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Ducks Falter in Late Innings

After a 1-3 road trip, the Madison Mallards returned to the Duck Pond with hopes of turning around the first half of the Northwoods League season. Less than two weeks ago, Madison was tied for first with Rochester at 7-3. Since that time, Madison has gone 1-10 and fallen to last place in the South. The latest loss was Thursday against St. Cloud, 5-3 in 10 innings.

The visiting River Bats got on the board first. In the second inning Kyle Baran singled. He was then bunted to second base. After the next batter struck out, Baran scored on a single by Alex Kubal to right field that was mishandled by the Mallards’ Jordan Comadena. The run was ruled to have scored on an error. After Kubal stole both second and third, he scored on a Bryan Cartie single to make it 2-0.

The Mallards got one back in the bottom of the second. Shortstop Gary Arndt, playing his first game with Madison, led off with a single. After Mitch Saum (below) bunted him to second, Joe Oliver singled moving Arndt to third. After Wayne Bond struck out, Comadena singled to score Arndt and make the score 2-1.

The Mallards tied the score in the bottom of the seventh. Bobby Hubbard reached on an error with one out. He advanced to second on a balk. Spencer Steedley walked on a pitch that got by the catcher, allowing Hubbard to move to third. Second baseman Ryan Bond singled to score Hubbard from third and tie the game at two.

In the top of the ninth, St. Cloud’s Mike Loberg led off with a triple to right field. With one out, Jon Caddell hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Loberg and give the River Bats a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Madison was able to tie the game and force extra innings. Hubbard led off with a walk. With one out, Ryan Bond singled to move Hubbard to third. Randy Molina followed with a grounder to short. Bond was erased at second but Molina slid headfirst to beat the double play. Hubbard scored to tie the game at three.

Madison was unable to hang on, though. The first two St. Cloud batters reached in the top of the tenth against Madison pitcher Brett Scarpetta. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Casey Baron relieved Scarpetta. Pinch hitter Clint Pridmore laid down a bunt to score Ryan Curry from third. J.J. Jelmini followed with a double to left, scoring Charlie Cutler from third and making the score 5-3.
The Mallards were unable to score any in the bottom of the 10th. Madison did get two runners on with two outs, but Steedley struck out looking to end the game.

Scarpetta took the loss for Madison.

Although the result wasn?t what the Mallards had hoped for, the fans were still entertained by the ZOOperstars ? animal mascots impersonating sports figures. All night long, the Duck Pond fans enjoyed the comical antics of Harry Canary, Dennis Frogman, Nomar Garciaparrot (top right), Ken Giraffey, Jr. (top left) and Roger Clamens.

The teams will meet again Friday Night at Warner Park. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. It will be Wells Fargo T-shirt Night. The first 500 fans 18 and over will receive a free T-shirt. It?s also Kid?s day at the ballpark. From 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. kids will have an opportunity to meet their favorite Mallards players and coaches, participate in on-field games, on-field instruction, various off-the-field activities and much more. Come on out to the Duck Pond for a fun day with the Ducks. For $7 get access to all the events, as well as a Mallards Calendar, a ticket to a future game and a meal.

Great seats are still available for the weekend games. Order yours today by visiting www.mallardsbaseball.com, stopping by the Duck Pond or calling 608.246.4277.