts and casual fans alike.  

“Not only is there great baseball played, but the fans love the historic ballpark, and the fun and interactive atmosphere that is created during the games,” he says.

The excitement includes: 
  • Walk-up music for the players
  • Sing-along for fans
  • The team’s famous Beer Batter
  • Contests and games for fans between innings
  • Dance along with fans
  • Guests performing the national anthem
  • Kids participating on the field in the introduction of players
  • And, finally, fans are allowed to run the bases after the games
The experience is designed to be affordable for families. Game tickets are $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens, $3 for students; $2 for children 5-12. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.


Muskegon Clippers draw community to historic baseball park


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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.