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Published On: August 23rd, 2004

The 2004 Northwoods League season has officially come to a close with the Madison Mallards being crowned champions Saturday night in Madison. It is the first Northwoods League Title for the Madison franchise, which led the league in attendance with 154,258 fans this year, an average of 4,976 per night.

In a thrilling end to the game and the season, 5,310 people watched the Mallards win in dramatic fashion 4-3, in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Mallards second baseman, Doug Beck, scored from second on an errant throw. Three innings earlier, to force the game into extra innings, Duluth’s Ricky Russo hit a 2-run homerun in the top of the 8th, as the Huskies scored 3 times to tie the score.

Madison won all 4 of its postseason games this year, defeating the La Crosse Loggers 2-0 in the South Division Championship series and then defeating Duluth 2-0 in the League Championships.

Both the North and South Division Championships started on Tuesday, August 10 with the St. Cloud River Bats and the Duluth Huskies matching up in the North and the La Crosse Loggers squaring off with the Madison Mallards in the south.

In game 1, St. Cloud looked dominate as 2 pitchers combined for a 5-hit, 8-0 shutout of the Huskies, in Duluth. In the south, Madison’s pitching staff looked just as dominate as they struck out 12 Loggers in route to a 5-1 victory.

Game 2 of the Divisional playoffs saw an offensive explosion in both games. Duluth pounded out 31 hits, (29 singles) and scored 19 times as they trounced the River Bats 19-6 in St. Cloud. The Huskies 1-4 hitters were a combined 16-24, scoring 8 runs with 14 RBI. Lead-off man Chad Frey, was perfect on the night going 5-5 with a pair of walks, scoring 5 runs, and reaching base all 7 times he was at the plate. In the south, Madison finished off their series with a decisive 9-3 victory over the Loggers to advance to the LCS.

The only series that would need all 3 games to decide a victor this postseason was the St. Cloud vs. Duluth series. In game 3, pitching was again the difference as Duluth’s starter went 8.1 innings, allowing the River Bats to score just 1 run. Duluth won 3-1 to advance to their first-ever LCS.

Once again pitching was the name of the game in Game 1 of the LCS. In a great pitchers duel, Madison and Duluth traded 0’s on the board a majority of the game. The Mallards were able to muster 2 runs on just 5 hits, while their pitchers allowed just 3 hits in the game. It was the second time Duluth had been shutout this postseason.

On behalf of the Northwoods League, the MoonDogs would like to thank all the fans, host families, and partners for making 2004 the most successful year ever. Nearly 610,000 fans attended Northwoods League games this summer in the regular season with an addition 14,000+ attending postseason play. Opening day 2005 is just a mere 10 months away, and we look forward to another great season of outdoor, wood bat baseball.
MoonDogs Baseball: NO FAN LEFT BEHIND!