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The Madison Mallards have cycled through streaks this season, but Tyler Plantier can claim the first, one that helped set the tone for the summer for both him and his team.

The third baseman didn’t waste any time after arriving in Madison, starting the Northwoods League season with a 13-game hitting streak.

Soon after, the Mallards turned a so-so start into a dominating first half that has them preparing for a final push before the playoffs.

“Everyone wants to start off hot, get the season going how you want it, but that definitely felt good,” Plantier said. “I felt pretty locked in there at the start and have been able to stay consistent and carry it over.

“That’s honestly my goal: Take that first half and carry it into the rest of the year and hopefully finish it up strong.”

The Mallards took a step toward a strong finish Thursday by extending their winning streak to nine games with a come-from-behind 8-7 victory over the Rockford Rivets at Warner Park.

Trevor Schwecke laced a two-out, bases-clearing triple down the third-base line with the Mallards trailing by a run in the eighth inning.

Trace Norkus allowed a Cade Bunnell solo home run leading off the ninth but struck out the next three hitters for his league-high 13th save.

Mallards leadoff hitter Drew Campbell reached base five times with three singles, a double and a walk. The latter loaded the bases for Schwecke in the eighth.

Plantier, who walked twice and scored once, leads the Mallards with 45 RBIs, third-best in the league, and credited an aggressive approach for his success at the plate.

He was hitting .412 with a 1.167 on-base percentage in his hitting streak from May 29 to June 13. He cooled to .315 and .963 by the time he and seven teammates appeared in Tuesday’s Northwoods League All-Star Game.

“He’s just been a steady force for us,” said Mallards manager Donnie Scott, who marveled at Plantier’s knack for driving in runs consistently. “That’s where you make your money, man, when you’ve got guys that can drive in runs. You need guys to get on, but, man, there’s nothing like a guy that can get it done with runners on base.”

Twenty-one of Plantier’s RBIs have come via his 12 homers, including a grand slam that keyed a 7-1 victory over Wisconsin Rapids last Friday. He leads the South Division and is second in the league in homers.

Not bad for someone who homered just five times and had 21 RBIs in 40 games this season for the University of Richmond.

Plantier transferred to the Spiders as a graduate student after three seasons — two playing and one as a redshirt — at California-San Diego.

With the Mallards, Plantier has shown the mature approach of a veteran, Scott said. The manager didn’t want to say he expected that from Plantier, but he’s seen it before from sons of former major league players.

Phil Plantier played 610 games in the majors and now is the hitting coach for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the New York Yankees’ system.

“We talk all the time, whether it’s about hitting or living the baseball life, how to prepare every day,” Tyler Plantier said. “Just being a baseball player, how to be successful as a baseball player. It’s awesome. He’s great about it.”

Plantier’s 13-game run was the first streak for the Mallards, but they’ve added on since, both individually and as a team.

Schwecke, a Marshfield native, had a 15-game streak from June 9 to 28, then went another 12 straight with a hit from June 30 to July 12.

The Mallards won 12 straight in June after a 2-3 start to the season, setting up a 26-5 close to the first half and a comfortable winning margin in the race for the South Division’s first-half title.

They’ve also had a winning streak of five games and two four-game stretches in addition to the current nine-game run.

The Mallards lost their first five games of the second half and closed a 2-8 stretch with a 21-12 loss to Wisconsin on July 14 but have righted the ship since.

To Scott, the final 2½ weeks of the regular season are critical even though the Mallards already have their playoff spot wrapped up.

“This is the fourth turn,” he said. “It’s very important that these guys keep going this way — straight up and not fluctuating.”

Plantier hasn’t shown many signs of departing from the standard he set early this season.

“Everyone has their own things that they have to get through,” he said of a career that has been hampered by injuries at times. “But just to open your eyes and see where we’re at, in Madison, and to see that we get to go out there, play in front of 6,000 people, that’s a dream come true.”

ROCKFORD ab r h bi MADISON ab r h bi

Bunnell dh 3 3 2 1 Campbell cf 4 2 4 0

O’Brien 1b 5 1 2 1 Schwcke 2b 5 1 2 3

Bates cf 5 2 2 2 Randa rf 5 1 1 0

VandrWal rf 4 0 0 0 Plantier 3b 2 1 0 0

Sehgal ss 3 0 0 0 Vinsky 1b 4 0 1 2

Kelly 3b 4 0 1 0 Ober lf 2 0 0 1

Michaels c 3 1 0 0 Baker dh 3 2 1 1

Lilly 2b 4 0 0 0 Forestell c 4 0 1 0

Reback lf 4 0 0 0 Kueber ss 4 1 2 1

Totals 35 7 7 4 Totals 33 8 12 8

Rockford 003 200 101 — 7 7 0

Madison 203 000 03x — 8 12 4

E — Ober, Kueber 3. LOB — Rockford 6, Madison 7. 2B — Bates, Kelly, Campbell, Vinsky. 3B — Bates, Schewecke. HR — Bunnell. SB — Sehgal, Campbell 2, Plantier, Ober. CS — Sehgal. DP — Rockford.

Rockford IP H R ER BB SO

Cain 3.1 9 5 5 2 4

Schneiderman 3.2 1 0 0 1 5

Holubecki .2 2 3 3 2 1

Haveman L, 0-1 .1 0 0 0 0 1

Madison IP H R ER BB SO

Morrell 3 3 3 2 3 2

Martinez .2 0 2 2 2 1

Hunter 2.1 2 0 0 0 2

Reyes W, 1-0 2 1 1 1 0 0

Norkus S, 13 1 1 1 1 0 3

T — 3:17. Att. — 6,401.

Bucky!

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