Hawkins shuts down Mallards again in 1-0 Woodchucks win
Before Monday, eight teams in the Northwoods League had failed to record a shutout. After Monday evening, that total shrunk to seven. Led by four excellent arms and one timely piece of hitting, the Wisconsin Woodchucks (10-17) shut out the Madison Mallards (14-13) 1-0 Monday night to snap their three-game losing streak, end Madison’s four-game win streak, and level the season series with the Mallards at two games apiece.
The Mallards have the best scoring offense in the Northwoods League with 184 runs scored in 26 games. After 27 games, that run total did not increase at all. Heath Hawkins made his fourth start of the year for Wisconsin, and his second start against Madison went even better than his first. But it wasn’t easy. The Mallards got two men in scoring position in both the first and second, a runner to third in the fourth and a runner to second in the fifth, but could never bring them home. Hawkins allowed just four hits and two walks and struck out six over 6.1 innings, the longest a Chucks starter has pitched this year.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin offense didn’t fare much better against Madison starter Simon Rosenblum-Larson outside of one strong inning. The Woodchucks don’t get hit by many pitches or draw many walks, but Rosenblum-Larson didn’t get that memo, as he hit three Woodchucks and walked two others. His most costly one came in the third when he hit Jackson Owens with an inside fastball. A passed ball by catcher Maverick Handley allowed Owens to get to second, and he advanced to third on a groundout. Up stepped Trey Dawson, who bounced a single between second and short to score Owens and put Wisconsin up 1-0.
They wouldn’t score again. But unlike yesterday, they wouldn’t need to. After Hawkins got Handley to lineout to start the second, Lenny Gwizdala worked around a walk to get the final two outs of the frame. Daniel Sprinkle allowed two hits in the eighth but pitched a scoreless frame, helped by a gorgeous outfield assist from Tristan Clarke to can Doran Turchin at third. That set the stage for Orsen Josephina, who made quick work of the Mallards in the ninth to tally his league-leading ninth save of the year in just ten tries to clinch the 1-0 Woodchucks win.
The three-game Wisconsin homestand continues Tuesday night at 6:35 PM at Athletic Park. Korey Rasure will make his third start of the year for the Chucks as the Lakeshore Chinooks come to town for a pair of contests.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and the 2017 Northwoods League Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, presented by Ascension. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.