The Madison Mallards (17-13) found ways to win in both games of a doubleheader at Witter Field against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (23-7). Both games were only scheduled to last seven innings, but the players on the field had other plans. The first game took ten innings to finish up, the second took eight. The Mallards emerged victorious in both contests.
The two games felt very different. In the first game, the Mallards jumped out to a two-run lead thanks to a double from Doran Turchin (Illinois) and a single from Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. (California). With Will Anderson (Northern Illinois) making his first start on the mound, the Rafters put up two runs, one being a solo home run to left field off the bat of Christian Jones in the fourth inning.
From that point on, the Mallards bullpen took care of business, with David Stover (Marietta), Dom Savino (Albany), and Andrew Buckley (California) finishing off the game on the mound.
The game would be tied at two all the way until tenth inning, in which the Rafters reliever walked the bases loaded for Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. With the table set, Mitchell Jr. sent a fly ball to shallow right field. Jake Snider (Louisville) tagged from third and beat out the tag from catcher Scott Kapers by a fraction of a second. The Mallards would score another run and take the first game 4-3.
The heroes of the first game were the bullpen pitchers. Stover, Savino, and Buckley held an explosive team to five scattered hits in the last six innings. Savino earned the win with his three and two-thirds innings, while Buckley scored the save. At the plate, Mitchell Jr. recorded hits in both games today, giving him a seven-game hit streak.
The night-cap at Witter Field was soaked with excitement. Davis Moore (Fresno State) threw the first four and two-thirds innings and allowed two unearned runs. Meanwhile, the Mallards brought in six runs in the fourth inning. Only one of these runs was earned, but the Mallards struck while the iron was hot, putting the ball in play and applying pressure to the Rapids defense and pitching staff.
After the exit of Moore, Wisconsin Rapids put up two in the fifth and then slapped up seven runs in the sixth inning. Seeing their six-run lead turn into a three-run deficit in only two innings, the Mallards started the top of the seventh facing a Rapids team that not only had the lead, but also the momentum.
After two walks and a base hit in the seventh inning, the bases were loaded for clean-up man Angel Camacho (Jacksonville). Seizing the moment, Camacho crushed a double down the left field line to bring in two Mallards. Turchin tried to make it from first to home but was gunned down at the plate. Thomas Smart (Oakton) then came up to the plate in the biggest situation of the night. With a full count and two outs, Smart poked a single into centerfield to score Camacho from third and tie the game at nine. An inning later, Doran Turchin ignited the night with a mammoth three-run homer to left field to give the Mallards the lead that they rode to a 12-10 victory.
With two wins, the Mallards gain ground on the South Division leading Rafters, and now are only six games out of first place. With two wins tonight, the Mallards passed the Rockford Rivets (16-13) in the South standings and now are chasing down the Kenosha Kingfish (19-11) and the Battle Creek Bombers (18-12). Madison is the hottest team in the South Division, having won eight of their last ten games.
The Mallards will be in action tomorrow at 7:05 PM back at the Duck Pond in Warner Park. Gates open at 5:30 PM for SSM Health Sun Prairie Night. It is also Let’s Make a Deal Night presented by Madison.com. Tomorrow’s game will be the third game of an expanded series between the Madison Mallards and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Catch all the Mallards action live on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM The ZONE.
The Madison Mallards are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.mallardsbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Mallards as your favorite team.