Mallards confirm manager Donnie Scott will return in 2017

MADISON, Wis. — As first reported by the Wisconsin Sports Zone Network in August, Donnie Scott will return as manager of the Madison Mallards for the 2017 season.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon via the team Web site:

The Madison Mallards have announced that Field Manager Donnie Scott will return for his fifth season. Scott, who led the Mallards to the playoffs in 2016, has a career record of 160-120 in Madison.

“I’m very honored and excited about returning to manage the Madison Mallards for a fifth season. The mission like, every year, is to contend for the Northwoods League Championship. The fans and the atmosphere at the Duck Pond make it so much fun to be at the ballpark! It truly is my ‘Field of Dreams’,” said Scott.

In 2016, the Mallards fell short in the first round of playoffs in a heartbreaking 8-9 loss to the Battle Creek Bombers. “I felt last season was a successful one and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum into this season. I believe the 2017 roster that has been assembled is as strong as we’ve had in my time with the Mallards,” said Scott.

Scott has a very impressive resume with an overall record of 213-146 in the Northwoods League, winning two Summer Collegiate World Series Championships, his most recent in 2013 with the Mallards. He won his first championship in 2011 with the Battle Creek Bombers, where he was also named NWL Manager of the Year. Scott will look to add his third title in 2017.

“We are excited to have Donnie back again for the 2017 season,” said Mallards General Manager Tyler Isham. “Donnie’s professional experience and gritty approach to the game make him one of the best managers in the Northwoods League. Donnie does an excellent job developing our young players, while still putting an emphasis on winning. We are excited to see what he does with the group of young men we have coming to Madison in 2017.”

Scott was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the second round of the 1979 amateur draft. He made his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers on September 30, 1983. He spent time in the major leagues as a back up and part time catcher for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds until he ended his MLB career in 1991.

After concluding his MLB playing career, Scott went on to manage the Rookie level Billings Mustangs (Montana) of the Pioneer League. Scott led the Mustangs to four league championships.

He returned to managing the Gulf Coast (Rookie) Reds after spending three seasons as Field Coordinator. He went on to have two tenures with Class A Dayton Dragons (Ohio), where he led the Dragons to the playoffs four out of five seasons.

Scott was named Manager of the Year in the Pioneer League in 1992 and Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball Weekly in 1994. Scott has also managed two Midwest League All-Star games and has a career record of 689-569 (.548) in the minor leagues.

Scott, 55, resides with his wife Debbie in Pinellas Park, Florida and has two children, son David and daughter Dana. In the off-season he works at NextUp Baseball Academy.

The Mallards will be hosting a live video interview with Donnie on Friday, November 4 at noon via the Mallards Facebook page. Fans can join the conversation on the Mallards Facebook page and submit their own questions for Donnie.

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’ efforts not enough in All Star Game loss

KENOSHA, Wis. — Madison Mallards outfielder Zach Jarrett struck out twice and Troy Bacon fanned two batters in a 9-5 All-Star Game loss.

Competing on the South Division roster at Simmons Field in Kenosha Tuesday night, Madison’s representatives didn’t have enough firepower to make up for a 7-0 lead in the very first inning for the North Division. The North scored on seven hits to lead things off, while the South was forced to play catch-up the rest of the night.

Jarrett, who leads Madison with 34 RBI, couldn’t get on base, striking out twice and going 0-for-3 at the plate. Bacon leads the Northwoods League in wins despite playing a reliever role. He showed his dominance with perhaps the best performance of anyone on the South Division roster, striking out two batters in 2/3 of an inning of work.

Madison returns home Thursday night at 7:05 to host the Kalamazoo Growlers.

Jarrett aids in Home Run Derby win

KENOSHA, Wis. — The South team beat the North 24-19 in the Northwoods League Home Run Derby Monday night, aided by Madison Mallards outfielder Zach Jarrett’s four bombs.

The inaugural event held at the harbor adjacent to Lake Michigan was a unique backdrop to kick off the Northwoods League All-Star break. Marty Bechina of the host Kingfish led all batters with six home runs in a format that gave each batter six outs to work with. Batters from the Northern and Southern divisions alternated “innings” hitting off a pier into the lake, with field dimensions marked off by boats provided by the Kenosha Yacht Club.

