Leffler Shines, Pitching Dominates as Road Squads Sweep Major-League Showcase
Madison, Wis. (August 4) – Forty-one big league scouts set up camp behind home plate at the Duck Pond Tuesday evening to evaluate the top prospects of summer collegiate baseball in the Northwoods League’s 2015 Major League Dreams Showcase at Warner Park. The day began with extended batting practice and workouts at 12:30 p.m., and eventually concluded with two decisive victories by Visiting Teams one and two – 10-0 and 7-0 victories, respectively – during which a handful of players impressed with the bat and on the mound for scouts in attendance.
One of many hitters who stole the attention of scouts was Willmar Stingers shortstop Tyler Leffler (Bradley), who went 2-for-4 with a home run, double and five runs batted to propel Visiting Team One to victory in the opener of the twin-bill. Cal Stevenson (Nevada), representing the Duluth Huskies, contributed with three runs scored, two stolen bases and a 2-for-3 batting line alongside Leffler. Green Bay’s Ryan Donovan (Hofstra) and Battle Creek’s Dan Swain (Siena) each went yard in the nightcap en route to going a combined 3-for-8 at the heart of Visiting Team Two’s order.
Pitching was exceptionally strong for both visiting squads. Toby Anderson (Minnesota), Lucas Gilbreath (Minnesota), Nick Wernke (West Virginia) and Trevor Charpie (Nevada-Reno) each tallied perfect lone innings in relief for Visiting Team One, combining to hoard five strikeouts and no walks in their appearances. Visiting Team Two received similarly impressive production from Zach Muckenhirn (North Dakota), Jake Stolley (Northwestern) and Ryan Radue (UConn) in the finale, the three of whom combined to surrender just one hit with four whiffs in four total innings.
Despite being unable to muster a run in either game, both home squads featured a handful of noteworthy performances. Mankato Moondogs shortstop Paul Panaccione (Grand Canyon Univ.), batting .299 in regular-season play this summer, went 2-for-4 at the dish in Home Team One’s defeat, while Rochester Honkers outfielder/right-handed pitcher Matt Fielder (Minnesota) whiffed a pair of batters in a scoreless ninth. Hosting the event, the Madison Mallards enjoyed scoreless appearances from both Mike Kaelin (Buffalo) and Tyler Frohwirth (Minnesota State) in game two.
With Tuesday’s showcase in the books, the Mallards (19-11, 39-26) will turn their attention toward the finale of their two-game home series with the Alexandria Blue Anchors (16-16, 28-39) on Wednesday, August 5 at the Duck Pond. Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. contest will feature a Charter Communications Team Poster Giveaway for fans, including a Kalahari Resorts Indoor Theme Park Pass Giveaway for the first 500 fans through the Warner Park gates. For tickets, call the Mallards Ticket Office at 608-246-4277 or visit www.MallardsBaseball.com for more information.
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.