With the Madison Mallards getting their season underway next week, and the unveiling of a pro soccer team in Madison last week, the guys welcomed Big Top Baseball president Vern Stenman to the show to talk about both on Monday.
MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards (19-18, 38-34) capped the 2017 season with a 6-1 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers (22-15, 42-30) at Warner Park on Sunday evening. The Mallards used consistent offense and a steady performance from the bullpen to end the season on a positive note.
The Mallards offense was constantly putting pressure on the Battle Creek pitching staff as the Mallards totaled nine hits and drew six walks. The Mallards opened the scoring in the bottom of the second on a heads up baserunning play by Matt Elsenpeter (NDSU). Elsenpeter scored from second on an infield single by Andrew Baker (Florida). Meanwhile, Madison starter Nate Brown (Florida) held down the Bombers bats and the Mallards led 1-0 after two.
Later on, the Mallards calibrated their power strokes at the plate. In the fifth, with the Mallards leading 2-1, Doran Turchin (Illinois) launched a two-run home run over the left field fence to extend the lead. The home run was Turchin’s team-leading 13th of the season. He also finished the summer with 50 RBI, the most on the Mallards.
Two innings later, third baseman Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville) crushed a two-run bomb of his own, this time into the Great Dane Duck Blind Suites. Armstrong’s homer was his second of the series and his sixth of the season at Warner Park. The two-run dinger gave the Mallards a 6-1 lead.
The Mallards pitching staff deployed six total arms to shut down the Bombers. The squadron held Battle Creek to only five hits and racked up eight strikeouts. The Madison defense was strong behind the hurlers as Elsenpeter made a pair of spectacular plays at second base and shortstop Tommy Bullock (UNC-Charlotte) flashed the leather a couple times on the left side of the infield.
The Mallards finish the season with a 38-34 record and tied for fourth place in the South Division. However, the Lakeshore Chinooks held the tie breaker and clinched the fourth playoff spot. Still, the Mallards put together a successful season and finished above .500 for the 15th consecutive year. Manager Donnie Scott now owns a 198-154 through five seasons with the team. For more Mallards postseason coverage, visit mallardsbaseball.com.
Madison drilled three home runs on the night, including solo shot by center fielder Doran Turchin, his team-leading 11th on the year. He finished with three RBIs, as did right fielder Cade Bunnell.
Matt McCarty got the win, giving up two earned runs over four innings of work. The bullpen was great as Riley Pawelski and David Stover allowed just one hit over the final nine innings of the game.
The Mallards are now 35-32 on the year with four games to play.
They’ll take on Green Bay again on Wednesday, this time at Warner Park in Madison. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m., and can be heard on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM ‘The Zone.’
Matt Horkey gave manager Donnie Scott a solid start, throwing five scoreless innings before the Chinooks finally got to him in the sixth. That’s where they scored all three of their runs, including an RBI double from centerfielder Drake Lubin.
On the other side, Lakeshore’s Austin Havekost gave the Mallards all kinds of trouble. He made 7 2/3rds innings, allowing just one unearned run on five hits to pick up the win. Joe Heineman came on for the save.
Madison did watch first baseman David Vinsky drill his second home run of the year.
The loss dropped Madison to 15-16 in the second half of the season and 34-32 overall. The Mallards will open the final week of the regular season tonight in Green Bay.
The Northwoods League playoff field expanded in 2015 from four to eight teams, with the top four teams from each division (North and South) earning a playoff bid. Those playoff berths are based on overall record, with the division winner of each half of the season earning an automatic home playoff game.
The first two days of the playoffs are single elimination games, with the third and final day of competition a best-of-three series.
Standings as of Aug. 5 at 9:30 a.m.
If the playoffs started today…
As shown in the graphic, Madison remains 12 ½ games behind Wisconsin Rapids in the overall season standings and is on the outside looking in. With eight games remaining on their schedule, the Mallards cannot earn a No. 1 seed.
Sorting the graphic by half, Madison remains left out of the postseason, sitting in sixth place.
Madison can reach the playoffs if…
The second-half standings show the Mallards just 5½ games behind the Rockford Rivets. A come-from-behind win of the South Division would not only earn Madison a playoff spot, but a guaranteed game at home. To do that, Madison would need to win at least six of their final eight games, along with late season collapses by the teams ahead of them in the standings.
If Madison wants to earn the No. 4 seed in the overall South standings, they would need to catch the Lakeshore Chinooks (1½ games head) who they will play for a two-game series Saturday and Sunday. That can be achieved by sweeping the weekend series. Helping their cause is a two-game series Thursday and Friday against the Wisconsin Woodchucks, who sit nine games behind Madison overall.
The only other South Division team left on Madison’s schedule is Battle Creek (five games ahead). The Mallards will host the Bombers for the final two games of the regular season Aug. 12 and Aug. 13.
Aug. 5 and Aug. 6 vs Lakeshore (34-29, 0.540)
Aug. 7 and Aug. 9 vs Green Bay (21-41, 0.339)
Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 @ Wisconsin (24-40, 0.375)
Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 vs Battle Creek (37-25, 0.597)
Madison’s remaining opponents combine for a winning percentage of 0.463.
Despite a two-run homer from Maverick Handley – his first of the summer – the Mallards fell 5-3 in the first game.
Starter Nate Brown took the loss, though he pitched OK, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out four. He’s now 0-2 on the year.
In game two, the Growlers used a five-run second inning to earn a 6-4 victory. Heath Renz was tagged for all five runs, and the Mallards starter made it just 1 2/3rds innings to fall to 3-2 on the year.
