The Mallards’ two and a half week momentum finally ended Friday, after the Duluth Huskies jumped on the Mallards by a score of 6-5. Late in the game, it appeared as if Madison was going to come back, but the Huskies held off a run to push the Ducks out of the top spot in the NWL South.
The Mallards pushed ahead in the first after Brandon Wikoff singled and Evan LeBlanc knocked him in with a double.
Madison maintained a 1-0 lead until the fifth, when Duluth began its charge. The Huskies knotted the game up at one, and an inning later, took advantage of Scott Heitshusen (L, 5-5) for five runs on six hits.
The Mallards started the comeback in the bottom of the frame, as Ryan Tinkoff led off the inning with a bunt single that was followed by a Jordan Comadena (pictured) walk. Still without an out, Wikoff battled to draw a walk to load the bases. The next batter, Randy Molina, stepped in and faced a host of pitches, connecting with foul ball after foul ball. Eventually, with the count full, Molina walked to bring in a run. LeBlanc then made it a two-run contest with a two-run RBI. The runs were the final of the inning, but the Mallards were not quite done.
In the eighth, the Mallards plated Wikoff, but the Huskies relayed a great throw home to beat LeBlanc for the denied tying run. The comeback ended thereafter and the Mallards tasted defeat for the first time since July 22.
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Now, the Mallards need to sweep the Eau Claire Express in the season finale to reach the playoffs. Saturday and Sunday’s games will be at 6:05 p.m. at the Duck Pond.