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Mallards sneak by Bombers in 6-4 rain shortened victory Tuesday

channing_homerun_story
Troy Channing (St. Mary’s, #23) hit a towering home run to right-center field during Tuesday’s game versus the Battle Creek Bombers at C.O. Brown Stadium.
(this photo was taken from a game earlier in the year)

Box Score

Battle Creek, MI – July 28, 2009. At this point in the season the Mallards will take victories no matter how they’re won. On Tuesday night, after lightning and heavy rains caused an 80 minute delay in the top half of the ninth inning, the game was called and Madison left town with a 6-4 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers and a sigh of relief as the other South Division hopefuls won their respective games.

Perhaps restless from last night’s heartbreaking 8-7 defeat, the Mallards jumped out on top early in the first inning when center fielder Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) led off the game by getting on after Bombers’ first baseman made an error. The suddenly hot-hitting John Hicks (Virginia) then laced a single to left field to put two men on in front of All-Star first baseman Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana). Sabourin did what he was supposed to do and pulled a 3-2 pitch to right field for a base-hit to score Parque and give the Mallards a 1-0 early lead with Hicks advancing to third base. Next came designated hitter Joe Patterson (Texas A&M) who jumped on Bombers’ starting pitcher Matt Talley’s first offering to hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Hicks and extend the lead to 2-0.

Battle Creek would cut Madison’s deficit in half in the second inning on a double by Parker Berberet to score Larry Perry who was in scoring position after Mallards’ shortstop Brashad Johnson’s (Des Moines Area CC) throw pulled Sabourin off first base and he stole second base.

The Mallards would add another run in the fourth inning on a towering leadoff blast by Troy Channing (St. Mary’s), his seventh home run of the year, to extend the lead to 3-1. Channing hit the long ball to right-center field in the very spacious C.O. Brown Stadium that is measured at 402 feet to center field.

The early back-and-forth contest continued the trend in the bottom half of the fourth as the Bombers scored on a Perry double to right field that rolled into the Battle Creek bullpen to score Joe Van Meter who was on with a fielder’s choice. The Mallards newest nemesis in the form of Berberet then hit a single to right field to score Perry and tie the game at three a piece. Center fielder Parque made a great diving catch on the warning track to leave a wake of dust in the air to end the inning while slightly colliding with left fielder Hicks. Both players were left unscathed.

In fact, it shook a bit of life into both, as Parque got on in the next frame with a one-out infield single and Hicks followed with his second hit of the game, this time a double to left field. Sabourin then walked on six pitches to load the bases in front of cleanup hitter Patterson. Patterson then hit a curving one-hop to third baseman Van Meter that couldn’t be handled and around came Parque and Hicks to score and give the Mallards the lead back at 5-3. After an intentional walk to Channing to load the bases, second baseman Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) did his job, and hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Sabourin and extend the lead to three runs. Short stop Brashad Johnson (Des Moines Area CC) ended the inning with a strikeout.

The score would remain unchanged until the bottom of the sixth inning when Perry singled in Lewis, who had reached on a hit of his own and later advanced to third base on a double by Van Meter. Rivers would get out of the jam, thankfully, and the Mallards still led 6-4 heading into the last three innings.

Battle Creek would mount a semi-threat in the bottom of the eighth when Van Meter added his second hit of the game to put a man on in front of the pesky Perry. Right-handed reliever Jordan Hershiser (USC) then got out of the inning by inducing a 4-6-3 double play to complete this two scoreless innings of work.

In the Mallards ninth, reliever J. Wernke got the first two hitters in order, and had Sabourin on a 1-1 count before play was delayed at 8:40 p.m. (CST) due to lightning flashes from a nearby storm.

One hour and twenty minutes later, with heavy rains and lightning strikes still looming over the home of Kellogg’s Cereals, the game was officially put in the books, giving the Mallards a must-needed confidence boosting victory and the Bombers a sour taste of defeat lodged squarely in their mouths.

The win moved the Mallards to 13-8 in the second half and allowed the team to keep pace with the other two serious playoff-hopefuls in the La Crosse Loggers and Waterloo Bucks who both won tonight.Waterloo remains just a game back while the Loggers find themselves 1.5 games behind Madison.

Rivers picked up the win (2-2) after allowing four runs (3 earned) in six innings of work while striking out seven hitters. Meanwhile, Bombers’ starter Matt Talley received his fourth loss (5-4) after allowing three runs over six innings as well.

The Mallards return home for a very important brief two-game series versus the La Crosse Loggers Wednesday, July 29 beginning at 7:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans will receive the fifth and final bobblehead in the season-long series, this time a “Maynard Pitching” bobblehead courtesy of Schoep’s Ice Cream and WKOW-TV.

On Thursday, the first 1,000 kids, 14 & under will receive a Physicians Plus Tin Lunch Box and the first 1,000 fans of all ages will receive a Yo-Yo courtesy of the Holiday Inn at the American Center. It’ll also be The Simpson’s Night to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary! Anyone named Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, or Maggie will receive a free bleacher ticket (day of game only!).

Plenty of great seats are available for all of the first-place Mallards remaining six home games and can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling the box office at 608.246.4277 today! Will they make the 2009 Northwoods League playoffs?