Theroux’s Walkoff Blast Seals Madison’s Comeback Win
Madison, Wis. (June 20) – Bottom of the ninth. Two outs. Runners at first and second. The deficit 2-1. That was the situation in which Collin Theroux (San Joaquin Delta College) found himself in his Madison Mallards debut Saturday night at the Duck Pond. And a situation in which he thrived.
After several foul balls to keep the count alive at 2-2, Madison’s newest roster addition connected with a fastball from Kenosha Kingfish reliever Brett Shimanovsky (St. Louis) and promptly deposited it over the left-center field wall for a three run walk-off home run.
Theroux’s clutch effort put the finishing touches on a 4-2 comeback effort for the Mallards en route to a series sweep of Kenosha, vaulting Madison into sole possession of second place in the Northwoods League’s South Division.
It was a storybook ending to a game that began on a sobering note for Theroux, who went 0-for-3 with both a strikeout and defensive miscue in left field to his credit heading into the bottom of the ninth. Yet the Mallards dugout had his back.
“It was definitely a rough couple of first at-bats, but I felt really comfortable in that last at-bat. If anything, I attribute that to my teammates,” Theroux said. “There’s a great energy in the dugout and guys were supporting me. Actually, a couple guys mentioned it – go out and be a hero. It was a good introduction to Madison.”
But just like Theroux’s first three plate appearances, Madison’s bats seemed stifled early. Kingfish starting pitcher Rico Garcia (Hawaii Pacific) held Donnie Scott and company to no runs on two hits across seven innings of work in his second start of the summer, fanning eight and dishing out just one walk. Meanwhile, Kenosha plated a run in the top of the second courtesy of Bobby Sheppard’s (Buffalo) RBI double, putting the Mallards in an early 1-0 hole.
And despite a solid showing from starter Matt Bower (Washington State) – 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 0 K, 66.7% strike rate – that deficit held steady over the subsequent four frames before growing to 2-0 in the top of the seventh via a sacrifice fly from Kingfish centerfielder Zach Weigel (Seton Hall). Corbin Olmstead (North Florida) served as a calming presence from Madison’s bullpen following the run scored, carrying the Mallards across 2.1 innings sans another Kenosha run.
The bottom of the ninth had arrived. Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary’s College) singled with one out. Mikey Diekroeger (Stanford) advanced Gonsolin to second via a groundout to the pitcher. Brian Rodemoyer (Illinois State) laced a liner down the right field line to score Gonsolin, trimming Kenosha’s lead to 2-1. Jason Goldstein (Illinois) singled, moving Rodemoyer over to second base. And with two outs and two strikes working against him, Theroux put the nail in the coffin with his walk-off blast.
“Unbelievable,” Scott said in the locker room after the game. “They got a great team over there, but that’s the kind of thing right there that can really get you going. Those come-from-behind wins are big. We wanted to get him (Theroux) in the lineup. I asked him if he can play any other position besides catcher. He said, ‘Yeah, I can play left field.’ We really wanted to get his bat in there and it paid off tonight.”
With the crucial series sweep of the Kingfish in the books, the Mallards will move forward and turn their collective attention toward Sunday afternoon’s contest – scheduled for 3:05 p.m. – with the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Sunday will feature Stoddard’s Country Glove Market Father’s Day Meat Raffle and Physicians Plus Mini Pennant Giveaway at Warner Park. For tickets, call the Mallards ticket office at 608-246-4277 or visit www.MallardsBaseball.com.
The Madison Mallards are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.MallardsBaseball.com.