The Madison Mallards were denied their fourth straight win on Wednesday night, being downed by the Rochester Honkers 6-2 before 1,365 fans at Mayo Field in Rochester. The loss drops the Ducks record to 16-17 on the season with just one game left in the Northwoods League first half schedule.
The Honkers got started early, plating a pair of runs in the first. The inning started off innocently enough with Honkers infielder Jason White flying out to right and outfielder Jeff Engel lining out to third base. But with two outs, Elfren Navarro and Adam Cross posted back to back singles putting runners at the corners. Navarro would later score on a Brian Smith wild pitch with Cross moving up to second on the play. The next batter Brett Featherston posted a single of his own bringing Cross home to score and give the Honkers and early 2-0 advantage.
The team from Rochester was back at it in the third. With one out, Engel doubled and moved to third on a Navarro groundout. The next batter Cross followed with his second single of the night bringing Engel home and making the score 3-0.
There would be no more scoring until the sixth as Honkers starter Randy Wild was on cruise control. Wild went six innings total, taking a no hitter through five. He struck out four and allowed two earned runs.
One of those two earned runs came in the top of sixth. Ryan Bond led off the inning with a walk and Joe Oliver followed with a double. After Gary Arndt flew out to left, Jordan Comadena singled bringing home Bond to make the score 3-1.
The Mallards would add another in their half of the seventh but that would be all the closer they would get. The Honkers put up three runs in the eighth and the Ducks went quietly in the ninth giving the Honkers their 23rd win of the season.
Mallards center fielder Spencer Steedley provided some positives in the loss on Wednesday night. Steedley extended his on-base streak to 11 games and showed a bit of brilliance in the field as well. With a man on in fifth, Engel drove a Brian Smith pitch to deep center field. Steedley backed up to wall, leapt and brought back what would have been a two-run home run.
Outfielder Bobby Hubbard (pictured below) has been on base in every road game this season including Wednesday?s contest in which Hubbard was hit by a pitch in the eighth.
The Mallards return home Friday, July 7 to take on the Eau Claire Express. It will be Opening Night # 2. Opening Night # 2 will feature a brass band, second-half poster schedules to the first 750 fans and the Mallards will be starting with a 0-0 record.
There are good seats, including Great Dane Duck Blind tickets, available for Opening Night # 2 this Friday at 7:05 p.m. The Mallards play 19 of their 34 second-half games at the Duck Pond. There are tickets available for every remaining Mallards home game. For more information please log onto www.mallardsbaseball.com or call 608.246.4277.