Expect Mallards to extend manager Donnie Scott

MADISON, Wis. — Despite another heartbreaking end to the season, the Madison Mallards can be expected to bring back manager Donnie Scott for a fifth season.

In an interview with the Wisconsin Sports Zone Network on July 20, team president Vern Stenman called Scott “our guy,” adding that he generally signs one-year contract extensions.

“He’s not going anywhere,” Stenman said. “He’s actually turned down a [MLB] coaching job within the last year so that he can stay here in Madison  because he loves what he’s doing with us…We’re excited to have him be the leader of these guys on the field.”

The Mallards finished the 2016 season with a 43-30 record, good enough for second overall in the Southern Division. They lost Monday night in the opening round of the playoffs to the Battle Creek Bombers 9-8, falling short of a four-run comeback.

It was the second straight season of heartbreak for the Mallards, who lost in the Kenosha Kingfish in walk-off fashion in the 2015 Southern League Championship game.

Scott has led the Mallards to a pair of Northwoods League Championships, most recently in 2013. Oddly enough, he won his very first championship with the Bombers in 2011 on his way to NWL Manager of the Year.

Mallards magic runs out in 9-8 playoff loss

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards season came to a close Monday night, falling to the Battle Creek Bombers 9-8 in the first round of the Northwoods League playoffs.

Left fielder Josh Stowers (Louisville) went 4-for-4 at the plate, giving Madison the early lead with a two-run home run in the second inning. But Heath Renz (UW | Whitewater) struggled on the mound, finishing with three innings of six-run baseball. He walked two batters in the loss as well.

The Bombers would grab a 4-2 lead in the third inning on a three-run blast into the Duck Blind from outfielder Dean Miller. Madison’s star outfielder and RBI leader, Zach Jarrett, tried to save it from going over the wall, but his momentum carried him out of the field of play.

Stowers’ second deep ball of the night came in the bottom half of that same inning, driving in three and recapturing the lead, 5-4. His performance stemmed from a chance he made before the game.

“In batting practice, I tried something else out and it worked, so I just took it to the game and looked for something to hit and thankfully I hit two home runs,” Stowers recalled sheepishly. “I really wasn’t trying to hit home runs. I was trying to hit the ball hard somewhere and two times it ended up over the fence.”

Battle Creek went on a tear, scoring five runs in the next three innings. Madison’s defensive errors aided the Bombers in their efforts to extend the lead. It became 9-5 in favor of Battle Creek after a ball thrown from catcher Joe Stefanki got past third baseman Nelson Maldonado in an attempt to hold a runner 90 feet from home.

“We just looked at each other and said ‘We came in here as a group and told each other we weren’t leaving without a fight,'” Stefanki said after the game. “That fight was given in the ninth [inning] and we came out with some positive attributes.”

The Mallards would commit three total errors and struggle to push runners across the plate as it got into the later innings. In the bottom of the seventh inning, however, Stowers provided a spark with yet another RBI, making it 9-6, Battle Creek.

From there, it was center fielder Cameron Frost who delivered hope for the Mallards. His two-run blast in the eighth brought Madison to within one run. After a pitching change by Battle Creek, Madison was able to load the bases in the bottom of the 9th with one out left.

But Battle Creek would secure the final out anyway and advance to face the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Looking back on the season, Stefanki sees only positives moving forward for the Mallards.

“[Team president] Vern [Stenman] and [team owner] Steve [Schmitt] do a great job here. This place runs fabulously. We all think it’s the best team in the nation to play for in the summer with the fan base. The fans are great, the team’s great, and they recruit with a mindset of bringing a family together.”

 

Mallards discuss Pokémon GO, All-Star Game

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Mallards All-Star representatives Zach Jarrett and Troy Bacon have a lot to live up to, whether it be competing in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game or defending a gym on Pokémon GO.

Bacon and Jarrett will represent Madison in the Northwoods League All-Star Game on July 19 held in Kenosha, Wis.

