by Peter Geppert
Wisconsin Rapids, WI – July 26, 2012. The Madison Mallards (13-4, 29-23) return from the All-Star break to take on the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (6-12, 22-30) tonight at Witter Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
On Sunday the Mallards finished off a three game road sweep of the Battle Creek Bombers (19-33, 5-12) with a 5-0 win. On offense the Mallards used back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning by first baseman Jeff Zimmerman (Northern Illinois) and third baseman Nicholas Howard (Virginia) to lock down the victory. Starter Daniel Gibson (Florida) highlighted a great combined effort on the mound by the Mallards pitching staff with 6.0 stellar innings in which he allowed only one hit while striking out eight.
The Mallards will count on Gibson’s (3-2) college teammate, left-hander Bobby Poyner (Florida), to deliver another strong performance tonight. Poyner (2-0) is coming off his best start as a Mallard in which he threw 7.0 innings of shutout baseball during the Mallards 16-4 win over the Green Bay Bullfrogs (6-11, 28-24). Since becoming a starter on July 5th, Poyner has really come into his own, coming into tonight with a 1.00 ERA as a starter.
On the hill tonight for the Rafters is left-hander Augey Bill (Arizona). Bill (2-1), a 6’8”, 225 pound sophomore out of Danville, California is one of the more physically imposing players the Mallards have faced this season. In his last start he took the loss after giving up five runs through 7.1 innings of work during the Rafters 5-1 loss to the Bullfrogs. Bill has been a workhorse for the Rafters, averaging over 6.0 innings of work through four starts.
After giving up five runs through the first 10.0 innings in their past series with the Bombers, the Mallards pitching staff settled down to hold the Bombers lineup to no runs and one hit through the next 17.0 innings.
One of the biggest differences for the Mallards in the second half has been the addition of the two Florida pitchers, Gibson and Poyner, to the rotation. The two have combined for a 2.53 ERA and 44 strikeouts since coming to Madison.
The Mallards return to action at the “Duck Pond” on Friday, July 27th against the Rafters. That night will be Presidential Bobble Election Night at the ballpark.
The 2012 season is upon us! Single-game tickets are on-sale for all Mallards home games!
The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League. The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate League in North America.