Looking Towards the Second Half – First Half Recap
First Half Recap: Woodchucks Encounter Difficulties After Strong Start
The Wisconsin Woodchucks wrapped up the first half of their 2016 season tonight with a 4-2 loss at home against Madison. They finished the first half at 13-22.
The ‘Chucks got off to a 13-10 start and were only 2.5 games back of first place, but things have not bounced their way since last June. Altogether, the Woodchucks have lost eight games by one run — the third-highest total in the league.
Offensively, the ‘Chucks have stood out as one of the best teams in the league. Their .273 team batting average is fifth in the league, as are their 25 home runs. The Woodchucks have been especially strong at home, batting .287 and crushing 17 home runs in just 19 games.
Connor Heady (Kentucky), the team’s leader in home runs, has hit all five of his big flies at Athletic Park.
Steve Passatempo (UMass Lowell) is second on the team in home runs — four — and leads the club with 24 runs batted in. His batting average, now .331, has spent almost the entire season in the Northwoods League’s top 10. Passatempo has appeared in 35 games, missing only one in the first half.
Stevie Mangrum (Virginia Tech) closed out the first half on a roll and pushed his batting average over .300. He’s also slugged three home runs and knocked in 15 runs.
After joining the team with the season already underway, Steele Walker (Oklahoma) has made an immediate impact in just 22 games. With his first homer happening in the last game of the first half, he is poised for a strong second half. His average has hovered around .325 and he’s doubled five times to go with eight batted in.
On the mound, Scott Parker (San Francisco) has led the way by throwing a team-leading 35 1/3 innings and posting a 3.52 ERA with 22 strikeouts against just nine walks.
In the bullpen, Evy Ruibal (Notre Dame) and Gordon Cardenas (Auburn) have held down leads for the Woodchucks. Ruibal didn’t allow a single earned run until July and his 2.07 ERA leads the team’s regular pitchers.
Cardenas leads the club with four saves. He’s struck out 16 batters, against just seven walks, in 15 1/3 innings pitched and his impressive 3.52 ERA doesn’t quite describe his strong year. Five of the six earned runs he’s allowed came in one outing, and he’s allowed no earned runs in 10 of his 12 appearances.
The ‘Chucks open the second half of the season with a six-game road trip against Lakeshore, Madison and Thunder Bay.