Jarrett, who leads the Mallards with 34 RBI, will also participate in the inaugural Northwoods League Home Run Derby held the day before the All-Star Game. A press release from the NWL describes the one-of-a-kind event, with the participants “batting from a pier that extends in to Lake Michigan. Sailboats from the Kenosha Yacht Club will serve as the foul poles to mark the dimensions of Simmons Field and a floating barrier will mimic the outfield wall. Derby participants will attempt to hit home runs over the floating barrier into the downtown Kenosha Harbor.”

“I’m sure it’s going to be a great time,” said Jarrett, son of NASCAR great Dale Jarrett. “The Home Run Derby is always fun for the guys that are in it and everybody else that’s watching…To see what everybody can do is a lot of fun.”

Not nominated for the derby, but joining Jarrett on the All-Star roster is Troy Bacon, currently with a 6-and-2 record (the first NWL pitcher to reach six wins this season). Bacon took part in a Home Run Derby of his own Thursday night, beating out the other members of the pitching staff with seven home runs in 10 swings during batting practice. Over his shoulder, Bacon proudly displayed the championship belt formerly owned by Mallards pitcher Luke Shilling.

Bacon is also one of the team’s better players of popular smartphone app Pokémon GO:

 

 

Jarrett isn’t as much of a fan, shaking his head when asked his thoughts on the newest smartphone craze.

“Personally, I haven’t gotten into it, but there are definitely a lot of guys on the team that are into it. On the bus rides and whenever we’re going on the road, getting off the bus, they’re walking around trying to find stuff. Even around [Warner Park] they’re just walking around the park doing it. It’s pretty crazy how it’s just blown up in a short period of time.”

 

Hargrove dominates as the Mallards fall out of first place

MADISON | The Madison Mallards had no answer for Hunter Hargrove on Thursday night as the Rockford Rivets took over sole possession of first place in the South Division of the Northwoods League with a 7-3 win at Warner Park.

Hargrove went 4-for-4 on the night, driving in five runs, including a three-run home run in the fifth inning to blow open a ball game that was tied 1-1 at that point. It was Hargrove’s fifth home run of the season for the Rivets and essentially ended the night for Madison starter Westin Wuethrich. The Wisconsin native still doesn’t have a win this season (0-4) after he gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings of work.

While the Mallards struggled with getting Hargrove out, they also had trouble generating offense thanks to a strong outing from Rockford’s Tyler Thornton. The big right-hander scattered three runs over seven innings of work and struck out six on his way to his second victory (2-0) of the year.

Madison did get RBIs from Jesse Medrano, Nick Roark and Nate Palace as they lost for just the second time in their last six games.

The Mallards (28-17, 5-4) will head to Rockford (23-22, 6-3) tonight for the second half of the home-and-home series. First pitch is set for 6:35 and can be heard on “The Zone.”

Quartet of Mallards Pitchers Outlasts Chinooks in 1-0 Win

Madison, WI — The Madison Mallards (20-11) could only muster a single score, but that was all it took in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel victory over the Lakeshore Chinooks (11-20) at Warner Park on Thursday night. The game was delayed 43 minutes at the start due to a thundershower, but once the rains stopped, the pitches flew with alarming strikeout frequency.

Lakeshore starter Marshall Kasowski was marvelous on the mound for the Chinooks all night, punching out 11 Mallards hitters and allowing just five hits over seven strong innings. However, on his lone mistake of the night, Josh Stowers lined a home run in the fourth inning to give Madison the early advantage.

The only reason Kasowski was saddled with the loss was an equally strong night for the Mallards’ quintet of arms, as Mitch Vogrin, Mike Byrne, Chase Hoag, and Troy Bacon combined for the shutout, striking out a combined 11 Chinooks over nine innings.

The Mallards have now won six of their last seven ballgames and remain just one game behind the first-place Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in the Northwoods League’s North Division. Madison hits the road to Mequon on Friday for a rematch with the Chinooks for the fourth time in five nights.

Coverage starts at 6:25 Friday night on 106.7 FM, 1670 AM, The Zone.

