Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mallards Fall Short, Kingfish Win Northwoods League Title

All photos from Madison v. Green Bay NWL Wild Card Game available on Flickr.

Another year, another home team championship for me!  Congratulations to the Kenosha Kingfish for winning it all last week Thursday, defeating the St. Cloud Rox to win the NWL Summer Collegiate World Series 2 games to 0.  The Kingfish have continued a nice little streak I have going - the last 3 champions of the Northwoods League have all been teams I owned a ticket package for.  The Mallards won their 2nd league title in 2013 when I was living in Madison, the Lakeshore Chinooks won last year, and this year the Kingfish in only their 2nd season of existence.  As he was all season, Eric Filia was one of the key members who led the team to the promised land.  He finished the year 5th in the league in batting at .340, to go along with 48 runs and 55 RBI primarily hitting out of the 3-spot in the order.  For a 72-game schedule and probably his first time ever using a wood bat, that's pretty damn spectacular.

Megan and I thoroughly enjoyed our 7 treks down to K-hole and getting to know the city a little bit better, and I'm sure we will be renewing again in the future, but we chose to attend a Mallards playoff game in lieu of the Kingfish this past Monday.  We've been a fan of the Mallards longer than any other team, so no matter where we end up they will always be our "Northwoods League home team."  We for sure had to get out there at least once this season and this was our last opportunity to do so.  I have grown accustomed and come to expect something new at Warner Park every time I go, and this year was no different.  One of the last open picnic areas was closed off in left field with brick and elevated onto a platform for better viewing, and the second and most obvious addition to the Duck Pond was the double-decker pizza bus.  It's pretty much just that - you walk into the "ground floor" of the bus to order pie that is cooked right in the bus, and you can eat it on the "top floor."  This is a mobile bus that has been going around to the different parks owned by Big Top Baseball.  We didn't get to go inside, but since the Kingfish are also a part of Big Top, we will have to make a point of it next year.  Yet another example of how this ownership group is constantly trying to innovate and improve the fan experience.

It didn't quite feel like a Mallards game on this night as the stadium was probably only a quarter full, a far departure from the team that has been obliterating summer collegiate attendance records for the past decade.  Madison won 3-2 to advance to the South Division finals, and would lose to the eventual champion Kingfish the following night.  The Mallards got a stellar pitching performance from Andrew Beckwith, who gave up only 1 unearned run in 6 1/3 quick and efficient innings.  A leadoff homerun in the 1st by Anthony Gonsolin would be all the support he would need, but they tacked on 2 more in the 4th just for good measure.  The Bullfrogs made a game of it with a run in the 8th to cut the deficit to 1, but North Carolina junior A.J. Bogucki took the ball for the final 2 2/3 innings and shut the door.  Bogucki has been a proficient starter all year for the Mallards, but Donnie Scott was pulling out all the stops and wanted his best guy out there to finish the game, which was I'm sure what the league was hoping for with the new single-game elimination divisional format.

Another Northwoods League season is in the books, which means pretty soon I'll be replacing the window fan in our bedroom with plastic wrap to keep the cold out.

Brewers 51-69, -26.0, -18.0 WC (3 v. Marlins, 3 @ Nationals)
Reds 51-65, -24.0, -16.0 WC (2 v. Royals, 4 v. Diamondbacks)

Twins 59-59, -12.5, -2.5 WC (3 @ Yankees, 4 @ Orioles)

Erik - 16 (+17 worked)

Peter - 38

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