Elite level pitching and tape measure home runs highlight the day
By: Kyle Tooley – Madison Mallards
Madison, Wis. – The Northwoods League Major League Dreams Showcase on Tuesday night turned out to be a successful one, with over 50 MLB scouts taking in great baseball in Madison. The top prospects in the league, as handpicked by scouts, were separated into four squads, playing an exhibition-style doubleheader.
The showcase began with the players participating in several drills, such as fielding groundballs, making throws to various bases, and taking swings in batting practice. The appetizer to the main event gave the scouts in attendance a great opportunity to see the players in simulated situations.
Game one of the showcase was loaded with star power, including the league home run leader Daulton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) from Eau Claire, the saves leader from Wisconsin Rapids, Garrett Schilling (Xavier), the owner of the highest batting average in the league in Steele Walker (Oklahoma) of the Woodchucks and the reigning Northwoods League MVP, Logger Mason McCoy (Iowa).
The visiting team came out victorious, topping the home squad by a score of 6-5. The contest saw a myriad of lineup changes, allowing each individual the best opportunity to demonstrate their talents for the scouts.
Chase Hamilton (Austin Peay State) of Mankato turned in one of the better performances of the afternoon, collecting two hits and knocking in two runs in the eventual win. The centerfielder’s RBI double in the eighth brought home the difference making run.
The nightcap of the doubleheader was a higher scoring affair, with the visitors proving victorious by a final score of 9-7. Five home runs were hit in the contest, three of which came in the top half of the sixth. The sixth inning saw eight runs scored between the two teams, ultimately altering the outcome of the gam
Daniel Jipping (Central Michigan) of the Battle Creek Bombers delivered the most decisive blow of the evening, launching a three-run homer to deep left. His team batted around in the sixth-run frame.
Though the contests ended up being run-heavy, elite pitching was also on display at the Duck Pond. Luke Shilling (Illinois) and Troy Bacon (Santa Fe College), both Mallards, hit 95 MPH on the gun en route to scoreless frames. In a showcase in front of Major League scouts, numbers like that definitely stand out.
“It’s always important to do your best when you’re performing in front of people that make decisions on your future,” said Shilling. “It’s a great opportunity that you must take advantage of.”
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 150 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.