LA CROSSE, WI – For the first time in team history, the Dock Spiders (27-13) won the Wisconsin-Illinois East Division in a 12-5 blowout against the Loggers (18-22) on Wednesday night.
The Dock Spiders entered Wednesday’s contest on a four-game win streak and had put up double-digit runs in each of the last four wins. The Loggers got off to a great start to break that streak, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first to take an early 3-0 lead.
Fond du Lac would not let the lead last long, as they brought 13 batters to the plate and exploded for eight runs in the third. For the third time in two games, Tim Elko (University of Mississippi) belted a home run to right-center field, a three-run missile that tied the game at three. The long ball was his second three-run home run and ninth RBI in the last two games.
Tanner Smith (University of Oregon) recorded his second RBI of the year on a single to left to give Fond du Lac a 4-3 lead.
The Dock Spiders were not done there; with two outs and the bases loaded, Caleb Durbin (WashU) recorded his first home run of the season, a grand slam to left-center field to continue the offensive onslaught and make it 8-3.
Three more runs scored for Fondy in the fifth inning to extend the lead and get to double-digit runs. Smith, Bryan Javier (Campbellsville University), who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday, and Sam Novitske (University of Oregon) all reached, when Elko launched a line drive to right field that was just a few degrees of launch angle away from the second grand slam of the night. Instead, it went off the wall and scored a run for Elko’s fourth RBI of the night. Javier and Novitske both came in to score on wild pitches that put Fondy up 11-3.
Fond du Lac added one final run in the eighth after Aaron Anderson (Liberty University) started the inning with a crushed line-drive double to left-center field, and eventually came in to score on a wild pitch for the twelfth run of the game.
La Crosse scored two runs in the final two innings, but the Dock Spiders’ pitching wouldn’t allow the Loggers to get any closer as they coasted to a 12-5 win for their fifth consecutive win and fifth consecutive game with at least 10 runs or more.
Jake Brooks (UCLA) pitched his fourth start of the season and, following a rocky first inning, had a respectable outing on the hill; in four innings and a third, Brooks struck out five batters and kept the Loggers off the board for over three innings before leaving in the fifth. He left with the lead to record his first win of the year. Ryan Robison (Purdue University Fort Wayne) chucked three and two-third innings while allowing just one run on two hits with four strikeouts. Ryan Duffy (University of Minnesota) came in for the final inning and did his job, striking out one and getting the win for Fondy.
With the win, the Dock Spiders clinched the Wisconsin-Illinois Division title and secured a playoff spot in what will be a home playoff game against either Green Bay or Rockford on August 21.
The Dock Spiders will have one more game on the road on Thursday night when they take on the Woodchucks at 6:35 to try and record their sixth straight win.
The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.dockspiders.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Dock Spiders as your favorite team.