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Published On: July 31st, 2006

La Crosse was hot on Monday night, and not just because of the 100-degree heat and 108-degree heat index. It was also due to the Madison Mallards? bats.

The Mallards collected 11 hits and five runs as they defeated the La Crosse Loggers 5-2 to finally give the Duck pitchers run support, and to stop a four-game losing streak.

Mike Rohde (pictured left) hit a home run that landed 342 feet from the plate, Randy Molina (pictured below) scored two runs and went 2-3 with a walk and Danny Dressman went 3-5 with two RBI.

The scoring, however, did not start until the fifth inning. To that point, the Mallards had four hits, including one each to lead off the second and fourth innings, as well as two in the third. But both the attempted rallies in the third and fourth innings were smothered by inning-ending double plays.

It looked as if the Mallards would again be doomed to the same fate they suffered Saturday, when the team had 11 hits, but only three runs, and left 15 runners stranded against the Rochester Honkers.

However, the Ducks started to make a turn in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Molina singled. Tommy Lentz next grounded out to the La Crosse starting pitcher, Jason Dominguez, advancing Molina to second base. Molina then made his way home as Dressman connected on a single.

Jim Viscomi struck back in the bottom of the fifth inning for La Crosse. He scored on an Andy Podmolik single after being hit by a pitch and advancing to second on what was ruled a wild pitch.

But the Mallards scored again in the sixth inning by way of Rohde?s home run, and maintained a lead over the Loggers for the rest of the game.

Madison collected two more runs in the seventh inning. After Dominguez was replaced by Ben Mayhew, Molina reached on his second single. He advanced to second base as Tommy Lentz followed suit with another single. Gary Arndt then advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Molina subsequently scored on another Dressman single that advanced Lentz to third. Lentz then reached home as Jordan Wolf hit a sacrifice fly to center field to make the score 4-1, Madison.

The Loggers scored one run in the bottom of the inning, but the Mallards answered back again with a run in the eighth, giving the Mallards at least one run over four straight innings. The run was scored by Jordan Comadena, who led off by reaching on an error charged to the La Crosse shortstop, Nick Romero, and then stole both second and third. Following a Molina walk, Comadena crossed the plate to score the final run of the game on Lentz?s second single.

After the Mallards went quietly in the ninth, Mike Creevy came in to close out the game for the Mallards. He induced the first two batters he faced to ground out, 6-3. The next two reached on a walk and an error, but Creevy chopped down the Loggers as he forced Kirk Bacsu to ground out to second baseman Ryan Bond.

The pitching was a strong point for the Mallards. Stephen Dodson, making his seventh appearance ? but first start ? of the season, pitched six innings. He allowed five hits, one earned run, no walks and struck out four. Of the 71 pitches Dodson threw, 55 were strikes.

In addition to Creevy, Craig Meier and Adam Tollefson each pitched an inning of relief, allowing one run, unearned, between the two of them.

The only weak spot for the Mallards was defense. The team was charged with four errors, although some were due to odd bounces and close plays.

The Mallards are now one game ahead of the Loggers in the second half. As the Rochester Honkers won the South Division in the first half, the Mallards will still make the playoffs if they have the next-best overall record. Currently, Madison is tied with La Crosse in that category, at 27-28. As that is the case, the team that leads the season series between the two teams receives a playoff berth. Currently, the Mallards lead the series 3-2, and would be in the playoffs if the season ended now.

However, such is not the case, and the Mallards will have a chance to defend their playoff hopes as they take on the Loggers again tomorrow. As part of the current home-home series, both the Loggers and Mallards will travel to the Duck Pond for game two. The Ducks will try to pick up their second win in a row, beginning at 7:05 p.m.

It will be PDQ & Quench Trading Card night #1 of 3 and also Budweiser Pint Glass Series Night #5 for the first 1,000 fans 21 & over.

Great seats are still available. For tickets, visit www.mallardsbaseball.com, call 608.246.4277 or stop by the Duck Pond ticket office.