Hometown boys: Local players on Madison Mallards
Neumann, Hoffman, Handel and Butler on roster
MADISON — Lots of people love going to Warner park to see the mallards play baseball, but how many mallards players could you name?
This summer there are four players from around here-three from Sun Prairie and one from Verona.
Tony Butler will join the Mallards when he’s done playing in the College World Series.
They like being hometown favorites, but they’re more focused on winning another Northwoods league championship.
“I always love coming back here to play its always really fun to play in front of this crowd especially in front of your family and friends,” said Michael Handel, who played at the University of Minnesota and is from Sun Prairie.
Handel has spent the past two and a half seasons with the Mallards. The infielder says it never gets old coming home for the summers and playing in front of his family.
“My grandparents really love it, it’s great. It gives them something to do and I get to spend time with them,” said Handel.
Handel isn’t the only local on the roster enjoying family time. Pitcher Ben Neumann is from Verona and plays at Northern Illinois.
While Sun Prairie’s Nate Hoffman pitches for Madison College and now the Mallards.
“It’s something I have kinda dreamed as a kid, kinda being a local guy, it’s a really fun experience to come out here,” said Nate Hoffmann.
“Growing up I used to come to some games, felt like wow, how great of an opportunity it would be to play for the Mallards when I was older and now it turns out I am playing for them and it’s a great opportunity,” said Neumann.
“It’s great playing with these guys that you grew up with. We’ve had some inner rivalries but it’s always fun to play with your hometown buddies,” said Handel.
These hometown boys want to help the Mallards win their second straight Northwoods League title.
“Going forward we have really high expectations for ourselves,” said Handel.
“Even off the field stuff we are just bonding together and I think that is making us a lot better as a team,” said Neumann.
“To be a part of the best summer collegiate league its a fun experience and to go out and try to win it again this year would be something fun I’ve always been a part of teams that win so this is just another step in our journey,” said Hoffmann.