Mallards’ streak snapped as comeback falls short

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The Madison Mallards’ three game winning streak ended inharmoniously with a failed comeback in a 6-5 loss to the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Saturday evening at Warner Park. 

Pitching coach Leon Davidson said he’s accepted that sudden breaks in momentum are part of the game.

“That’s just ball,” Davidson said. “Some days it’s gonna pan out the way you want it to. Some days it’s not...but that’s why we strap it on everyday and play this game.”

The Woodchucks jumped out to a 3-0 advantage against Mallards starter Ernie Day after shortstop Jordan Schaffer’s two-RBI single into center in the second and designated hitter Jacob Burke’s solo homer one inning later. Day struggled with his command throughout, giving up five walks in 2.1 innings of work. Day said he felt weird in his motion.

“I was kind of off timing,” Day said. “My arm was dragging a little bit.” 

The Mallards’ blues continued in the sixth after Woodchucks center fielder Tyler Kehoe drummed up a double off Madison reliever Matt Haley to stretch the lead to 5-0. 

Davidson said his four relievers helped carry the game across the last 6.2 innings after Day’s poor start.

“Ernie didn’t...have it,” Davidson said. “The bullpen...they stepped up and picked him up.”

The beat changed later in the sixth after Mallards center fielder J.T. Benson’s infield single to third registered his squad’s first run. Then in the seventh, right fielder Bryant Shellenbarger’s two-RBI single and catcher Drake Baldwin’s game-tying blast pulled the Mallards back into the ball game. 

Baldwin, who now has seven hits in his last two games, said he just happens to be hitting really well.

“Felt like I’ve just seen the ball like a beach ball right now,” Baldwin said.

However, Madison’s hope of a comeback was unplugged in the ninth after Schaffer’s RBI double against Sam Vomhof cemented the Woodchucks’ 6-5 victory. 

Baldwin said he was confident in his team’s ability to rebound after the frustrating loss.

“We’ll be good tomorrow. We’ll recover from it. We’ll take the good from it,” Baldwin said.

The Mallards look to resume their winning ways Sunday evening at Warner Park against the Kenosha Kingfish. First pitch is slated for 5:05 p.m.

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