Jarrett’s Walk-Off Slam in 10th Earns Doubleheader Split for Mallards

Rockford, IL — The Madison Mallards (18-11) could not overcome a hitting burst from the Rockford Rivets (14-14) in a 7-3 loss in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Madison took the early 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Rockford responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. The Mallards would tie the score at 2-2, but Rockford scored five runs between the fifth and sixth innings to provide the cushion needed for victory.

Mallards pitchers combined to walk seven Rivet batters, while Rockford received strong pitching from Kacey Murphy and Trevor Kiminski, who combined to allow just one hit and one run in the final five innings.

The Mallards loaded the bases in the seventh, trailing 7-3, but could not get any closer.

In the nightcap at Warner Park, the Mallards went seven innings scoreless and trailed 1-0 heading into the eighth, but Josh Stowers reached base on a single, moved to third, and then scored on a wild pitch to bring the game back even and force extra innings.

In the tenth, the Mallards loaded the bases with nobody out, and Zach Jarrett cleared them and sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a walk-off grand slam. It was the slugger’s sixth bomb of the season and Madison’s second walk-off triumph of 2016. Jarrett upped his team-high RBI total to 29 as well.

The Mallards and Lakeshore Chinooks will renew acquaintances Thursday night at Warner Park for another 7:05 p.m. start time.

Reitcheck & 4-Run 6th Push Mallards to Victory

Mike Reitcheck threw six strong innings and the Madison Mallards (17-10) defeated the Lakeshore Chinooks (11-18) by a final score of at Kapco Park on Monday night.

It was a closely contested pitching matchup into the sixth inning, as the Mallards picked up the game’s lone run of the first five innings courtesy of an RBI single by Cameron Frost in the fourth inning. It was Frost’s fifth straight game with an RBI.

Reitcheck got some insurance in the form of a four-run Mallards sixth inning, highlighted by a run-scoring since by Bryce Carter.

Lakeshore was able to claw two runs across, but failed to get any closer in the late innings.

The Mallards look to pick up a fourth straight victory on Tuesday night in a rematch at Kapco Park in Mequon. Coverage can be heard on The Zone 106.7 FM/1670 AM beginning at 6:25 p.m. CT.

Mallards Edge Bullfrogs in Extra Inning Affair in Green Bay

The Madison Mallards (16-10) were down to their final out in the 9th inning on two occasions, but forced extra innings before beating the Green Bay Bullfrogs (9-17) by a final of 6-5 in extra innings at Joannes Stadium.

Nico Hoerner was the star offensively for the Mallards, as he drove in three runs on the day, including the ice-breaking two-run single in the second inning.

The Bullfrogs received offensive contributions from Jonah Davis and Quincy Nieporte, who each cranked two-run home runs for Green Bay, and it appeared that would be enough for the Bullfrogs, but the Mallards had other ideas. With two runners on and two outs in the ninth, Matt Vierling drove in the tying run on a base hit down the right field line.

With the game deadlocked 5-5 heading into extras, the teams traded scoreless 10th and 11th frames before Cameron Frost hit a gap shot into right-center field in the 12th, driving in the game’s winning run. Alex Smith locked it down in the bottom half of the inning to save it for Madison.

The Mallards continue their road trek on Monday with a pair of games against the Lakeshore Chinooks. Coverage can be heard on 106.7 FM, 1670 AM, The Zone.

Mallards Thrash Bullfrogs in Green Bay

The Madison Mallards (15-10) took an early lead, then pulled away with seven runs between the fifth and seventh innings in a 9-1 win over the Green Bay Bullfrogs (9-16) at Joannes Stadium in Green Bay.

The Mallards received a strong starting pitching performance from Frank German, who went 5 1/3 innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run to get the victory.

Eight different Mallards batters recorded base hits, while Zach Jarrett led the charge with a home run and three RBI’s.

The Mallards and Bullfrogs will complete the weekend pair of games on Sunday at 4:05. Coverage can be heard on 106.7 FM, 1670 AM, The Zone, beginning at 3:55 p.m.