Woodchucks fall to Kingfish in 2017 season finale
For the final time in the 2017 Northwoods League season, the Wisconsin Woodchucks took the field at Athletic Park. Errors have been extremely costly all season, and in Game 72, they were again: a season-high six Wisconsin errors led to seven unearned runs allowed as the Kenosha Kingfish (36-36; 14-23) closed their 2017 season with a 9-1 win over the Woodchucks (26-46; 11-26) Sunday afternoon in Wausau.
The final game of the season was a pitcher’s duel early. Degan Harte was strong in his third start of the year, but Kenosha finally got to him in the fourth. Connor Moroder, Cam Comer and Sage Bruhl all hit singles in the frame to lift the Kingfish to a 1-0 advantage.
Then, the errors started piling up. The Woodchucks committed one in the first and another in the second, but it didn’t come back to cost them until the fifth, when two more Wisconsin errors led directly to four unearned Kenosha runs. Mike Madej led off the frame with a double, and then the next two men reached on an error. Moroder drove home one runner on a groundout and Joe Campagna doubled home another run and ended up scoring himself as Kenosha raced out to a 5-0 lead.
Kevin Bolder replaced Harte in the sixth and worked a scoreless frame, before errors hurt him as well in the seventh. Derek Bangert and Moroder both singled, and Bangert came home on a Chase Scharnak single, with Moroder following closely behind thanks to a throwing error to make it 7-0 Kingfish.
Bolder exited his final game after three seasons with the Woodchucks after two innings, and Jackson Owens, Saturday night’s hero, entered for the eighth. Soon, errors cost him as well. Madej led off with another double and Carson Breshears followed with a single to center, but Caeden Harris misplayed the ball in center, allowing Madej to score. Breshears got to third on the play and scored on a groundout to give Kenosha a 9-0 stranglehold.
Meanwhile, Kingfish starter Nick Long was absolutely dominating. Kenosha committed an error to allow Chad Fleischman to get on base to lead off the game, but Long didn’t allow another baserunner until he walked Kyle Mrozinski in the fourth. Wisconsin didn’t even have a hit until Tommy Duddleston singled in the fifth, and Long looked primed to pitch a shutout until Wisconsin finally cracked the code in the eighth. With one out, Hunter Larson singled and Mike Ferri followed by a lining a double into the gap in left-center, finally getting the Woodchucks on the board at 9-1.
Despite the one mistake, Long had a sensational outing, allowing just the one run over eight innings on only three hits, with nine strikeouts against just one walk. Jacob DeLabio replaced Long for the ninth and tossed a literally perfect inning, getting the Woodchucks to popout, flyout, and groundout on just three pitches to seal Kenosha’s 9-1 win.
Thank you for being a part of the 2017 Wisconsin Woodchuck season! It’s been a great honor to be here this summer. We will see you next year!