Late defensive miscues derailed the Madison Mallards’ comeback attempt in a 7-6 defeat to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders Thursday night at Warner Park.
“It was pretty tough, but...I think it was a good team game all-around,” Mallards center fielder J.T. Benson said.
Mallards reliever Jared Fong seemed poised to defend the 6-6 tie in the ninth after striking out his first batter, but Madison second baseman Zach Storbakken let a routine ground ball bounce past him into shallow right center field. After Dock Spiders catcher Calvin Harris’ speedy grounder went through shortstop Michael Fuhrman’s legs to put runners at the corners, left fielder Jackson Loftin skied the game-winning RBI sac-fly into the left field corner for the ultimate 7-6 victory. Fuhrman said the ground ball took a different route than he was expecting.
“The ball...stayed down on me. I thought it was gonna skip up,” Fuhrman said. “Unfortunately, that’s just part of the game.”
Benson said the late errors weren’t a result of the team being unprepared.
“I don’t think really there’s anything we did wrong...before the game...I think it’s just part of it,” Benson said.
The errors wasted the Mallards’ comeback efforts as pinch hitter Drake Baldwin smacked an RBI single into left field to cut it to 6-5 in the seventh. Dock Spiders right fielder Colin Trembley could only watch Benson’s game-tying solo shot fly over his head in the eighth to knot it up at 6-6. Despite having to tie up the game late, Benson said he was sure the team would make the comeback throughout the contest.
“I was confident the whole time from the first inning. No matter what, I feel like we always have a chance,” Benson said. “We...give us the best chance to win.”
Benson said the team’s plan to emotionally recover from the loss was to take it in stride.
“We just go home and wake up the next morning and do it again,” Benson said.
The Mallards look to split the series against the Dock Spiders Friday night at Herr-Baker Field. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.