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Mallards Pickup Where They Left Off with Win Over Rafters

by Mike Tews 

 Box Score

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – July 26, 2012. Fresh off the All-Star break, the Madison Mallards (14-4, 30-23) leveled the Wisconsin Rapid Rafters (6-13, 22-31) 10-2, hitting three homers including a grand slam from first baseman Jeff Zimmerman (Northern Illinois) for their fifth straight win. The victory gave the Mallards the opener of the three game series.

It didn’t take long for the Mallards to make their presence felt when center fielder John Welborn (Texas-San Antonio) leadoff with a single and utilized his speed to steal second and third in the first inning. With Welborn in scoring position, All-Star game MVP and right fielder Tyler Marincov (North Florida) hit a sacrifice fly for the 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, the Mallards extended their lead to 2-0 when designated hitter Nick Howard (Virginia) hit a laser over centerfield for his third home run of the year.

Welborn continued to make solid contact as he hit a double in the top of the third. Similar to the first, Welborn stole third and scored his second run, courtesy of an RBI groundout from Zimmerman.

However, the Rafters responded in the fourth when second baseman Kenny Towns (Virginia) smacked a double, followed by shortstop Pat Kelly (Nebraska) scoring Towns on an RBI single. Down 3-1, Joshua Cyr (North Alabama) stepped up for his 26th RBI on a double to get the Rafters within just one run.

In the fifth inning, however, the Rafters found themselves down two runs again, 4-2, when Derek Fisher (Virginia) blasted a rocket off Rafters starter Augey Bill (Arizona) for his fourth homer in four games.

Even with the lead, Mallards starter Bobby Poyter (Florida) showed signs of fatigue in the sixth. With two outs and a runner on first, Poyter was ahead in the pitch count, 0-2, but Cyr battled through 12 pitches to walk onto first. Next batter, third baseman Brandon Hohl (Illinois), also fought for a full count but Poyner had just enough left to strike him out.

The Mallards unleashed their fury in the seventh, loading the bases against Rafters reliever Ronnie Muck (Illinois). Zimmerman, who had an RBI already, took advantage of the opportunity and got his first hit of the game on a devastating grand slam to break the game open with an 8-2 lead.

The Mallards bullpen kept the Rafters scoreless and hitless the rest of the game, while the Rafters continued to implode in the ninth as an error by Kelly and a wild pitch allowed the Mallards to tack on two more runs.

Poyner got his third win to put himself with a 1.33 ERA, allowing just two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in 6.0 innings.

Bill took his second loss this season as he went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks.

The Mallards return to action at the “Duck Pond” on Friday, July 27th against the Rafters. That night will be Presidential Bobble Election Night at the ballpark.

The 2012 season is upon us! Single-game tickets are on-sale for all Mallards home games!

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The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League.  The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate League in North America.

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