Leading the Mallards this season with 34 RBI, Jarrett will now participate in the Northwoods League All-Star Game Tuesday night at 7:05 at Simmons Field in Kenosha. The UNC | Charlotte junior was honored to earn that distinction.

“We have so many guys that could have been out there as well as me and [Troy] Bacon, but the team’s constant support is great. Coming out with these guys and playing with them every day and playing for [manager] Donnie [Scott] and [hitting coach] Trev[or] Burmeister and all the other coaches | it makes it easy.”

Pitcher Troy Bacon joins Jarrett on tonight’s Southern Division All-Star Game roster with a 6-2 record and 1.75 ERA. Despite pitching out of the bullpen, Bacon currently leads the league in wins. He adds give saves to his total.

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.”

 

Two Mallards named to All Star Game roster

MADISON, Wis. — The Northwoods League announced its All-Star Game rosters on Sunday, including Troy Bacon and Zach Jarrett from the Madison Mallards.

Bacon (Santa Fe College) has pitched to a 2.14 ERA so far this season with a 5-2 record, while Jarrett (UNC | Charlotte) is batting .276 with six home runs and 32 RBI.

The Mallards are currently second in the Southern Division in the second half of the season (3-2, 26-15 overall) after a 6-0 win over the Kalamazoo Growlers on Sunday. Bacon pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out one of the batters he faced. Jarrett was 1-4 with one RBI.

The Mallards’ representatives will head to Kenosha for the July 19th All-Star Game with a 7:00 p.m. start time.

The entire Northwoods League All-Star Game roster can be found below:

2016-Northwoods-League-All-Star-Rosters-1

Mallards win, fall short of playoff berth

WAUSAU, Wis. —  The Madison Mallards defeated the Wisconsin Woodchucks 4-2 Tuesday night, but they finished the first half of the season in second place in the Southern Division.

Madison needed a win, plus losses by Wisconsin Rapids and Kalamazoo in order to finish the first half of the season in first place to clinch an automatic home playoff berth this August. The Rafters and Growlers spoiled the Mallards playoff bid by securing wins, but there’s plenty of baseball left for the Mallards.

Madison struck early in Tuesday night’s win, with Nico Hoerner and Matt McCann contributing RBIs in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead over Wisconsin. Pitcher Heath Renz held the opposition to one earned run over five innings of work, adding three strikeouts to the mix.

Zach Jarrett’s seventh inning two-run blast pushed the Madison lead to 4-1 to secure the Mallards’ third straight win.

Mallards look to clinch home playoff spot

WAUSAU, Wis. — Following a 4-3 win on Monday against the Wisconsin Woodchucks, the Madison Mallards’ automatic home playoff hopes hinge on a 6:35 p.m. rematch Tuesday night.

The Mallards remain one game back (22-13) from Southern Division leader Wisconsin Rapids with one game to play in the first half of the season. Madison plays Wisconsin again Tuesday night while Wisconsin Rapids faces Battle Creek with a chance to clinch the first half crown outright.

Madison can earn an automatic playoff bid if:

Mallards president Vern Stenman believes he has a quality  team regardless of the outcome.

“The interesting thing in [the Northwoods League] is that later in the summer, the pitching gets worse,” Stenman told the Joe and Ebo Show last Thursday. “…Our team is very offensive and we think that when the league’s pitching gets worse as the season goes on, our guys are only going to get better.”

The Mallards open up the second half of the Northwoods League season Wednesday against the Battle Creek Bombers at 7:05 p.m.

Mallards sweep Chinooks with 7-5 win

MEQUON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards won their fourth game in a row Tuesday night with a 7-5 victory over the Lakeshore Chinooks.

Mitchell Kilkenny (2-0, 0.82 ERA) went six innings, giving up just one earned run on three hits. Lakeshore scored the game’s first run, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Madison’s offense erupted for a five-run third. Shortstop Nico Hoerner delivered his 18th RBI of the season in that inning.

Madison is now 12-3 on the road this season (18-10 overall) and is now just one game back from the Southern Division lead behind the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.