Luke Hansel, A Local Name That You Want To Remember

LukeHansel dominated the Chicago Dogs

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. – In a pitcher’s duel, the Lake Country DockHounds fell to the Chicago Dogs 7-0 Tuesday in Wisconsin Brewing Company Park. But the final score doesn’t tell the whole story. 

In just his fourth career start, Luke Hansel dominated the Dogs. After getting knocked around in the first, Hansel yielded a two-run home run to former MLB player Narciso Crook. After that, Hansel didn’t flinch. 

“I pride myself on pounding the zone so when things like that happen early in a game, I just settle in and realize it’s going to happen,” Hansel said. “Like today, if you settle in, things will usually go good the rest of the way.”

The rookie proceeded to stifle Chicago’s offense as he was extremely efficient. With his mindset of attacking the zone and trusting the defense, Hansel pitched deep into the game. Hansel went 8 ⅔ innings, one out shy of Lake Country’s first complete game since July 20, 2022. 

“I was pretty frustrated with myself,” Hansel said of being unable to complete the feat. “As a pitcher, you never want to hand the ball off. I trust every one of the new guys coming in, but as a starting pitcher, you definitely want to stay in the game and have it be yours to finish.”

However, for a pitcher with a handful of professional starts, pitching on four days’ rest and transitioning from college ball, Hansel’s outing becomes even more remarkable. 

“I think the guys did a really nice job of getting me into the culture of pro baseball and out of college ball,” Hansel said. “It was eye-opening the first start, but since then, I have been able to settle in and be more dominant.”

The Caledonia, Wisconsin native pitched for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier this year – and he did so well. He finished with a 3.41 era in 89.1 innings pitched. But Tuesday’s outing was like he was still in college. Overwhelming hitters with his fastball, missing barrels and generating weak contact. 

Hansel’s stat line inflated due to the ninth, but not entirely because of him. After getting two outs in the ninth, his pitch count rose over 100 pitches. The Dogs were getting harder contact, and Hansel was also hit by a comebacker thus giving manager Ken Huckaby all the reason to justify a move to the bullpen. 

However, the decision backfired. 

Matt Mullenbach stepped in with the bases loaded and hit the first batter he faced in a 1-2 count before getting tagged for back-to-back run-scoring hits, including a three-run double deep to center field. 

After being no-hit until the fifth inning, the DockHounds’ deficit of 2-0 felt steep enough, let alone a seven-run hole. Lake Country collected just two hits off the Dogs’ pitching staff. The DockHounds have now scored just one run in their last 18 innings of play. 

With Hansel’s dominant outing wasted, the offense will need to regroup to salvage this series. Lake Country is back at 6:35 on Wednesday for game two against Chicago in Wisconsin Brewing Company Park.

Written by: Noah Douglas

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