Softball Cards enter busy stretch

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton assistant coach Amy Siedschlag talks with freshman Celia Hiorns during a recent softball game./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Amazingly, the WIAA Division 1 softball postseason starts on May 23.

And over the next two weeks, Middleton will have plenty of chances to fix whatever ails it.

The Cardinals play 11 games in 11 days — more than most major league baseball teams play. And Middleton is hoping that stretch will help it prepare for the playoffs.

“Eleven games in two weeks is a pretty daunting schedule,” Middleton coach Perry Hibner said. “But we're are hopeful this will give us an opportunity to continue to work on those small things — like running the bases effectively, hitting cutoffs, not giving teams extra outs and advancing runners — that really good teams do all of the time.”

Middleton is a long ways from being one of those “good teams” right now. But the Cardinals are taking baby steps.

Middleton split a pair of games last week, rolling past Madison West, 8-1, last Tuesday and dropping an 11-4 decision to Fort Atkinson Saturday. The Cardinals are now 4-8 overall and 4-5 in the Big Eight Conference.

In Middleton’s win over West, senior Hannah Edington pitched five innings, allowed just one run and earned the win. Freshman Charlotte Sax pitched two hitless innings to close out the Regents.

“Hannah did a better job of keeping her pitches down,” Hibner said. “Madison West isn't a great hitting team, but it was nice to see us only walk two batters and not have any errors. We need to keep doing that if we are going to be successful.”   

Middleton erupted for five runs in the first inning to take control of the game.

With two outs, Ashley Bindl homered to center field. Bindl moved to the No. 3 spot in the lineup because leading hitter Jessica Parente was sick and missed the game. 

“Ashley just crushed it,” Hibner said. “The pitch was middle-out and she did a great job of letting the ball get a little deeper and not trying to pull it.”

Freshman Olivia Hebert drew a walk after falling behind, 0-2 in the count.

“That was huge,” Hibner said. “All of the great hitting that followed and gave us the momentum doesn't happen if Olivia doesn't battle during that at-bat. That's a valuable lesson for all of our players.”

Sophomore Katelyn Graf doubled to right center, moving Hebert to third. Senior Sophie Schafer followed with a double to the fence in right center, scoring Hebert and Graf. Junior Sam Williams then hit her first home run of the season, a two-run shot to right center, giving the Cardinals a 5-0 lead.

“It was great seeing so many of our girls taking the outside pitch the other way,” Hibner said. “It's not the easiest thing to do, but if you want to hit it hard you have to wait and go the other way.”

Middleton added two runs in the third.

Bindl led off with a single and scored on Hebert's RBI double to center. Schafer also doubled with one out to score Hebert.

The Cardinals added another run in the seventh when Bindl and Hebert singled, Schafer walked and Bindl eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Middleton also fell to Fort Atkinson on Saturday.

Fort built a 10-0 lead through 4 ½ innings against Sax — who started the game — and Edington, who worked in a relief role.

The Cardinals allowed six walks, two hit batters and committed four errors.

“Too many walks, too many pitches up in the zone, too many hit batters and too many errors by our infield,” Hibner said. “That's a recipe for failure against any team, but especially one as good as Fort Atkinson.”

Middleton did answer with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, though, avoid the 10-run mercy rule and keep the game alive.

Parente singled to right and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out Williams, doubled down the left field line to score Parente.

Rachael Roberts walked and Buss was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rachel Kirch-Whitmore was then hit by a pitch, scoring Williams. Schafer followed with a single to left center, scoring Roberts to make it 10-3 and C.C. Hiorns grounded out to first to score Buss. 

Freshman Ellie Buza pitched the final two innings, allowing only one unearned run. It was Buza’s first appearance since a one-inning stint against Madison East on April 21. Buza pitched in the Cardinals' first three games of the year before straining a muscle in her back.

“She was a little rusty but did a very nice job,” Hibner said. “We've been told she can't hurt her back more, but it's just a matter of how much pain she can tolerate. We need her out there so we're hoping this was just a start.”

 

MIDDLETON 8, MADISON WEST 1

Middleton ............. 502 000 1 — 8 13 0

Madison West ....... 010 000 0 — 1 6 1

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Edington (6.1-6-1-2-3), Sex (0.2-0-0-0-1); Balas (7-13-7-1-6).

Leading hitters — MID: Bindl 3x4, Hebert 4x4, Graf 2x4, Schafer 2x3. 2B — Hebert2, Schafer2. 3B — Graf. HR — Bindl, Williams. MW: Cotharn 2x3. 2B — Cotharn.

 

May 5

Fort Atkinson 11, Middleton 4

Fort Atkinson ....... 010 630 1 — 11 12 1

Middleton ............ 000 040 0 — 4 7 4

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Buza (1.2-3-0-0-2), Sax (L; 2.2-3-1-3-1), Edington (2.2-6-6-3-1); Brandl (4-5-4-2-8); Baker (W; 3-2-0-3-1). Leading hitters — MID: Parente 2x4. 2B — Williams. FA: Romans 2x4, Pfeifer 2x3, Habbe 2x4. 2B — Kostroski, Baker. 3B — Brandl.

 

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