Mallards end season with victory over Bombers, but miss playoffs

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards (19-18, 38-34) capped the 2017 season with a 6-1 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers (22-15, 42-30) at Warner Park on Sunday evening. The Mallards used consistent offense and a steady performance from the bullpen to end the season on a positive note.

The Mallards offense was constantly putting pressure on the Battle Creek pitching staff as the Mallards totaled nine hits and drew six walks. The Mallards opened the scoring in the bottom of the second on a heads up baserunning play by Matt Elsenpeter (NDSU). Elsenpeter scored from second on an infield single by Andrew Baker (Florida). Meanwhile, Madison starter Nate Brown (Florida) held down the Bombers bats and the Mallards led 1-0 after two.

Later on, the Mallards calibrated their power strokes at the plate. In the fifth, with the Mallards leading 2-1, Doran Turchin (Illinois) launched a two-run home run over the left field fence to extend the lead. The home run was Turchin’s team-leading 13th of the season. He also finished the summer with 50 RBI, the most on the Mallards.

Two innings later, third baseman Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville) crushed a two-run bomb of his own, this time into the Great Dane Duck Blind Suites. Armstrong’s homer was his second of the series and his sixth of the season at Warner Park. The two-run dinger gave the Mallards a 6-1 lead.

The Mallards pitching staff deployed six total arms to shut down the Bombers. The squadron held Battle Creek to only five hits and racked up eight strikeouts. The Madison defense was strong behind the hurlers as Elsenpeter made a pair of spectacular plays at second base and shortstop Tommy Bullock (UNC-Charlotte) flashed the leather a couple times on the left side of the infield.

The Mallards finish the season with a 38-34 record and tied for fourth place in the South Division. However, the Lakeshore Chinooks held the tie breaker and clinched the fourth playoff spot. Still, the Mallards put together a successful season and finished above .500 for the 15th consecutive year. Manager Donnie Scott now owns a 198-154 through five seasons with the team. For more Mallards postseason coverage, visit mallardsbaseball.com.

(MallardsBaseball.com)