Baseball Cards headed back to state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Alex Elliott gets a word of advice from first base coach Eric Simon. Elliott and the Cardinals are headed to state after winning the Middleton Sectional Tuesday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Their pitching was sublime throughout the day.

They had timely hitting and the defense was immaculate.

And because Middleton’s baseball team was terrific in all three areas, it’s headed back to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

Middleton won its own sectional Tuesday and will now play in a state quarterfinal game June 17 at 1 p.m. at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.

Middleton opened the day with a 2-1 over La Crosse Central in a sectional semifinal. The Cardinals then toppled Reedsburg, 7-3, in the sectional final.
Middleton will now make its seventh trip to state since 2002.

“We’re playing our best ball right now and that was our goal at the beginning of the season,” Middleton senior catcher Jackson Keeler said. “It’s nice to try to win the conference, but ultimately we want to be playing our best baseball when the playoffs roll around.”

They are.

Middleton escaped in the sectional semis against La Crosse Central.

Senior pitcher Kasey Miller threw a complete-game, three hitter and had three hits himself.

“He did it at the plate and, more importantly on the mound today,” Middleton manager Tom Schmitt said of Miller. “He’s got the stuff, you know, you need to have in a No. 1 pitcher.

“He didn’t have his best outing against Waunakee (in the regional final) because he wasn’t feeling great. But he showed what a senior can do, have a chance to be special and give his team a chance to get in a sectional final and he did.”

Middleton took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a single by Alex Elliott and a Central error, which allowed Luke Schafer to score.

Miller had an RBI single in the third as Middleton took a 2-0 lead.

Central appeared to score a pair of runs with a two-run double in the fourth inning. But Middleton appealed the play and it was ruled the base-runner missed third, leaving the Cardinals protecting a 2-1 lead.

Central put the tying run on second in the top of the sixth. But Middleton had a pair of stellar defensive plays, then Miller notched a huge strikeout.

Central put two runners on again in the seventh. But Miller pulled another Houdini act, escaped the jam and the Cardinals moved on to the sectional finals.

“I just wanted to get out there and compete,” Miller said. “The last game I wasn’t feeling too hot and had to come out in the third. It was definitely nice to feel better and to have good, solid defense behind me. That helped out tremendously.”

Middleton continued to roll in the sectional final.

Elliott had three hits, while Zach Kasdorf added two hits and Jordan Lueck had two RBIs for Middleton. The Cardinals built a 7-0 lead, highlighted by a four-run fifth.

Garrett Knudtson scattered seven hits and tossed a complete game.

“(Garrett) had been hit hard by some good hitting teams,” Schmitt said. “You know at sectional finals, you’re going to see good hitting teams.

“For him to go out and compete and mix pitches with his off-speed and his fastball, he did a good job of locating. When you have confidence and buy into what you do, it’s easier for you to execute and he was in tune.”

And now the Cardinals will be singing that tune all the way to state.

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