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Ducks Drop Heartbreaker to Woodchucks

The Madison Mallards dropped a heartbreaker to the Wisconsin (Wausau) Woodchucks 5-4 Wednesday night at Athletic Field in Wausau. The loss lowered the Mallards record to 7-6 on the season.

The game started off relatively quiet with both Madison and Wausau posting zeros in each of the first two innings. Wayne Bond (pictured below) got the scoring started in the top of the third inning when he belted a solo home run off Woodchucks pitcher Owen Reid to put the Mallards in front 1-0. Reid would get the ensuing three Mallards hitters to ground out and prevent any further damage in the third.

The Woodchucks answered Bond?s blast with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the third. After Andy Gerhartz grounded out to open the inning, Joe Evans doubled to left. The next batter, Steve Goins, reached with an infield single on a ball hit in the hole near short. Evans advanced to third on the play. Still with one out, Rich Prall singled up the middle for the Woodchucks scoring Evans from third and moving Goins up to second. Steve Yates followed with a single to left scoring Goins. That would be the extent of the damage, however, as Mallards pitcher Casey Baron got Josh Vander Hey to strike out and Billy Froehlich to ground out and end the inning

The Mallards came right back in the top of the fourth. Ryan Bond led off the inning with a single to right and the following batter Spencer Steedley brought him home with a sharp double off the left field wall to tie the score at 2-2. Steedley would later advance to third on a passed ball but Reid was able to retire Mallards Mitch Saum, Bobby Hubbard and Kris Rochelle in order and end the Mallards threat.

The Ducks would pick up the scoring again in their half of the fifth. With two outs, Mallards first baseman Jordan Comadena reached on an error. Mike Rohde followed with a walk and Ryan Bond would cash in the Mallards third run with a single that scored Comadena from second.

That would be all the scoring until the top half of inning number eight. Steedley opened the inning with a walk and, after Saum flew out, stole second base. With one man out and Steedley on second, Hubbard grounded out, pushing Steedley to third. A passed ball by Woodchucks catcher Matt Czmiskey allowed Steedley to score and push the Mallards? lead to 4-2. The following batter Kris Rochelle struck out to end the Mallards eighth.

The Woodchucks just wouldn?t go away, however, as they posted three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Mallards pitcher Brett Scarpetta began the inning by hitting Woodchucks outfielder Billy Froehlich with a pitch. Froehlich was later able to advance all the way to third on a wild pitch and would score on a Ryan Wilkes grounder in which Wilkes was ruled safe at first. After two consecutive strikeouts, Evans was also hit by a Scarpetta pitch. Scarpetta was then lifted from the game in favor of Mike Creevy. Creevy hit Goins with his very first pitch, loading the bases for the Woodchucks. The next batter, Prall, hit a chopper to first that was fielded by Comadena but mishandled by Creevy on the flip to first allowing two more runs to score and give the Woodchucks all they would need for the victory.
The Mallards take on the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the second and final game of the series tomorrow, June 15 at 6:35 p.m. Hear all the action live on Madison?s Fox Sports Radio, over the airwaves at 100.5 FM, or online at www.mallardsbaseball.com or www.foxsportsmadison.com.

The Mallards return to the Duck Pond on Friday, June 16 to face the Duluth Huskies on the Neckerman Agency Madison Blues Turn-Back-the-Clock-Night. The Mallards will be sporting replica 1940s style Madison Blues uniforms and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free replica Blues hat. Live Blues music, presented by Madison Magazine, will take place pre- and post-game with Westside Andy and the Mel Ford Band. Stick around after the game for the human cannonball David ?The Bullet? Smith.

Great seats are still available. Visit www.mallardsbaseball.com, call 608.246.4277 or stop by the Duck Pond for tickets or more information.