Dock Spiders Log Second Championship in Three Years and Take 2020 Title
FOND DU LAC, WI – The Dock Spiders capped off their incredible 2020 season with a 14-3 victory over the La Crosse Loggers on Saturday night to win the Wisconsin-Illinois Northwoods League Pod Championship and secure their second title in the last three years.
Much like Friday’s division matchup against the Booyah, the Dock Spiders had to battle from behind in Saturday’s game after the Loggers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. They would add their third and final run two innings later in the third inning to put Fondy down 3-0.
From the third inning on, it was all Dock Spiders. Caleb Durbin (Washington University in St. Louis) started the scoring for Fondy with a single to center that plated the first run. Aaron Anderson (Liberty University) continued his strong 2020 campaign at the plate and brought home Durbin on a center-field single of his own to draw Fondy to within two. Tanner Smith (University of Oregon) then brought the game to a 3-3 tie after launching a double into the right-center field gap that scored Anderson from first base.
If the atmosphere in Fond du Lac was crazy in the third, then the fourth was just as incredible, as the Dock Spiders scored three more runs, all with two outs, to take a commanding three-run lead. With runners at the corners and two out, Matt Bottcher (University of Illinois-Chicago) broke the tie with a smash hit up the middle to put Fondy up 4-3. Durbin grounded to short, but a wild throw to first sailed over the head of the Loggers first baseman and into the dugout that brought home another two runs to make it 6-3.
Another two came in to score in the fifth inning after Sam Novitske (University of Oregon) belted a line drive into right-center field to make it a five-run lead.
The Dock Spiders scored in their fourth consecutive inning after Smith added another RBI to his name on a sacrifice fly to bring in Durbin and make it a 9-3 ballgame.
Fond du Lac brought it all together and continued the offensive onslaught in the eighth inning after they put up five runs in their final at-bats. Smith scored on a bases-loaded ground ball to the right side to put the Dock Spiders into double digits. Novitske added to his incredible night at the plate with a hit to right to bring home another run and cap off his 4-for-6, three-RBI night. Durbin was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate another, and Anderson kept it rolling with a single to left to also give him his third RBI of the game and round out a fantastic second season.
As expected, Theo Denlinger (Bradley University) made the walk from the bullpen to the mound as chants of “THEO” rang out from the over 500 fans in attendance in Fondy. As he had done all season long, Denlinger recorded the final three outs of the ballgame with ease to secure the 14-3 win and cement the Dock Spiders in Northwoods League history once again, and give them the 2020 Wisconsin-Illinois Pod Championship.
Evan Sankey (North Dakota State University), who signed his contract just before game time, was the first to come out of the bullpen, and he was lights out. In just over five innings, Sankey allowed only one run on two hits to keep La Crosse within reach before the Dock Spiders offense came to life. In his one and only game, Sankey received the win. Chris Aldrich (UCLA) tossed one scoreless inning while facing the minimum in that lone frame, which set up Ryan Duffy (University of Minnesota), who, with his makeshift captain’s patch on his Carolina blue jersey, struck out two batters in the eighth in his final outing on the mound.
Returners Sam Novitske and Aaron Anderson finished the season with a combined average of .326 and came together to record a total of 64 RBI and 19 doubles. The offense for Fond du Lac was the best in the Northwoods League, finishing the regular season with a team batting average of .287.
The Dock Spiders finished the season with a record of 33-17 and secured their second championship in their young four years of existence.
We want to thank all of our Fondy Faithful for the unparalleled amount of support you’ve all given us in the 2020 season. It was a very strange and different summer, but we would not have been able to get this far and have the season we had if we did not have this loyal fanbase with us. Thank you for coming out to Herr-Baker Field at Marian University all season long and for being the best fans in the Northwoods League!