Bad inning dooms Mallards in loss to Fond du Lac

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A second-inning surge was too much for the Madison Mallards to overcome Wednesday night as the Madison Mallards dropped a 14-8 decision to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders at Warner Park.

In the aftermath, Mallards catcher Drake Baldwin tried to put the defeat in context.

“I don’t even think it was that bad,” Baldwin said. “We won the last seven innings. There was just that one inning that kind of blew up on us.”

The Dock Spiders jumped out to a first-inning advantage on third baseman Jackson Loftin’s two-run lightning strike into left-center field off Mallards starting pitcher Eliot Turnquist. Then, the blow-up happened. An electrifying second inning generated eight runs off one error, four hits and five walks for a stunning 10-0 lead. 

Mallards right fielder Bryant Shellenbarger said his passion for baseball kept him going after the early large deficit.

“It’s very tough, but...you got to do it for the love of the game,” Shellenbarger said. “I love this game more than anything.”

In the bottom of the second, Madison’s first baseman Tyler Dean sparked an RBI single off Dock Spiders’ starter Jackson Kimbrell into right field to cut it to 10-1. However, Fond du Lac bolted further ahead in the fifth with another two-run shot from Loftin and Sam Ireland’s run-scoring walk, pushing the deficit to a dozen. Shellenbarger said his bullpen failed to keep his team from staying alive in the contest.

“It was a little bit frustrating. We needed...some guys to step up,” Shellenbarger said. “If our guys really...stepped up and...fixed some of those walks and all those stuff, I feel like we would’ve been in the game.”

Madison’s offense jolted back into the game quickly afterwards in the bottom of the fifth with second baseman Michael Fuhrman’s sacrifice groundout and Shellenbarger’s two-RBI single into right field pulling the Mallards within nine. The scoreboard lit up again in the sixth after Loftin’s poor throw to second propelled Mallards third baseman Kyle Bork home and Shellenbarger zipped a run-scoring single into left field. After Mallards reliever Kyle Subers’ errant toss to first in the seventh sent in left fielder Ryan Lasko home from second and spiked the lead to eight, Baldwin’s two-run homer capped off the scoring in a 14-8 defeat.

“It’s baseball. You just have to live another day,” Baldwin said.

The Mallards look to get back on track with a matchup against the Kalamazoo Growlers at Homer Stryker Field. First pitch is slated for 5:35 p.m. 

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