The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders open up the 2022 season at Herr-Baker Field against the Wausau Woodchucks. Today’s game marks the start of the sixth season of Dock Spiders baseball.
IT ALL STARTS IN FOND DU LAC: The 2022 Northwoods League season gets underway today, and the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders start it off with the league’s first game at 1:05 p.m. The game is also the first to appear on ESPN+, part of a new partnership between the league and ESPN+ that will see select games air throughout the 2022 season, as well as the Northwoods League All-Star Game, Major League Dreams Showcase and the 2022 playoffs.
A LOOK BACK: Both the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders and the Wausau Woodchucks enjoyed massive years in 2021, s the Dock Spiders reached the 40-win mark for the first time in team history, and the Woodchucks set a franchise record for wins in a year with 44. The Dock Spiders reached the playoffs by virtue of winning the first half Great Lakes West Division title, while the Woodchucks failed to win either half and missed the playoffs, despite owning the best record in the division. In 2021, the Dock Spiders went 9-3 against the Woodchucks, and won five of six home games, which included an 11-inning walk-off win on August 12, 2021.
CHARBONNEAU BACK AT THE HELM: Manager Zac Charbonneau returns to the Dock Spiders dugout after serving as the Director of Player Personnel in 2021 for Fond du Lac. Charbonneau has won two Northwoods League titles, in 2018 and 2020, and is the only current manager in the Great Lakes West Division to win a league title. This past spring, Charbonneau helped lead Milwaukee Area Technical College to a national ranking in the NJCAA Division Three polls.
OPENING DAY SUCCESS: The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders have won four straight Opening Day games after they lost their first Opening Day game in 2017 to the Madison Mallards. The two teams last matched up on Opening Day in 2020, when the Dock Spiders won 2-1. Today marks the third Opening Day game between Fond du Lac and Wausau, with the Dock Spiders taking both games, in 2018 and 2020, and outscoring the Woodchucks 13-4.
BRING THE POWER… AND THE SPEED: The 2022 Fond du Lac Dock Spiders Opening Day roster features plenty of power and speed. Catcher Tommy Stevenson (Missouri Southern State) smashed a career-high 16 home runs this year en route to an All-Mid America Athletics Association Second Team selection, and has 32 career home runs with a 1.132 OPS in 103 games. Nick Mitchell (Western Illinois) and Kyte McDonald (Alvin C.C.) both continue last year’s trend of speed, speed and more speed, as Mitchell was one of just 20 NCAA Division One players to tally 30 stolen bases and McDonald swiped 17 bases this year.
TODAY’S PITCHING MATCH-UP
LHP Austin Wagner (FDL): Wagner makes his first start with the Dock Spiders since 2018, where he helped lead the Dock Spiders to their first Northwoods League title. This year, at the University of Mary, Wagner set the program’s single-season record with 91 strikeouts.
RHP DJ RADKTE (WAU): The Georgia freshman didn’t see action this year with the Bulldogs. He was named the seventh-best right-handed pitcher out of Georgia by Perfect Game. In 2021, Radkte didn’t allow an earned run in 54.1 innings.