The Mallards (10-10) hit the road once again tonight and probably enter one of the most important two game series of the first half as they face arguably the hottest team in the Northwoods League, Green Bay (15-5).
The Bullfrogs have won an incredible eleven straight ball games including fourteen of their last sixteen and have swept five consecutive series at this point. The Mallards were able to get back to .500 last night with a 3-2 victory over Battle Creek, splitting the two game series.
Madison remains tied with Eau Claire at second place in the South Division and are five games back of the Bullfrogs. If Madison is to get themselves back into the race for the South Division this maybe the time to do so.
Left-hander Michael Hutts will be on the hill for the Mallards this evening. Hutts is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.38 in thirteen and one-thirds innings of work. In his most recent outing, Hutts went five and one-thirds inning of work allowing three earned runs on eight hits in a 3-2 loss to Thunder Bay back on June 15th.
Hutts will have to contend with a powerful Green Bay offense that can be affective at the plate as well as on the base path. Danny Meier has been the power hitter for the Bullfrogs in ’07 and is tied for first in the NWL with four home runs. Meier also is tied for second in the NWL with runs batted in at sixteen. Outfielder Daniel Robertson has been efficient on the base path for Green Bay as he sits tied for second in the NWL with twelve stolen bases. Robertson also enters tonight with a .280 batting average and leading the Bullfrogs with twenty-one hits.
First basemen Michael Notaro is another effective hitter who is batting .294 with one home run and nine runs batted in. As a team Green Bay has the second most team home runs in the league at eleven. However pitching has been the highlight of the eleven game winning streak for Green Bay. The Mallards face a difficult task of going against the number one pitching staff in the NWL who hold an ERA of 2.14.
Mallards catcher Eric Nielsen has been solid in his last five games at the plate going five for thirteen (.385) with three runs scored. In his last ten games Nielsen has also gone eight for twenty-three (.348) with four runs scored. Newly added Evan LeBlanc is off to a fast start going two-for-six in his two appearances for the Mallards this season.
With both squads at number one and two for overall pitching in the Northwoods League, this two game series should be attention grabbing and could make or break a chance for a first half division championship for ether team.
Madison returns home Saturday in another two-game series against Waterloo. Saturday is Culver’s Dukes of Hazzard Night with Sonny Shroyer (Enos) making an appearance. Live honky tonk with Pupy Costello. Luxaire and Make-A-Wish Foundation Soft Baseballs to the first 750 kids 14 & under. Post-game fireworks show, presented by Life Style Staffing.