After a long bus ride back from Canada, the Madison Mallards returned home to face the Brainerd Blue Thunder. Using the long ball, Madison was able to pick up its fourth win in its last six games, 4-3, in front of 6,443 fans at Warner Park.
The Mallards got off to a great start in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Jordan Comadena walked and then stole second. Bobby Hubbard?s groundout advanced Comadena to third. Ryan Bond struck out, but Spencer Steedley singled to score Comadena (pictured below) and give the Mallards an early 1-0 lead.
Brainerd claimed the lead in the fifth inning against Mallards starter Brian Smith. With one out, Zack Leighton singled. After he stole second, Chris Rusler walked. Drew McDonald laid down a bunt back to Smith, but the Mallards pitcher couldn?t handle it cleanly, allowing everyone to be safe. With the bases loaded, Andy Dirks grounded out to second to plate one. Then, Sean Doherty hit a soft liner that Mallards shortstop Gary Arndt leaped to knock down. Arndt?s throw to the plate was kicked away from Madison catcher Joe Oliver to allow two runs to score and give the Blue Thunder a 3-1 lead.
That lead was short-lived, however, as Madison fought back in the bottom of the fifth against the third Brainerd pitcher, Trevor Hurley. With two outs, Hubbard reached base by way of a single. Bond?s single put runners at first and second for Steedley. He promptly put a pitch from Hurley into the Great Dane Duck Blind down the right field line to give the Mallards a 4-3 lead (pictured above rounding the bases). It turned out to be the final scoring play of the night.
Steedley knocked in all four of the Mallards? runs and had two of the Mallards? six hits.
Smith earned the victory for Madison to improve his record to 2-1. He allowed five hits and three runs, none earned, in five innings. Smith struck out two batters and walked one. Lefty Jason Leaver pitched 1.1 innings in his Madison debut, allowing a hit and three walks while striking out four. Mike Creevy pitched the final 2.2 innings and struck out four. Creevy earned his second save of the year.
The teams will meet again Friday, June 30 at Warner Park. It?s Newcastle Beer Stein Night. The first 1,000 fans 21 and older will receive a beer stein from Newcastle. It?s also PODS ?Let?s Make a Deal Night? with fun, game show style promotions all night long. Upon entrance, all fans will choose one of two PODS. At the end of the game, fans will receive what is enclosed in the POD they chose. Great seats are still available, as are spots in the Great Dane Duck Blind. Stop by the Duck Pond, call 608.246.4277 or go to the Web at www.mallardsbaseball.com to purchase tickets.