Conference play off and swinging on Western Big 6 diamonds

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The Quad City Mallards started quick on Saturday night and never looked back in a 3-1 win over Rapid City. The win gives the Mallards a 3-2 series lead over the Rush in their best-of-seven playoff series. The Mallards scored two goals in the first period to take a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. It stayed that way until the third period. Rapid City lit the lamp early in the period, but the Mallards had the equalizer to regain their two-goal advantage and held on. Goals were scored by Gergo Nagy, Justin Fox and Vladimir Nikiforov. Ty Rimmer saved 20 of the 21 shots he faced in goal. Game six is in Rapid City on Tuesday night.

The Iowa Hawkeyes made a trip west on Saturday for a public practice. The practice took place in West Des Moines, Iowa, at Valley Stadium in front of the Hawkeye faithful. It was the second straight year Iowa has held the practice in Des Moines. Iowa continues their spring football practice schedule in preparation for the 2014 season. Iowa's first game is on August 30 when they host Northern Iowa.

The conference season is underway in the Western Big 6. Moline and Alleman did battle on the baseball fields right off the bat. Alleman pulled off a comeback win in game one 10-9. Moline returned the favor with a nine-inning 9-8 win in game two to split the doubleheader.

Rock Island and United Township also split their first conference doubleheader. UT was down to their final out in game one until Bryce Luken hit a grand slam to give the Panthers a 7-6 victory. Rock Island rebounded for a 4-0 victory in game two.

Galesburg split two games with Quincy as well. The Silver Streaks earned a shutout win in game 1 2-0 over Quincy. The Blue Devils stormed back to take game two 7-4.

On the softball side, Moline traveled to Alleman to open Big 6 play. In game one, Moline took a 14-4 lead in the sixth inning only to see Alleman storm back, but the Pioneers comeback fell just short and Moline took game one 14-13. The big comeback paved the way for a big victory in game two for Alleman. The Pioneers won game two 13-3 to split the doubleheader.

Rock Island had a successful first day of conference play. The Lady Rocks swept United Township by scores of 4-2 and 8-1 to start off conference play with a 2-0 record.

Galesburg also started 2-0. The Silver Streaks knocked off Quincy by scores of 9-5 and 19-1.

The action wasn't just on the diamonds. The track was heating up as well as United Township hosted the Boys Kiwanis Invitational at the Soule Bowl. The team title went to Rock Island followed by United Township, Kaneland, Galesburg and Pleasant Valley.