The Madison Mallards were tough-luck losers again on Thursday night, dropping their fourth straight game 7-6 to the Wisconsin (Wausau) Woodchucks. The loss moves the Mallards record back to .500 at 7-7.
The Ducks got the scoring started early in the second inning. Ryan Bond led off with a single to left and later moved to second on a passed ball. The next batter, Mitch Saum, sacrificed Bond to third. The third batter of the inning, Dan Melvin, hit a slow roller up the middle that scored Bond from third as the Woodchucks played for Melvin at first and the second out of the inning. Woodchucks pitcher Bryce Wells was then able to retire Joe Oliver for the third out of the inning.
The Woodchucks would come right back in the bottom half of the second, answering with three runs of their own. Matt Czimskey and Ryan Wilkes led of the inning with a pair of singles. Czimskey would later score after Joe Evans singled to left with Wilkes moving to third on the play. The next batter, Steve Goins, grounded into a fielder?s choice scoring Wilkes from third and giving the Woodchucks their second run of the inning. Goins would later make it to third on a Chris Bonnell single and score on a Josh Yates single to make the score 3-1 Woodchucks.
The Mallards got one run back in the fifth after Wayne Bond reached second on a throwing error by the Woodchucks third baseman. The next batter, Jordan Comadena, lined a single into right-center scoring Bond and closing the gap to 3-2 Woodchucks. The Mallards would go quietly from there but would get right back to it in the sixth inning.
Spencer Steedley led off the sixth with a walk but the next batter, Ryan Bond, flew out to right for the first out of the inning. That brought up Melvin and he did not miss. Melvin sent a two-run blast over the left field wall to give the Mallards a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, that lead would be relatively short lived.
The Mallards brought in newcomer Eddie Burns to pitch the bottom half of the seventh inning but things didn?t go as planned. Burns hit Bonnell with a pitch to open the inning and walked Yates on four straight pitches to put runners on first and second. The Mallards immediately made a pitching change, bringing in another newcomer, Jeff Wilkerson, to pitch to Rich Prall. Prall proceeded to roll a pitch up along third that was booted by Mallards third baseman Mitch Saum to load the bases. Billy Froehlich followed with a grand slam to left, giving the Woodchucks a lead they would not relinquish.
The Mallards made it close, however, putting up a two spot in eighth after both Ryan Bond and Saum singled and Melvin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Oliver followed with a slow roller up the middle that got Bond home from third with Melvin being put out at second. After Kris Rochelle struck out, Wayne Bond singled to right-center, scoring Saum to make it 7-6 but that would be all the closer the Mallards would get.
Mallards pitcher Marc Lewis (pictured below) looked sharp in a losing effort. He went six innings, giving up seven hits and three earned runs, all of which came in the second inning.
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.