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Mallards 2014 Season In Review

 

By Dylan Lee – Public Relations

Madison, WI. – August 19, 2014. The Madison Mallards came into the 2014 season with large expectations after a highly successful 2013 campaign. The 2013 Mallards went all the way to the league finals, beating the Duluth Huskies to win the 2013 Northwoods League Championship title. Manager Donnie Scott returned for his second year as the head coach of the Mallards, sporting number three as he looked for his third Northwoods League Championship ring and the third Mallards Northwoods League championship in their 14 year history.

First Half

Rain was a steady presence throughout the season in Madison, and opening night was no exception. An excessive amount of rain fell at the “Duck Pond” on May 27th, and the Mallards first game of the 2014 season was postponed to a doubleheader the next day. The season opener turned out to be a  split with the Kalamazoo Growlers, and after a 3-3 start the Mallards went on a six game win streak to put themselves in first place at 9-3. The Mallards would hover around the top of the South Division standings until late June, when a four game slide dropped them out of the playoff hunt. The Mallards finished with a 4-6 record in their last ten games while the Lakeshore Chinooks went 8-2 in their last ten to take the South Division first half title. Although the Mallards finished 5.5 games back of first place, first baseman Pete Alonso showed early signs as an MVP candidate, batting at a .348 clip through the first half with seven home runs and 23 RBI. His resume was highlighted by a 3-for-5 performance in just his second game with the Mallards, hitting a home run and recording five RBI to help the Mallards topple the Kenosha Kingfish on June 5th by a score of 13-4.

All Star Break

Six Mallards were selected to play in the 20th Annual Northwoods League All-Star game at Kapco Park in Mequon, Wisconsin. The Mallards were represented by Alonso, closer Tim Black (Central Michigan), outfielder Alex Bacon (North Florida), catcher Drew Carlile (Bradley), and pitchers Sterling Sharp (Eastern Michigan) and Christian Taugner (Brown).

Alonso was the star of the show, hitting a three run bomb to lead the South Division over the North by a score of 3-0. He was awarded the Northwoods League All Star Game Star of Stars MVP award after his 1-for-3 performance with one home run and three RBI.

Second Half

The second half started solid for the Mallards, going 12-6 through their first 18 games, winning four straight in that stretch with consecutive sweeps over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and Green Bay Bullfrogs. They would go on to lose ten of their next 11 games to fall into the middle of the South Division standings. However, the Mallards persevered, rebounding with a two game sweep of the La Crosse Loggers on July 30th to put them back in the playoff hunt. They would hover in third and fourth place in the overall standings and split an integral two game series with the La Crosse Loggers on August 3rd to put them five games back of the second place overall Wisconsin Woodchucks with six games left to play. The Mallards remained on the fringe of playoff contention with a sweep of the Alexandria Blue Anchors in their final home series, placing them three games back of the Woodchucks with four to play. However, the Mallards were downed by the Battle Creek Bombers with two games to go, officially ending their hopes of a postseason berth.

Postseason All-Stars

Mallards infielder Pete Alonso was named to the Northwoods League Postseason All-Star team, as well as being awarded the Northwoods League Most Valuable Player after he finished second in the league with 18 home runs as well as tallying 53 RBI and placing third in the league with a .354 average.

The soon-to-be sophomore out of the University of Florida is the current single season record holder in home runs for Madison and was named to the 2014 SEC All Freshman Team at Florida, where he also gained recognition after being voted to the 2014 National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Freshman All American Second Team earlier this summer.

Reliever Tim Black was also named to the Postseason All-Star team after leading the Northwoods League in saves with 19. Black finished with a 1.89 ERA and recorded 37 strikeouts in 33.1 innings of work.

Statistical Notes

Alonso broke the Mallards single season home run record on June 26th, recording his 14th home run of the year and surpassing former Mallards Tyler Marincov (North Florida) and Jeff Zimmerman (Northern Illinois) from the 2012 season, when they both had 13. He finished with 18 homers, second in the Northwoods League to leader Paul Dejong of the Wisconsin Woodchucks, who hit 20.

Black led the Northwoods League in saves with 19, and currently holds the Mallards single season record in that category. He overtook 2013 Mallards reliever Hunter May (UNC-Charlotte) and former Mallards Bubba O'Donnell and John Hamilton.

Starter Rob McDonnell (Illinois) earned seven wins in 11 starting appearances, good for a second place standing in the Northwoods League win column.

Team Leaders

Hitting Leaders:

Outfielder Connor Marabell (Jacksonville): .384 AVG, 58 hits, 27 RBI, 23 runs, ten 2B, 3 HR

Infielder Pete Alonso (Florida): .354 AVG, 80 hits, 53 RBI, 43 runs, 18 HR

Outfielder Alex Bacon (North Florida): .270 AVG, 60 hits, 24 RBI, 15 HBP, seven doubles, five HR

Catcher Drew Carlile (Bradley): .269 AVG, 42 hits, 21 runs, 18 RBI

Pitching Leaders:

Reliever Tim Black (Central Michigan): 19 saves, 33.1 IP, 1.89 ERA, 37 SO, 7 ER, 5 BB

Starter Rob McDonnell (Illinois): 7-3, 3.29 ERA, 54.2 IP, 43 SO, 20 ER

Starter A.J. Bogucki (North Carolina): 3-2, 4.50 ERA, 48 IP, 37 SO, 24 ER, 17 BB

Reliever Ben Neumann (Northern Illinois): 3-3, 3.57 ERA, 40.1 IP, 39 SO, 16 ER, 10 BB, one SV

Reliever Andrew Buckley (California): 2-0, 4.08 ERA, 35.1 IP, 43 SO, 16 ER, one SV

Starter Sterling Sharp (Eastern Michigan): 4-7, 4.47 ERA, 56.1 IP, 41 SO

 

Former Mallards Drafted in 2014

Name

Round, Pick

Team

Year with Mallards

Nick Howard

Rd 1, Pick 19

Cincinnati Reds

2012

Derek Fisher

Competitive Balance, Rd A, Pick 37

Houston Astros

2012

Taylor Gushue

Rd 4, Pick 131

Pittsburgh Pirates

2012

Jose Trevino

Rd 6, Pick 186

Texas Rangers

2012

Brock Stewart

Rd 6, Pick 189

Los Angeles Dodgers

2013

Drew Weeks

Rd 7, Pick 203

Colorado Rockies

2013

Michael Gerber

Rd 15, Pick 460

Detroit Tigers

2012

Brandon Barker

Rd 16, Pick 493

Atlanta Braves

2012

Eric Cheray

Rd 17, Pick 522

Oakland Athletics

2013

Michael Hollenbeck

Rd 23, Pick 678

Chicago White Sox

2011

Erik Forgione

Rd 25, Pick 761

Pittsburgh Pirates

2013

Michael Fitzgerald

Rd 27, Pick 807

San Diego Padres

2013

Tom Verdi

Rd 33, Pick 981

Seattle Mariners

2012

Kyle Ruchim

Rd 39, Pick 1185

Saint Louis Cardinals

2013