WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. (BVM) – The long awaited Whitefish Bay baseball state championship finally came this year. The Blue Dukes have been one of the best baseball teams in the state over the last three to four years with multiple players going on to play Division I baseball. However, Whitefish Bay has come up short in the postseason each year until now and JD Dix understands how important this state title is.
“It’s surreal,” Dix said. “After the heartbreak of last season with all of our guys, I think it was a good comeback season. The only word I would use is surreal.”
Dix, an Alabama commit from the Class of 2024, has played on varsity since his freshman year. He’s well aware of the talent that led the Blue Dukes in previous years, guys that gave their all to the program. For Dix, that specifically means Brady Counsell who was a senior when he was a freshman and taught Dix a lot during their one season together.
“Playing freshman year kind of helped me decide that I really wanted to do this when I was older,” Dix said. “He (Counsell) was committed to Minnesota, he was a big help with my recruiting process and showing me that I could do it and giving me hope that I could.”
Dix committed to Alabama his freshman year but he had to wait two years to get that final win of the high school baseball season. He learned how to be a leader during that time. This year as a junior, he was ready to step up and help seniors Jack Counsell and Austin Wienke lead the team.
It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of young players and guys from Dix’s grade who didn’t have much varsity experience but that seemed to work in Whitefish Bay’s favor.
“I think we definitely dealt with more failure this year,” Dix said. “I think we failed many more times and that’s kind of what built our team to win it in the end. That’s what kind of made it special, we didn’t win every single game. I think in the first two seasons, my freshman and sophomore year, I think we only lost twice or three times in a whole year.”
The Blue Dukes lost seven games this year during the regular season. But like Dix said, it brought the team together and the leadership from Jack, Dix and Weinke created a team that was ready to make a run to state.
Once at state, it was the team’s quarterfinal win against Menomonee Falls that showed Dix that the Blue Dukes could win it all. Whitefish Bay scored the first four runs of the game and went on to win 7-5. The Blue Dukes then crushed Stevens Point and beat Hortonville in the state championship 5-1.
Dix played great throughout the run. The shortstop had a .373 batting average and a 1.159 OPS this season with 25 RBIs, a testament to the hard work Dix has put into his baseball game. That development has come a long way and started well before his high school career.
The offense then added three more runs in the frame to extend their lead to 4️⃣-0️⃣. pic.twitter.com/Iq3umo1k1e
— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) June 14, 2023
The Crimson Tide commit was originally more into swimming than baseball but once he moved to Wisconsin, he made the switch to focusing on baseball. Dix joined the Hitters baseball program and started to see what his potential really was.
“I saw so many things that were going right and that could go right in the future…so I just saw more of the growth aspect,” Dix said.
Dix became a switch hitter, inspired to do so because of the player he enjoyed watching the most: Francisco Lindor. Lindor also contributed to him wanting to play shortstop along with the fact that shortstops get to move around quite a bit during games. That mobility around the infield drew Dix to the position.
“Shortstop, not being biased or anything, but definitely the best position out on the field,” Dix said.
He’s now one of the best shortstops in the nation and is projected to be drafted early in the 2024 MLB Draft. Dix is also the only commit from a northern state that Alabama has in its 2024 recruiting class.
That fact is a source of pride and motivation for Dix. He can’t play year round like ball players from the South or the West coast so he makes sure that when he gets the chance to face those players on a national stage, he’s ready. There is also a sense of pride for being one of a growing number of talented players coming out of Wisconsin.
‘24 SS JD Dix (WI) showing why he’s one of the top prospects in the country.
Best at-bats of the day with hits from both sides including this 2K single 👇
— Shooter Hunt (@ShooterHunt) August 13, 2022
“You have a long list of guys coming out of Wisconsin and more and more are growing too,” Dix said.
Guys like Jarred Kelenic, Gavin Lux, Owen Miller and Noah Miller along with his own teammates at Whitefish Bay are representing Wisconsin well. Now, Dix is a part of that group but he still has one more year of high school baseball left.
It’s his turn to be the senior leader for the Blue Dukes and now that they have won the state championship, he will have to lead the defense of it.