The Waterloo Bucks open there 2005 Northwoods League season tonight as they host Rochester at Riverfront Stadium. This will be the start of the 11th season for Waterloo in the Northwoods League which is a summer baseball league comprised of teams featuring some of the top college players from across the nation who have NCAA eligibility. Players are not paid and it’s a wooden bat baseball league. Waterloo General Manager John Olsen feels the Northwoods is the top college summer baseball league in the country. He says there are other leagues, but he says there’s no finer place in the country to hone your skills. He says it’s as close as you can get to playing pro ball. Ryan Norman, a Spirit Lake native who’s a sophomore outfielder at UNI, is on the Bucks roster and is excited to play in the league. He says there are a lot of good players from all over the country in the league and it’s a good experience for everyone. Jason Shockey, an assistant coach at Iowa Western, will guide the Bucks this summer. Shockey replaces Andy Haines who resigned last year after leading Waterloo to a 32-32 record. Two new franchises have been added to the Northwoods League this year with Brainerd, Minnesota and Eau Claire, Wisconsin now joining the league to give the NWL a total of 12-teams.
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