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Published On: August 3rd, 2003

THE DUCK POND ? The torrential downpour that descended on the Duck Pond last night didn?t come only in the form of a seventh-inning thunderstorm, but also arrived courtesy of the Wausau Woodchucks bats.

The Woodchucks pounded out 16 hits and ten runs, including outfielder Mike Pankratz hitting for the cycle, as Wausau eliminated the Mallards from the second half with a 10-2 win. The Woodchucks have now extended their record to 20-5 in the second half and 37-19 overall. Wausau now only needs one more win or a Rochester loss to secure the second half championship in the NWL South Division.

?Their hot right now and so are we,? said Mallards manager Darrell Handelsman. ?They are just a little bit hotter. That?s okay; I?ve seen that work against you in the playoffs.?

Speaking of the playoffs, they are now just one week off. Wausau holds a four-game lead for the best overall record over the Mallards with seven games left in the season. The team with the best record will have home-field advantage in the first round. That is big, seeing as both teams are playing better than .700 baseball at home.

If the playoffs were to start today, Game 1 would be in Wausau on Sunday, August 10. Game 2 would be in Madison on Monday, August 11 at 7:05pm and Game 3, if necessary, would be back in Wausau. The team that wins that series would play in the NWL Championship Series beginning on August 13.

?We?re getting ourselves playoff ready,? explained Handelsman. ?Our guys will come out strong in the playoffs.?

Tonight, the Mallards get another crack at Wausau. Jon Olson (2-3, 2.63 ERA) will be opposed by Bryan Gale (3-2, 4.67 ERA). It is Meriter Baseball Card Night as the first 600 fans 14 & under will get a pack of Mallards baseball cards. It is also Suttle Straus Folder night as the first 500 fan 14 & under will receive a Mallards pocket folder.

Game time is 6:05pm with the gates opening at 4:45pm.