The Madison Mallards’ hungry offense overcame their fragile defense in a 11-7 clubbing of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Thursday night at Warner Park.
“I think if we just continue to do that…I think we’re going to make a real big run here for playoffs, so stay tuned,” Mallards first baseman Tyler Dean said of the win.
Mallards starting pitcher Eliot Turnquist got off to a rough start as the Rafters gashed him for three runs in the first on RBI singles from designated hitter Couper Cornblum and center fielder Addie Burrow. Dean said the team wasn’t discouraged by the early adversity though.
“Didn’t think it mattered any bit,” Dean said “We just went up there, executed our plans and did our job.”
Mallards shortstop Michael Fuhrman rewrote the script in the second with an electrifying bases-clearing double off Rafters starter Nathan Hemmerling to knot it up at 3-3. Fuhrman said his teammates’ advice about Hemmerling kept him cool at the plate.
“No pressure at all. Wasn’t worried. Heard from the other guys in the dugout what the guy was throwing,” Fuhrman said.
Madison took a 4-3 lead later in the second when center fielder Cam Cratic’s routine flyball deflected off Burrow’s glove to send in Fuhrman from second. Mallards third baseman J.T. Benson drilled a two-run homer to left in the third to push the advantage to 6-3.
Mallards left fielder Alex Iadisernia said the team was able to deliver their big time hits because they’ve been doing a good job of not being overwhelmed by tense situations.
“We’ve been really relaxed lately,” Iadisernia said. “We haven’t let...the moments got too big for us.”
The lead started to slip in the fourth after Rafters right fielder McKinley Erves slapped an RBI single into left field to pull Wisconsin Rapids within two. After Cornblum and first baseman E.J. Exposito gutted out a run-scoring walk and sac-fly to right field later in the fourth off Mallards reliever Joe Hauser, the game was tied at 6-6. Even so, Dean said the team wasn’t worried after quickly blowing their three-run lead.
“I have no nerves, nothing,” Dean said. “It doesn’t matter about the pitcher..we rake as a team.”
Iadisernia’s three-run blast in the bottom of the fourth shoved Madison back in front 9-6. Iadisernia said that Lakeshore Chinooks first baseman Griffin Doersching, the player he passed Thursday to lead the Northwoods League in home runs this season, will be hot on his trail to reclaim the top spot.
“That kid’s huge. I feel great, but he’s probably coming for me,” Iadisernia said.
A pair of RBI hits from Mallards first baseman Tyler Dean in the fifth and seventh packed enough punch to overpower a late solo homer by Exposito for the 11-7 victory. Iadisernia said that it was good to get this triumph over a team that the Mallards have struggled against throughout the season.
“It feels great...we don’t have a good history against them,” Iadisernia said.
The Mallards look for a home-and-home series sweep Friday night at Wisconsin Rapids’ Witter Field. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.