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Playoff hopes extinguished as Mallards fall to Bullfrogs, 5-0, on Sunday

Box Score

Madison, Wis. – August 9, 2009. The Madison Mallards couldn’t muster any runs against Green Bay right-hander Dixon Anderson on Sunday night, falling to the Bullfrogs, 5-0, in front of 7,205 at the “Duck Pond” and out of playoff contention in the process.

The Mallards needed help from Mankato, who traveled to La Crosse tonight, but didn’t get any as the Loggers defeated the Moon Dogs, 4-3, and clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the Northwoods League postseason.

“We ran into a good arm and a team that’s playing well,” Manager C.J. Thieleke said of Green Bay’s Dixon Anderson (California) and his performce that gave the Bullfrogs a seven-game winning streak.

Anderson made just his fifth start of the season and went the distance in a five-hit shutout on Sunday night. Formerly the team’s closer, the converted starter struck out seven and walked just one en route to his third win of the year.

Green Bay had its game with Battle Creek cancelled due to rain last night and then had to wait another 45 minutes while the wet stuff rolled through Madison before Sunday’s contest could get underway. The Bullfrogs were unfazed as they scored a run in the first thanks to a pair of bunt singles and a Mallard error. Winiarski minimized the damage by getting Jacob House (Arkansas) to ground into a double play before striking out Riley Henricks (Portland) to end the inning.

Another Mallard error in the second contributed to another unearned run in what became a 3-run second inning for the Bullfrogs. Joel Hutter (Des Moines Area CC) capped it off with a RBI single to center field to make the score 4-0.

Green Bay looked poised to tack on a couple more runs in the third when House and Henricks strung together back-to-back singles, but Winiarski was able to end the threat in getting Nick O’Shea (Minnesota) to ground into the 4-6-3 double play, the third Mallard double play in as many innings. The defense turned four double plays through the first five innings.

In the seventh, Madison put runners on first and second with one out and Harold Riggins at the plate. The Mallard designated hitter had a home run taken away on a controversial foul ball down the left field line back in the fifth. He later singled in the at-bat, but now had a chance to do some damage with runners on base. Instead, Anderson got him to ground into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. It was the fourth straight inning that the Bullfrogs had turned a pair and the eighth turned in by both teams combined.

Anderson, who was hitting 94 mph on the radar gun by the end, retired the last seven batters he faced.

His counterpart, Cody Winiarski (Virginia), also went the distance, allowing five run (2 earned) on nine hits while striking out eight and walking just two. In his final start of the season, the soon to be Virginia Cavalier was satisfied with his performance.

“I felt pretty good,” Winiarski said. “I kept my pitch count down which enabled me to go the distance.”

“Cody threw the ball very well,” Pitching Coach Jason Immekus said. “He definitely struggled early, but he showed a lot of maturity, putting a lot of zeros on the board after the second inning.”

Tomorrow will be the home and season finale for the Mallards and a rare game in the organization that it hasn’t meant battling for a playoff spot.

“There’s been very few games in this organization where it’s meant nothing,” Manager C.J. Thieleke said.

Very few would be about right as Monday’s season finale will mark just the third game that hasn’t mattered since 2001. The other two were also on the last day of the season back in 2003 and ’07.

It’ll be Fan Appreciation Day at the “Duck Pond” on Monday night. Nick Rice (MATC) will take the hill for a first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.