Madison records 17 hits in high-scoring critical loss to Fond du Lac
Fond du Lac, WI – Madison returned to play after two days off due to poor air quality in Michigan and Wisconsin with a day-trip to Fond du Lac. A prime opportunity to gain ground on the top of the division was squandered with a 13-11 defeat at the hands of the last-place Fond du Lac Dock Spiders.
It seemed as if the Mallards were well on their way to a strong bounce back following the loss to Kalamazoo on Monday in the early going when they scored four runs in the first two innings against Fond du Lac’s Amar Tsengeg. Madison loaded the bases in their first trips to the plate in the 1st and got on the board via an Isaiah Jackson walk. One batter later, Jake Goolsby singled to bring in two more. Owen Jackson (4-5, 2B, 3 RBI) knocked in another run in the 2nd to give Madison a 4-0 lead.
From that point on, the wheels slowly started to fall off for the visitors. Bryce Leedle, in his fourth start of the summer against Fond du Lac, couldn’t find any consistency in the strike zone in the 2nd. In the frame, 11 Dock Spiders’ hitters came to the plate scoring five runs on four hits, three walks, and an error. Fond du Lac’s offense wasn’t done there. The hosts added eight more in the next three offensive innings against Jon McCullough, Will Simmons, and Jax Traeger. Throughout those three half-innings, the Dock Spiders sent 23 batters to the dish while only notching five hits. Fond du Lac utilized three Madison errors in those innings to jump on the Mallards, taking a seven-run lead after Madison’s two-run effort in the top of the 5th. Madison’s pitching staff would hand out 11 free passes (7 walks and 4 hit-by-pitch) in Thursday’s meeting. The defense also was tabbed with five errors for the second time this season.
The Mallards’ loss on Thursday night certainly was not for the lack of offense. The team responded with four of their own runs in the top of the 6th off of Mason Weckler. Four consecutive hits to lead off the frame ignited an offensive attack that cut the lead to three. Owen Jackson, nearly hitting home run number four, came up just short on a ball that ended up as a stand-up double, driving in two.
Madison would continue threatening offensively behind a strong relief performance from Cam Clines, who tossed three hitless innings. A fielder’s choice in the 8th off the bat of Jake Holcroft made it a two-run contest. In the 9th, Dock Spiders’ Manager Doug Coe opted for closer Kade Walker. Walker had thrown three times previously against the Mallards this summer with an earned run average of 27.00. On back-to-back 0-2 counts, Ryan Sprock and Owen Jackson singled to lead off Madison’s final at-bats. In the subsequent at-bats, Isaiah Jackson struck out and Jake Goolsby rolled into a double-play to complete the game.
To spell out the rest of the first-half, Madison needs to win out to have a chance to earn a spot in the Northwoods League Playoffs with four games remaining. The Mallards will also need some help from the rest of the division against Wausau for the opportunity. Madison returns home after being away since Saturday to begin a two-game series at Warner Park with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Game one of the series on Friday night is set for a 6:35 P.M. CST first pitch on the final day of June.