Mallards look to clinch home playoff spot

WAUSAU, Wis. — Following a 4-3 win on Monday against the Wisconsin Woodchucks, the Madison Mallards’ automatic home playoff hopes hinge on a 6:35 p.m. rematch Tuesday night.

The Mallards remain one game back (22-13) from Southern Division leader Wisconsin Rapids with one game to play in the first half of the season. Madison plays Wisconsin again Tuesday night while Wisconsin Rapids faces Battle Creek with a chance to clinch the first half crown outright.

Madison can earn an automatic playoff bid if:

Mallards president Vern Stenman believes he has a quality  team regardless of the outcome.

“The interesting thing in [the Northwoods League] is that later in the summer, the pitching gets worse,” Stenman told the Joe and Ebo Show last Thursday. “…Our team is very offensive and we think that when the league’s pitching gets worse as the season goes on, our guys are only going to get better.”

The Mallards open up the second half of the Northwoods League season Wednesday against the Battle Creek Bombers at 7:05 p.m.

Quartet of Mallards Pitchers Outlasts Chinooks in 1-0 Win

Madison, WI — The Madison Mallards (20-11) could only muster a single score, but that was all it took in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel victory over the Lakeshore Chinooks (11-20) at Warner Park on Thursday night. The game was delayed 43 minutes at the start due to a thundershower, but once the rains stopped, the pitches flew with alarming strikeout frequency.

Lakeshore starter Marshall Kasowski was marvelous on the mound for the Chinooks all night, punching out 11 Mallards hitters and allowing just five hits over seven strong innings. However, on his lone mistake of the night, Josh Stowers lined a home run in the fourth inning to give Madison the early advantage.

The only reason Kasowski was saddled with the loss was an equally strong night for the Mallards’ quintet of arms, as Mitch Vogrin, Mike Byrne, Chase Hoag, and Troy Bacon combined for the shutout, striking out a combined 11 Chinooks over nine innings.

The Mallards have now won six of their last seven ballgames and remain just one game behind the first-place Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in the Northwoods League’s North Division. Madison hits the road to Mequon on Friday for a rematch with the Chinooks for the fourth time in five nights.

Coverage starts at 6:25 Friday night on 106.7 FM, 1670 AM, The Zone.

Jarrett’s Walk-Off Slam in 10th Earns Doubleheader Split for Mallards

Rockford, IL — The Madison Mallards (18-11) could not overcome a hitting burst from the Rockford Rivets (14-14) in a 7-3 loss in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Madison took the early 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Rockford responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. The Mallards would tie the score at 2-2, but Rockford scored five runs between the fifth and sixth innings to provide the cushion needed for victory.

Mallards pitchers combined to walk seven Rivet batters, while Rockford received strong pitching from Kacey Murphy and Trevor Kiminski, who combined to allow just one hit and one run in the final five innings.

The Mallards loaded the bases in the seventh, trailing 7-3, but could not get any closer.

In the nightcap at Warner Park, the Mallards went seven innings scoreless and trailed 1-0 heading into the eighth, but Josh Stowers reached base on a single, moved to third, and then scored on a wild pitch to bring the game back even and force extra innings.

In the tenth, the Mallards loaded the bases with nobody out, and Zach Jarrett cleared them and sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a walk-off grand slam. It was the slugger’s sixth bomb of the season and Madison’s second walk-off triumph of 2016. Jarrett upped his team-high RBI total to 29 as well.

The Mallards and Lakeshore Chinooks will renew acquaintances Thursday night at Warner Park for another 7:05 p.m. start time.

Mallards sweep Chinooks with 7-5 win

MEQUON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards won their fourth game in a row Tuesday night with a 7-5 victory over the Lakeshore Chinooks.

Mitchell Kilkenny (2-0, 0.82 ERA) went six innings, giving up just one earned run on three hits. Lakeshore scored the game’s first run, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Madison’s offense erupted for a five-run third. Shortstop Nico Hoerner delivered his 18th RBI of the season in that inning.

Madison is now 12-3 on the road this season (18-10 overall) and is now just one game back from the Southern Division lead behind the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.

5-Run Third Paces Mallards in Mequon

Mequon, WI — The Madison Mallards (18-10) used an early third inning, five-run outburst to race to the lead, then held on for dear life in a 7-5 victory over the Lakeshore Chinooks (11-19) at Kapco Park on Tuesday night.

Zach Jarrett provided the bulk of the damage with a two-run double with the bases loaded in the third, plus a run-scoring single in the ninth for some extra insurance. Matt McCann reached base in four of his five plate appearances, and Matt Vierling and Nick Roark each added an RBI apiece in the victory.

Though the strikeout pitch wasn’t a frequent occurrence for Mitchell Kilkenny and Chase Hoag, the pair got through eight innings with just one run allowed back in the second.

In the ninth, Kevin Berge struggled to get outs, even committing an error himself, loading the bases after allowing two runs to bring the tying run to the plate for Lakeshore. Logan Sherer entered to clean up Berge’s mess and promptly gave up a two-run single to Kurtis Brown to cut the once 7-1 Mallards lead to 7-5. Sherer would recover, though, to punch out Kevin Riley and induce a fly out to Darius Sewell to save a disaster for Madison.

The Mallards, winners of four straight and holders of a 12-3 record on the road, will play one more road game Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. in Rockford against the Rivets. Coverage can be heard on The Zone; the two teams will then hop on the bus and play the second game of a doubleheader at Warner Park at 7:05 p.m.

