Baseball Cards close in on Big 8 title

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Joel Ticknor and Middleton's baseball team are closing in on a Big Eight Conference title./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

These days, it’s pretty good to be Middleton’s baseball team.

The Cardinals swept a pair of games from Beloit Memorial last week, topping the Purple Knights, 5-2, on Tuesday and cruising to a 13-2 win on Wednesday. Now, Middleton’s baseball team is on the brink of winning the Big Eight Conference.

The Cardinals sit at 13-3 in the league and 16-6 overall. Middleton, looking for its first conference title since 2010, holds a ½-game lead over second place Janesville Craig (19-3, 12-3) and Sun Prairie (18-3, 12-3).

In addition, Middleton received the No. 1 seed in its 12-team sectional Sunday. The Cardinals received every No. 1 vote from the other 11 coaches.

Middleton now gets a first round bye and hosts either eighth-seeded Onalaska or ninth-seeded Portage in a WIAA Division 1 regional final on May 31. The Middleton Sectional then takes place June 5.

“I’d say it sets up pretty nice,” Middleton manager Tom Schmitt said. “We’ve got some big games coming and hopefully we’ll be ready for them.”

The Cardinals were certainly ready for everything they faced last week.

In Middleton’s 5-2 win over Beloit, Matt Ballweg allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings and notched the win. Ballweg struck out three, walked one and allowed six hits.

Carson Blair was terrific in relief, holding the Purple Knights to one hit and no runs in the final three innings.

Zach Shipley went 2-for-3 and Alan Roden had two RBI.

Beloit Memorial took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but the Cardinals answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Roden had a two-run single and scored himself on an RBI single by Carsen Schulz.

Cooper Holewinski had an RBI groundout in the fourth and Shipley had an RBI single in the fifth.

“It was a little closer than you’d like,” Schmitt said. “But we’ve got learn how to win close games, so this provided a good chance for that.”

In Middleton’s win in Beloit the following day, Derek Reisdorf worked the first three innings and picked up the win. Josh Stumpf threw two scoreless and hitless innings to finish things off.

Schulz had a huge day going 3-for-3 with a double, three RBI and three runs scored, while Holewinski was 2-for-2 with a triple and three RBI. Nolan Kelliher also went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI.

Joel Ticknor went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Roden was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Shipley also went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Middleton led, 3-1, when it broke things open with a five-run third. Kelliher had a two-run double that scored Schulz and Nick Michaels, the Holewinski tripled to score Kelliher and Noah Casali. Adam Casali’s sacrifice fly then plated Holewinski to give Middleton an 8-1 lead.

Middleton’s lead was 9-3 after four innings when it ended things with a four-run fifth. The Cardinals loaded the bases, then Schulz ripped a two-run double that scored Joel Ticknor and Roden.

Shipley followed with an RBI single that plated Luke Ballweg, and Schulz scored on a groundout by Kelliher to make it 13-2. When Beloit couldn’t score in the bottom of the fifth, the game was stopped due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“We played two pretty decent games,” Schmitt said. “On Wednesday (at Beloit), we really hit the ball hard.”

Middleton also fell to visiting Hartland Arrowhead, 10-2, last Thursday.

Arrowhead struck for six runs in the first inning and cruised to an easy win. Cardinals’ starter Luke Ballweg allowed six earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning and took the loss.

Middleton now has a home and home series with Madison East (3-13, 3-13) this week, traveling to East on Tuesday then hosting the Purgolders Thursday at 5 p.m.

If Middleton sweeps those two games, it’s ensured of at least a tie for the conference title.

 “We gave ourselves a chance to win one here for the first time since 2010,” Schmitt said. “The guys are focused and they’re ready.”


May 15

Middleton 5, Beloit Memorial 2

Beloit Memorial ……….. 002 000 0 — 2 8 3

Middleton ……………… 003 110 0 — 5 8 1

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Stavn (L; 3.2-6-2-2-1), Ovist (2.1-2-1-0-1); Ballweg (W; 4-7-1-1-3); Blair (3-1-0-1-2).

Leading hitters — BM: Dixon 2x2, Estrella 2x3. 2B — Dixon, Estrella. MID: Shipley 2x3. 2B — Kelliher.



May 16

Middleton 13, Beloit Memorial 2

Middleton ……………………. 215 14 — 13 16 1

Beloit Memorial …………….. 011 00 — 2 5 2

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Reisdorf (W; 3-5-2-2-2), Stumpf (2-0-0-2-2); Coleman (L; 2.1-7-6-2-2); Hollenbeck (1-1-0-0-0); Dixon (1.2-8-5-0-1).

Leading hitters — MID: Kelliher 3x4, Roden 2x3, Schulz 3x3, Ticknor 2x3, Holewinski 2x2, Shipley 2x4. 2B — Kelliher, Schulz, Ticknor. 3B — Roden, Holewinski. BM: 3B — Coleman.


May 17

Hartland Arrowhead 10, Middleton 2

Arrowhead........ 610 012 0 — 10 9 1

Middleton......... 101 000 0 — 2 5 0

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Schraufnagel (W; 5-4-1-2-4), Keefner (1-0-0-0-1), Logsdon (1-1-0-0-0). Ballweg (L; 0.2-5-6-4-0), Blair (4.1-2-2-1-2), Deptula (2-2-2-0-2).

Leading hitters — HA: Holtz 2x3, Wohlfiel 2x4, Johnson 2x3. 2B — Pulvermacher, Toussaint. 3B — Wohlfiel. HR — Holtz. MID: Schulz 2x4. 2B — Ballweg, Ticknor.

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