While it was a relatively mediocre week in terms of record, from Monday, June 19, until Sunday, June 25, the Madison Mallards found a way to put themselves back in the win column on three separate occasions, a place they had visited just once during the week prior. The Ducks went 3-4 on the field pushing their overall record to 10-14 and keeping the team 7.5 games back of Rochester for the division lead. While it would be difficult to catch the Honkers at this point (14 games remain on the first half schedule), the team hasn?t given up hope.
The Ducks got just the start to the week they needed, beating St. Cloud on their home field by a score of 3-0. The Mallards churned out three runs on seven hits while starter Eryk McConnell did the rest. McConnell went seven strong innings allowing just five hits and no runs. He struck out 10 River Bats while walking only two. The win boosted McConnell?s record to 1-1 on the summer.
From St. Cloud the team headed to Alexandria for a two-game set with the Beetles. The series wasn?t what the Ducks had hoped for as they dropped game one by a score of 10-5 and game two by a count of 2-1. The Ducks brought out the lumber in game one as they tagged Beetles? pitching for five runs on ten hits. Unfortunatley, Mallards? pitching had a difficult time containing the high-powered Alexandria offense as well. Danny Worth led the Beetles charge going three for five with three RBI and a pair of runs scored.
The Mallards received a brilliant pitching performance from Craig Meier in game two of the Alexandria series. Meier went six innings allowing just four hits and two earned runs. He also struck out five but took the hard-luck loss as the Mallards offense was only able to muster a single run on Spencer Steedley?s first home run of the season.
From Alexandria the Mallards flew south back to Madison for another two-game set with St. Cloud. The series started out rough, as the Mallards dropped game one 5-3. Despite the outcome on the field, fans were still entertained by the on-field antics of the Zooperstars. Inflatable mascots like Ken Giraffey Jr. and Roger Clamans danced and fought their way into fans hearts with hilarious between-inning skits.
Thursday was also TLC Laser Eye Centers ?Blind as a Bat Night.? One lucky fan received the gift of great vision, winning a free laser eye surgery courtesy of TLC Laser Eye Centers and all fans received a free pair of Mallards sunglasses.
Friday, the Ducks got back to their winning ways. The team picked up a 4-1 win over St. Cloud, scoring three runs in eighth to boost their season record to 9-13. Mallards pitcher Marc Lewis went six plus innings allowing only two hits and one earned run.
Before the game on Friday, the team celebrated Meriter Kid?s Day (pictured top-left) at the Duck Pond as thousands of children packed the stadium to hang with the favorite Mallards players and coaches. The day featured wiffle- and kick- ball games as well as a dunk tank, face painters and balloon animal artists. Kids could also get autographs and tour the stadium. At the end of the day, kids got a chance to relax and eat lunch. All in all, Meriter Kid?s Day 2006 at the Duck Pond was a success.
Alexandria came to town on Saturday for a 6:05 p.m. contest with the Mallards. The Ducks, carrying momentum from their big win the night before, came out strong and defeated the Beetles by a score of 3-2. The Mallards were down early as Alexandria was able to post a run in the first but runs in the fourth and fifth gave the Ducks a lead they would not relinquish as they coasted to their second straight win. Jake Sullivan (pictured below) went six plus innings allowing just one run on three hits.
Prior to the game fans witnessed the first ever Duck Pond wedding. John Zaring, Sr. and Katie Stahoviak tied the knot on the pitchers mound (pictured bottom-left), making them the first ever Mallards couple.
Fans continued to be entertained after the game as many stuck around for the Life Style Staffing fireworks show. It was the third of seven fireworks shows to be put on at the Duck Pond this summer.
The week ended on Sunday, June 25, with the Mallards falling to Alexandria by a score of 4-1. The Mallards bats were held silent for most of the game as the team scored its only run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Pitcher Adam Mills went the distance, allowing four earned runs on ten hits.
It was also American Family Mini Bat day at the ballpark. The first 1,000 fans 14 and under received free Mini Bats courtesy of American Family Insurance. It was also a Budweiser Pint Glass night. The first 1,000 fans 21 and over received the third in a series of five limited edition Budweiser Pint Glasses.
On the field, the week got the Mallards back into a winning spirit. The team was able to take two out of three games from St. Cloud and pulled out another versus Alexandria. Nearly, 25,000 fans came out to the Duck Pond over the course of the four game home stand. Perhaps the wins can bolster some momentum as the team prepares to head to Thunder Bay, Canada for a pair of games with the Border Cats.
The Mallards return home Thursday, June 29, to take on the Brainerd Blue Thunder. It will be Pepsi Baseball Glove Night. The first 1,000 fans 14 and under will receive baseball gloves courtesy of Pepsi.
Great seats are still available for Thursday, Friday and Saturday?s games. Order yours today by visiting www.mallardsbaseball.com, calling 246.4277 or stop by the Duck Pond.