Offensively, Madison got on the board in the first inning with a two-run homer from Sam Armstrong, his fourth this summer.
The two losses dropped the Mallards to 13-15 in the second half of the season, and they are just 2-8 in their last 10 games.
It’ll be the same two teams on Friday night at the Duck Pond. First pitch is at 7:05 and can be heard on 106.7 FM/1670 AM ‘The Zone.’
The Mallards struck first with an RBI from left fielder Andrew Baker in the third inning, but that ended up being the only run they managed to get across the plate. That was largely due to the Rafters Isaiah Carranza, who went seven innings, giving up just the one run on five hits and striking out five.
For Madison’s part, Logan Wonn gave up one run over 3 2/3rds of action, and the loss went to Sam Cottingham-Beard, who allowed what proved to be the winning run on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.
With the loss, Madison dropped to 11-9 in the second half of the season, 2 ½ games back of first place in the South Division.
The Mallards and Wisconsin Rapids will play a double header today at the Duck Pond. The first game gets underway at 5 p.m., and the second will begin a ½ hour after the end of the first. You can hear both games on 106.7 FM/1670 AM ‘The Zone.’
MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards (9-6, 28-22) dominated in all phases of a 13-2 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks (5-11, 20-31) at Warner Park on Sunday afternoon. Every Madison batter reached base and the Mallards pitching staff only allowed four total hits in the team win.
The Mallards fell behind 1-0 after just two batters in the top of the first. However, Mallards starter Tyler Dyson (Florida) would quickly settle in after allowing the initial run. Dyson worked five total innings and only allowed one hit after the first frame. Dyson tallied six strikeouts and didn’t issue a single free pass as he went on to earn his second win of the season.
“Once I got back to attacking guys it went well. I was just trying to make them hit my best stuff. My stuff got better after that first batter. I got behind against the first few batters and I just can’t do that or they’re going to hit it,” Dyson explained. “I just got back to attacking and that’s how I settled in.”
After the first inning Woodchuck run, the Mallards quickly responded. Cole Daily (Notre Dame) drew a leadoff walk and Mallards centerfielder Zac Taylor (Illinois) followed with a two-run shot over the left field fence to put the Mallards in front. Taylor finished the ballgame 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
With the game tied at two in the third, the Mallards executed with runners on base again. After three Mallards reached base to start the inning, Jeffery Mitchell Jr. (California) and Thomas Smart (Oakton) used back-to-back sacrifice flies to put the Mallards in front, 4-2. Mitchell Jr. was just beginning his huge ballgame as he ended the day with three runs batted in.
After adding another run in the fourth, the Mallards busted the game open in the bottom of the fifth. Following a Mitchell Jr. RBI single and walk by Smart, Madison first baseman Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville) crushed a three-run dinger into the third level of the Great Dane Duck Blind Suites beyond the right field fence. The bomb gave the Mallards a seven-run lead and the Madison offense would go on to add four more in the inning. After five, the Mallards led 13-2.
In the sixth, the Mallards bullpen picked up right where Dyson left off. Matt McCarty (Louisville), Riley Pawelski (Madison College), and Luke Schilling (Illinois) combined to toss four scoreless innings to seal the 13-2 win. The group only allowed one hit and Pawelski managed to strikeout three Woodchucks. Overall, the Madison pitching staff held the Woodchucks to just two runs on four hits.
Shortstop Cole Daily finished the night 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, while scoring two of his team’s six runs. Outfielder Doran Turchin tacked on an RBI with a 2-for-4 performance, while pitcher Simon Rosenblum-Larson had a more pedestrian outing. The Northwoods League leader in strikeouts, Rosenblum-Larson allowed three hits and an earned run in his single inning of work.
Those performances, combined with a four-run eighth inning resulted in a win for the South. Daily and Turchin played the entirety of the contest, as Madison gets set to resume league action on Thursday night against Wisconsin Rapids.
Home Run Derby
Turchin was also a participant in Tuesday night’s Home Run Derby, in which the North defeated the South 13-11. Players representing each division alternated turns blasting home runs in a nine-inning format, with each batter getting six outs to work with. Turchin was unable to record a home run, with Rochester’s Zach Zubia taking home the title with five home runs.
Earlier this week, the Madison Mallards announced that they would be giving away the first-ever Barstool Sports Big Cat bobblehead to all fans that purchase a Great Dane Duck Blind general admission ticket. The Mallards plan on giving away the bobblehead during the last home game of the regular season on Sunday, August 13th, against the Battle Creek Bombers. As of right now, the first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. CST.
Big Cat (Dan Katz) is a sports media personality who works for Barstool Sports. Barsool Sports is an up-and-coming sports media company. He is a blogger and co-host on the “Pardon My Take” podcast, which is a mix of sports, comedy, and pop culture. The podcast has recently become number one in the ratings for the most downloaded sports podcast on Apple Podcasts. Fans who listen to the podcast are formerly known as Stoolies. A Yabo is another word for a home run, a word in which Big Cat came up with himself. If you tune into Jude Judy this week and next week you may see a commercial, which features Big Cat and co-host PFT Commenter on a commercial spot.
The Mallards had multiple tweets promoting and explaining the Big Cat bobblehead that went viral across the U.S. and had tons of Barstool fans tweeting about the promotion. The Mallards are telling fans that they won’t mail or ship any bobbleheads, and that fans must buy a ticket to the game. There will also be a limited quantity available and a limit of one per person. Fans should call or go online to order tickets to the game, as it will probably sell out fast.