When it comes to baseball, always prepare for the unexpected.

The McFarland Muskies of Home Talent League baseball appeared doomed Sunday when visiting Stoughton led 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Suddenly, the Muskies bats came alive with a five-run rally. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t get closer as the Merchants walked away with a 7-6 win

It was the third straight loss for McFarland with two defeats by just one run. That’s a marked improvement from 2018 when the team went 3-13 and had difficulty staying in games. This season, the Muskies are doing a better job of putting opposing pitchers on the ropes.

Stoughton’s veteran starter, Ben Riffle, seemed to have things under control with a 6-0 lead in the sixth inning when he gave up a leadoff double to Eric Seeliger and later, an RBI single to Nick Schreiber, to produce the Muskies first run.

Stoughton got that run back in the top of the seventh, but in the bottom of the inning, the Muskies made more trouble for Riffle as Nick Knoche walked, Dave Ellefson singled and Nick Herbst drew a walk to load the bases.

Seeliger came through in the clutch with a two-run single to cut the Stoughton lead to 7-3.

With runners on first and third, Riffle was replaced on the mound by reliever Yonardo Herdenez, who retired Kyle White on a groundout to third. Greg Riese drew a walk to fill the bases again.

Schreiber knocked in two more runs with a single to put the Muskies within 7-5.

Reid Simon’s single cut the lead to one and gave the Muskies some needed momentum.

But McFarland couldn’t do anymore offensively.

In the eighth, Knoche and Herbst both singled to put runners on first and second with one out, but Seeliger struck out and White grounded back to the pitcher to end the threat.

In the ninth inning, consecutive groundouts by Riese, Schreiber and Simon ended the game.

McFarland starter Brady Wedvick had trouble with his control as he allowed six walks and six earned runs in five innings. Reliever Schreiber threw the remaining four innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

Stoughton outhit McFarland 13-10. Seeliger had three hits for the Muskies including a double.

Schreiber had two hits in five trips to the plate.

It was Stoughton’s fifth straight win with no losses.

McFarland plays at home Sunday against Fort Atkinson with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.

Cottage Grove 6, Rio 2

The Firemen came back from a 2-0 deficit to score four runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to beat the host Railmen.

Starter Donnie Bryant earned the win after allowing three and two earned runs in five innings. Reliever Pat Hawker surrendered one hit in four innings and recorded four strikeouts.

Paul Patten homered for Cottage Grove, and Mitch Kelsey had two of the Firemen’s seven hits.

DeForest 6, Monona 5

The Braves scored four runs in the ninth inning but couldn’t get past the Deacons at DeForest.

Corey Schmidt suffered the loss after allowing 15 hits and four earned runs in five innings on the hill. Matt Willey had two of Monona’s six hits including a double.

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