Reitcheck & 4-Run 6th Push Mallards to Victory

Mike Reitcheck threw six strong innings and the Madison Mallards (17-10) defeated the Lakeshore Chinooks (11-18) by a final score of at Kapco Park on Monday night.

It was a closely contested pitching matchup into the sixth inning, as the Mallards picked up the game’s lone run of the first five innings courtesy of an RBI single by Cameron Frost in the fourth inning. It was Frost’s fifth straight game with an RBI.

Reitcheck got some insurance in the form of a four-run Mallards sixth inning, highlighted by a run-scoring since by Bryce Carter.

Lakeshore was able to claw two runs across, but failed to get any closer in the late innings.

The Mallards look to pick up a fourth straight victory on Tuesday night in a rematch at Kapco Park in Mequon. Coverage can be heard on The Zone 106.7 FM/1670 AM beginning at 6:25 p.m. CT.

Mallards Edge Bullfrogs in Extra Inning Affair in Green Bay

The Madison Mallards (16-10) were down to their final out in the 9th inning on two occasions, but forced extra innings before beating the Green Bay Bullfrogs (9-17) by a final of 6-5 in extra innings at Joannes Stadium.

Nico Hoerner was the star offensively for the Mallards, as he drove in three runs on the day, including the ice-breaking two-run single in the second inning.

The Bullfrogs received offensive contributions from Jonah Davis and Quincy Nieporte, who each cranked two-run home runs for Green Bay, and it appeared that would be enough for the Bullfrogs, but the Mallards had other ideas. With two runners on and two outs in the ninth, Matt Vierling drove in the tying run on a base hit down the right field line.

With the game deadlocked 5-5 heading into extras, the teams traded scoreless 10th and 11th frames before Cameron Frost hit a gap shot into right-center field in the 12th, driving in the game’s winning run. Alex Smith locked it down in the bottom half of the inning to save it for Madison.

The Mallards continue their road trek on Monday with a pair of games against the Lakeshore Chinooks. Coverage can be heard on 106.7 FM, 1670 AM, The Zone.

Mallards Thrash Bullfrogs in Green Bay

The Madison Mallards (15-10) took an early lead, then pulled away with seven runs between the fifth and seventh innings in a 9-1 win over the Green Bay Bullfrogs (9-16) at Joannes Stadium in Green Bay.

The Mallards received a strong starting pitching performance from Frank German, who went 5 1/3 innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run to get the victory.

Eight different Mallards batters recorded base hits, while Zach Jarrett led the charge with a home run and three RBI’s.

The Mallards and Bullfrogs will complete the weekend pair of games on Sunday at 4:05. Coverage can be heard on 106.7 FM, 1670 AM, The Zone, beginning at 3:55 p.m.

Mallards Earn Split with Growlers, 4-2

The Madison Mallards (14-8) received a strong pitching night from starter and relievers alike in a 4-2 win over the Kalamazoo Growlers (13-11) on Wednesday at Warner Park.

The Mallards wasted no time getting the offense going in the first inning, as Nico Hoerner led off the game with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI groundout by Matt McCann.

Matt Vierling then followed that with a single and a stolen base before scoring when Cameron Frost reached on an error.

With the 2-0 lead right out of the gates, the Mallards then extended it to 3-0 on a solo home run by Zach Jarrett in the fourth inning. Madison starting pitcher Mitchell Kilkenny made his Mallards debut and pitched five shutout innings.

The Growlers threatened in the sixth, scoring a pair of runs off reliever Alex Smith, but Luke Shilling got the Mallards out of a jam that inning and added another inning of work.

The Mallards picked up some insurance on Growler defensive miscues again in the seventh, as Nico Hoerner advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored on another error by Kalamazoo shortstop Connor Kopach.

Luke Shilling, Logan Sherer and Troy Bacon combined to allow just two baserunners over the final two and two-thirds innings to seal the victory.

The Mallards remain at home Thursday night to face the Wisconsin Woodchucks at 7:05 p.m. at Warner Park. Coverage can be heard live on The Zone.

Brauser’s Strong Relief Lifts Growlers Past Mallards

The Madison Mallards (13-8) were unable to overcome four errors defensively as the Kalamazoo Growlers (13-10) won by a final score of 8-7 on Tuesday night at Warner Park in Madison.

It was a rough night for both teams’ starting pitchers, as Madison’s Mike Reitcheck allowed six runs, five of which were earned, over four innings. Growlers starter Larry Wood did not fare much better, allowing five earned runs and three free passes over just an inning and two-thirds.

Despite trailing by an early 5-2 score, Kalamazoo clawed their way back by scoring four unanswered runs to take a 6-5 lead in the fifth inning. Out of the bullpen, Hayden Brauser mopped up nicely, pitching the final seven and one-third innings and giving up just four hits and two runs.

After the offense went quiet following a four-run second inning, the Mallards immediately fought back to retake the lead, 7-6 in the fifth, courtesy of a two-run single by Zach Jarrett.

Madison could not hold its 7-6 lead late though, as Connor Kopach unleashed a two-run home run in the eighth inning to provide the knockout punch for Kalamazoo. The Growlers’ shortstop drove in three runs in the win.

Four different Kalamazoo batters had multiple hits on this night, and Brauser was able to survive a two-out, two men on rally in the bottom of the 9th to preserve the Kalamazoo win. The two teams rematch on Wednesday at 7:05 on The Zone.