Proximity to the playing surface often trumps the quality of play when I'm making decisions about a sporting event to view. I'll take a wooden bench at a high school basketball game over the NBA on TV every time. And I was much happier in my seat three rows behind home plate at Robin Roberts Field last Saturday than I would have been in the left-field seats at Miller Park.
Roberts Field, located just off Wright Street, is the home of the Madison College WolfPack, which won their section in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament last weekend with wins over College of Lake County and Highland Community College. They advance to this weekend's regional tournament, which they will also host at Roberts, a venue that benefits from its lack of frills. As much as I love the Mallards, sometimes it's nice just to watch a ballgame without all the sponsor announcements and on-field contests.
The WolfPack was down, 4-0, to Lake County when I showed up in the fourth inning Saturday, and things only got worse with a two-run double making the score 6-0 in the sixth. Madison managed two in the seventh and then blew the game open in the eighth with seven runs to take the lead. Josh Jaro, a sophomore lefty from Green Bay, made things interesting in the ninth by giving up a triple before striking out the final batter to pick up the save.
Madison plays Oakton - a team they split a doubleheader with on April 20 - at noon on Friday, May 18, with a game between Black Hawk and Kankakee following at 3 p.m. The action continues in the double-elimination tournament at 9 a.m. on Saturday. For more information, and to follow the WolfPack's progress, check madisoncollegeathletics.com.