Sports

Thu
16
Jun
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Middleton's title dreams fall short

This time of year, it’s win or go home.

Middleton’s boys tennis team didn’t go home. Not prematurely as far as the calendar was concerned, anyway.

But the second-seeded Cardinals also fell short of the finals at the WIAA Division 1 team state tournament, suffering a 4-3 loss to third-seeded Neenah in the semifinals early in the day on June 11.

Later that afternoon, top-seeded Brookfield East won its second straight state title with a 7-0 shutout of Neenah.

Middleton cruised in the quarterfinals the night before, winning 6-1 over seventh-seeded Menomonee Falls.

Thu
16
Jun
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Eight Cardinals named all-Big 8

Eight is enough.

And eight is awfully impressive.

That’s how Middleton baseball manager Brent Jorgensen had to feel after eight of his Cardinals were named all-Big Eight Conference.

Senior utility player Easton Zempel and senior outfielder Stephen Paulsen were both named first-team all-Big Eight. Senior pitcher J.T. Hockers, senior third baseman Jaron Sarbacker and senior catcher Robby Erickson were all named second-team all-conference, while senior right fielder Matt Zimmerman, junior shortstop Hayden Hellenbrand and senior second baseman Preston Roell were all named honorable-mention all-conference.

Zempel, a Winona State recruit, batted .447 and had a .527 on-base percentage in conference games. Zempel had a slugging percentage of .681 with two home runs, three doubles, 14 RBI, seven walks and four stolen bases.

Zempel also threw 26.1 innings and had a 1.60 ERA. He struck out 30 batters and walked 12.

Thu
16
Jun
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Girls softball team has five all-Big 8 players

They were one of the area’s surprise teams all season.

They finished third in the ultra-competitive Big Eight Conference and won their first regional title since 2014.

So it came as no surprise that Middleton’s softball team was extremely well-represented on the all-Big Eight Conference team.

Senior shortstop Jenna Redders was named first-team all-conference. Senior utility player Bailey Flock and freshman pitcher Megan Button were both named second-team all-league, while sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Zimmerman and sophomore right fielder McKenzie Pertzborn were named honorable-mention all-league.

Redders batted .474 with a sensational on-base percentage of .510. She had 15 extra base hits, 20 RBI, scored 28 runs and stole seven bases.

In addition, Redders was a terrific shortstop and an outstanding leader for a young Middleton team.

Thu
16
Jun
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Middleton's HTL team moves to 6-0

Middleton’s Home Talent League team is creeping up on the midway point of the regular season.

And if the second half is anything like the first half, the 29ers are going to be thrilled with their summer.

Middleton won a pair of games last weekend and improved to 6-0 overall. The 29ers defeated Wisconsin Dells, 13-1, last Friday, then toppled Black Earth, 3-0, on Sunday.

Middleton has a two-game lead over both Ashton (3-1) and Black Earth (4-2) in the Northern Section’s East Division.

“Our pitching has really been our strength this year,” said Middleton manager Brandon Hellenbrand, whose team has given up just eight runs in six games this season. “We need to continue to pitch well and play good defense and the bats will come.”

Thu
09
Jun
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Ward caps career with two state titles

Griffin Ward is typically laser focused.

That concentration and drive are two reasons Middleton’s senior has become one of the state’s elite distance runners.

In the final race of his brilliant career, though, Ward let himself glance around Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse and soak in his surroundings. And why not?

The fans. The applause. The excitement.

It was all for him.

Ward showed off his sensational closing kick, passed a pair of runners and won the 3,200-meter run at the WIAA Division 1 track and field meet last Saturday. Just more than 24 hours earlier, Ward had also won the 1,600-meter run, giving him an extremely impressive pair of state titles.

“Usually my mind goes blank in a race, but I was just blown away by the crowd,” Ward said. “I could really feel the energy and I fed off of that. It was an amazing way to end my career.”

Thu
09
Jun
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Malloy-Salgado steals the show

For a moment, there was astonishment.

For an instant, Zaira Malloy-Salgado couldn't believe what she’d just done.

