Duluth, Minnesota — August 16, 2013. In the Madison Mallards first playoff game in five years on Monday, everything pointed to a quick exit in the playoffs and the season was likely going to go down as a disappointment. Just four days later, the Mallards crushed the Duluth Huskies by a score of 12-3 in Game No. 2 of the Summer Collegiate World Series and are now the Northwoods League Champions.
The Mallards will host a Trophy Ceremony and a "Meet and Greet" at the "Duck Pond" at 3 pm Saturday and the event is free and open to the public. Mallards fans will have a chance to meet the Northwoods League champs and free food and beverages will also be provided.
The Mallards stumbled slightly towards the end of the year—they had a six-game losing streak at home in late-July and early-August—and lost Game No. 1 in the South Division Championship to the Lakeshore Chinooks by a score of 15-0.
But after two thrillers that included three late, dramatic home runs and a back-and-forth Game No. 1 of the Summer Collegiate World Series last night in Madison, the Mallards finally had some time to breathe and won their first Northwoods League Championship since 2004 with a 12-3 win over the Duluth Huskies.
The Mallards recorded 22 hits, scored a run in each of the first five innings, and had Andrew Arenson (Carthage) throw one of his more impressive games of the season to sweep the Huskies in two games.
"I have always heard the phrase 'The Boys of Summer,'" Mallards owner Steve Schmitt said. "But these are truly 'The Boys of Summer.' Best skipper, best players, best fans, best summer ever."
The Mallards put together a two-out rally in the first after a Drew Weeks (North Florida) walk, as Joe McCarthy drove in Weeks on a double and came around to score on an error by Huskies shortstop Kyle Teaf (South Florida).
The Mallards were right back at it in the next inning, as third baseman Brock Stewart (Illinois State)—who was homerless in 104 regular season at-bats—cracked a solo shot over the right-center wall and Joe McCarthy (Virginia) hit a three-run bomb to right to put the Mallards up 6-0. Only six home runs were hit at Wade Stadium during the regular season.
They would keep the pedal to medal over the next three innings by adding five more runs over that span but would not score for the rest of the game. But the hits kept coming, as they ended up with their highest hit total of the season.
They knocked out Huskies starter Luke Vandermaten (Iowa Central CC) in just 1.2 innings, and the righty allowed 7 hits, six runs (five earned) on one walk and struck out two.
The Huskies, meanwhile, scored just one off of Arenson and added two in the sixth off of Mallards reliever Jack Livingston (Northwestern).
McCarthy ended up having arguably his best game in a Mallards uniform and finished 5-for-6 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Stewart, John LaPrise (Virginia) and Alex Bacon (North Florida) all had three hits and Stewart and Bacon each had two RBIs.
Sam Forkert (Marian) pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth and Danny Sullivan (Davenport) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Madison Mallards are your 2013 Northwoods League Champions!
The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League. The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. In 2013, the Northwoods League is celebrating its 20th season.