Bullfrogs use a pair of big innings in victory
The Green Bay Bullfrogs opened their 2018 home schedule with a 9-6 win over the Madison Mallards May 31 at Johannes Stadium (Rich Palzewic photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Bullfrogs put the first two losses of the season in the rearview mirror with a 9-6 victory over the Madison Mallards May 31 at Joannes Stadium in the team’s home opener.
In their first two games, the Bullfrogs – who are members of the Northwoods League – scored just one run combined, but in the win over the Mallards, Green Bay (1-2) used two big innings to get its first win of the year.
The Bullfrogs sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run first and eight batters to the dish in a four-run fourth.
“My philosophy is to slowly implement things,” said first-year Green Bay manager Kirk Shrider, who recently took over for the departed Chris Sabo. “I told the guys that it hadn’t worked the last two nights (in losses). It appeared early on that the strike zone was going to be relatively small, so we stuck with it and got into hitting counts. We did a good job of doing things in a team atmosphere. This summer is about building friendships and memories, and having the guys learn their roles.”
The big blow in the first came on a Riley Mihalik (Rider University) bases clearing, three-run double to plate Jake Munoz (San Francisco), Blaise Maris (Florida Tech) and Cooper Morrison (UC-Davis).
“It was lefty on lefty,” said Mihalik about his big hit. “I knew (Madison pitcher Brian Martinez) was going to come in a with a fastball, so I was aggressive and I got a good ball to hit. This was a fun game to be a part of – we played really loose.”
Mihalik, who is a native of Churchville, Pennsylvania, laughed that Green Bay “is a lot more country than he’s used to and has a lot of mosquitos.”
A Tyler Plantier solo home run in the second put the Mallards (1-2) on the board, before the visitors tied the game at five with a three-run fourth.
Green Bay jumped back ahead 8-5 on a Leo Perez (Texas A&M – Corpus Christi) two-run double in the fourth. Earlier in the inning Jacob Finkbeiner (Wayne State) scored on a single by Morrison.
Mihalik knocked in his fourth run of the night later in the inning when he laced a single to right to score a streaking Perez.
After Madison pushed across a single tally in the fifth, neither team scored again. The Mallards actually had the bases loaded in that inning with nobody out but could only muster the lone run.
They also loaded the bases in the ninth, but Travis Kuhn (University of San Diego) worked his way out of the jam with three strikeouts to earn the save.
Rudy Aguilar (St. John’s) had three hits for the ‘Frogs, while Maris and Mihalik each had two in the team’s 11-hit attack.
Green Bay pitcher Jason Applegate (Villanova) got the win on the mound by tossing four innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts and one earned run allowed.
The Bullfrogs will host Madison in game two of the series June 1 beginning at 6:35.
Notes: The Northwoods League (NWL) is a wooden-bat league made up of 20 teams from around the Midwest split into a North and South Division. The NWL – which began in 1994 –boasts some of the best collegiate talent in the nation. More than 185 former NWL players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR).
Madison: 011 310 000 – 6 9 2
Green Bay: 500 400 000 – 9 11 0