Then, Middleton’s standout track and field athlete realized her dream was actually reality.

Malloy-Salgado ran a brilliant 3,200-meter race at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet held at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse last Friday. And when Malloy-Salgado ran her final split in record time, she pulled away and captured first place in the grueling event.

“Realizing I won was a mix of emotions,” Malloy-Salgado said. “When I crossed the finish line I was in awe. I couldn't really process what had just happened.”

That victory was the highlight of a big weekend for the Middleton junior.

Malloy-Salgado was part of Middleton’s 3,200-meter relay team that finished third. She also finished fifth in the 1,600-meter run.

Thu
09
Jun
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MHS tennis stars shine at state

He battled foot and back injuries throughout the year.

He didn’t play as many matches as several of his counterparts.

And he was a mystery to many when the WIAA Division 1 boys individual state tennis tournament began.

Not anymore.

Middleton freshman Ethan Bo had a weekend to remember, finishing second individually at the state tournament held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Bo, who entered the weekend as the No. 5 seed, stormed to the finals before falling to Neenah’s Solomon Dunsirn in the championship match.

“It was just a really fun tournament and a really great atmosphere,” Bo said. “There were so many people cheering and watching, it was great. Plus, I never expected to get that far.”

Middleton coach Tony Mirasola was thrilled how his prized freshman performed on the state’s biggest stage.

Thu
09
Jun
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Baseball Cards win regional title

On a picture, perfect day for baseball, Middleton delivered in all facets of the game.

Senior right-handers Easton Zempel and Robby Erickson combined on a two-hit shutout as fourth-seeded Middleton cruised to an 8-0 victory over visiting 12th-seeded Holmen in a WIAA Division 1 regional championship game last Thursday.

The Cardinals played near flawless defense, and the first eight of their 11 hits were by eight different players. They also executed several successful bunts that highlighted their ‘small ball’ approach.

“We changed our approach, and went up there and put the ball in play and made them make a play,” said Zempel, a Winona State (Minn.) recruit. “You could see the last couple of innings we were bunting the ball really well. It was nice, moving runners along.”

Middleton manager Brent Jorgensen said the Cardinals’ balanced attack on offense served them well in dominating the Vikings.

Thu
09
Jun
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Soccer Cards fall in regional finals

They saved their best for last.

They pushed the No. 2 seed in their sectional to the brink of elimination.

In the end, though, it wasn’t quite enough.

Middleton’s girls soccer team gave a spirited effort, but fell to Kettle Moraine, 2-1, in a WIAA Division 1 regional final last Saturday. The 10th-seeded Cardinals had reached that game after upsetting seventh-seeded Oconomowoc, 2-1, on May 31.

“I couldn't be more proud of the effort and heart that they put into that game,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said of the Cardinals’ loss to Kettle Moraine. “They came to battle and that is exactly what they did.”

Middleton keeper Naiya Rajpal had the game of her life, turning back one Lasers’ shot after another and keeping the Cardinals in the game.

“Rajpal saved her best game for last,” Duffy said. “She played out of her mind with point blank save after point blank save. 

Wed
08
Jun
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Baseball Cardinals fall in sectional semis

WAUNAKEE — For decades now, Middleton and Sun Prairie have headed to different sectionals when the playoffs arrive. This season, though, both Cardinals — two of the state’s traditional powers — were thrown in the same postseason pod.

And while many lamented that fact, Middleton first baseman Caden Gmur viewed it as an opportunity.

“I just looked at it and saw a third chance to go ahead and go beat them,” said Gmur, whose team lost both regular season meetings against Sun Prairie. “We wanted to show them who we are.”

Middleton did just that during a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal held at Waunakee High School Tuesday. Unfortunately for MHS, Sun Prairie showed even more.

Davis Hamilton belted a solo home run in the fifth inning that broke a 3-3 tie and propelled Sun Prairie to a 5-3 win. Middleton finished the year 19-9, while Sun Prairie improved to 24-3 and won the sectional title later in the day with a 9-1 win over Waunakee.

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