Comeback by Woodchucks Spoils Mallards’ Season Finale

By Peter Geppert

 Box Score

Wausau, WI – August 12, 2012. An error by Mallards third baseman Nicholas Howard (Virginia) in the 10th inning completed a string of 10 unanswered runs by the Wisconsin Woodchucks (26-9, 43-27) that gave them a shocking 11-10 win over the Madison Mallards (23-12, 39-31). With the loss the Mallards were unable to finish off the sweep of the three game series in their season finale.

The Mallards got off to a booming start, putting up four runs on Woodchucks starter Jordan Luvisi (Kansas) in the first inning. An error by second baseman Joe Luvisi (Kansas) on a ball put in play by Mallards first baseman Jeff Zimmerman (Northern Illinois) allowed shortstop Mike Reuvekamp (California) and left fielder Derek Fisher (Virginia) to come in and score. Catcher Jacob Reese (Eastern Illinois) added to Luvisi’s woes with an RBI single that brought home Howard. Designated hitter Jack Livingston (Northwestern) drove in the final run of the frame when Woodchucks first baseman John Roberts was unable to throw out Zimmerman at the plate.

The Mallards came back out in the second inning to put up another four spot on three hits to double their advantage. Right fielder Mitch Elliot (Xavier) was able to come into to score his first run of the game when the second baseman Luvisi elected to throw out Fisher for the second out of the inning. After a Howard single that scored Reuvekamp made the score 5-0, Zimmerman completed the spurt with a three run homer, his 13th of the season.

The Woodchucks dug away at their deficit in the third inning, scoring one run on an error by the shortstop Reuvekamp that let Woodchucks shortstop Madison Carter (Grayson County CC) score form third.  

The Mallards reached their largest lead of the game in the seventh inning when Zimmerman delivered his fourth RBI of the game with a single to score Howard. Center fielder Travis Becherer (Southern Illinois) capped the frame’s scoring with a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Zimmerman to tag up from third and score.

The Woodchucks scored their first two of their 10 unanswered runs in the seventh inning to narrow the Mallards lead to 10-3. Center fielder Eric Filia-Snyder (UCLA) drove in the first run when Mallards second baseman Luis Munoz (Coffeyville CC) elected to get the easy out rather then contest Carter at the plate. Third baseman Brendon Hayden (Virginia Tech) added the second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to right that was deep enough to score right fielder Brooks Braga (UW-La Crosse).

The wheels feel off for the Mallards in the eighth inning, as the Woodchucks came back to tie the game with seven runs in which they sent their first eight hitters to plate without getting out. Left fielder Bryant Munoz (Pima CC) and Carter drove in the first runs, with a single and a walk respectively to narrow the deficit to 10-5. Braga followed up in the next at-bat to bring the Woodchucks back from the dead, hitting a grand slam off of Mallards reliever Brent Mueller (Madison College). Filia-Snyder made it back-to-back home runs when his solo shot to right tied the game.

After a scoreless ninth inning, the Woodchucks completed the comeback in the 10th inning when an error by the third baseman Howard let Braga come in from third to score the winning run.

Mallards reliever Hobie McClain (New Mexico) took his first loss of the season, giving up the game tying and game winning runs. Through 2.0 innings McClain (4-1) gave up two runs on five hits.

Lowery (5-0) earned the win in addition to delivering the game winning play, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings of relief to setup the win.

News and Notes:

By losing tonight the Mallards were unable to reach the 40 win plateau for the first time under second year manager Greg Labbe.

With his home run in the second inning, Zimmerman moved into a tie with teammate Tyler Marincov (North Florida) for the single season franchise home run record with 13.

Finishing the night 2-for-6 with four RBIs, Zimmerman finished the season with a franchise record 57 RBIs.

Tonight’s attendance was 1,993.

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.

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