Baseball Cards on a roll

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Drew Finley Haag and Middleton’s baseball team won all four of its games last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Twelve months ago, an effort like this would have never been good enough.

But this isn’t your 2015 Middleton baseball team.

Not even close.

The Cardinals toppled Madison West, 5-3, last Thursday in an effort they all agreed was far from their best. But that’s the difference between Middleton today and last spring.

A year ago, the young and inexperienced Cardinals had to be at their best each time out. That didn’t happen enough as Middleton went 10-16 overall.

Today, Middleton has been sharp almost every time out, as its 8-1 record will attest. But even on a day like last Thursday, when the Cardinals were just mediocre, they still knocked off the Regents.

“Last year we would have gotten creamed in a game like this,” said Middleton ace Alec Morrison. “Now, we’re pulling off wins.”

They sure are.

The Cardinals won four games last week, routing Big Eight Conference rival Madison Memorial, 14-1, last Wednesday before dumping the Regents one day later. Then on Saturday, Middleton swept a doubleheader from Marshfield, 4-2 and 8-7.

The Cardinals are 6-1 in the Big Eight, good for second place, one game behind defending state champion Janesville Craig (9-0, 7-0).

“We’re another year bigger, another year stronger,” said senior third baseman Brennan Schmitt. “That definitely helps.

“We were a really young team last year and we had a really good offseason in the weight room. You can see the difference.”

You most certainly can.

In the Cardinals’ win over West, Morrison didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. Morrison also had a three-run double during a four run third inning as Middleton raced to a 5-0 lead.

The Cardinals didn't have a hit over their final three at bats. And Morrison began struggling with his control and allowed West (3-3, 7-3) to score twice in the sixth to close within 5-3.

But even with Middleton struggling a bit, it had enough talent and moxie to prevail.

“You can’t be razor sharp every day,” Middleton manager Tom Schmitt said. “But we were good enough to win and that’s the big thing.”

Indeed.

Middleton took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Morrison drew a leadoff walk, and pinch runner Logan Ziegler scored on a two-out single to center by Liam Belleveau.

The Cardinals then erupted for four runs in the fourth — and did all of their damage after two were out.

Left fielder Drew Finley Haag walked and Brennan Schmitt singled to center. Catcher Alan Roden walked to load the bases, then Morrison crushed a double to left field that cleared the bases.

“I was patient and thought I could get a pitch I could drive,” Morrison said. “And the ball just kept carrying for me.”

Right fielder Nolan Kouba then singled up the middle to plate pinch runner Ziegler and give the Cardinals a 5-0 lead.

“A nice little two-out rally,” Tom Schmitt said. “That was a huge hit by (Morrison).”

Morrison was awfully good on the hill, as well.

He struggled throwing first pitch strikes and allowed four hits between the fourth and sixth innings. But Morrison worked out of trouble and picked up his third win in 15 days.

“It’s still early. We’re not even halfway through the season,” Brennan Schmitt said. “So you never know what’s going to happen.

“But this has been a lot of fun. We’re putting ourselves in a good position.”

Which is a 180-degree change from last season.

“I think we just had a lot more dedication this offseason,” Morrison said. “And it’s really paying off now.”

• Middleton 14, Madison Memorial 1 (5) — The Cardinals pounded out 18 hits and rolled past the Spartans last Wednesday in a game stopped after five innings due to the 10-run rule.

Alan Roden had a triple and three RBI for the Cardinals, while Alec Morrison went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Nolan Kouba was 2-for-3 with a double, three runs scored and two RBI, while Liam Belleveau was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

Middleton struck for six runs in the first inning and six more in the third and rolled to the win.

Adam Nutting was the winning pitcher after allowing three hits and no runs in three innings.

• Middleton 4, Marshfield 2; Middleton 8, Marshfield 7 — The Cardinals swept a doubleheader from the visiting Tigers last Saturday.

Drew Finley Haag was the winning pitcher in the opener. Finley Haag allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) in five innings.

Middleton managed just five hits. But the Cardinals scored three runs in the second inning on an RBI double by Logan Ziegler and a two-run error.

In the nightcap, Brennan Schmitt had three RBI and earned the win. Schmitt threw five innings, allowed four earned runs and struck out four.

Alan Roden went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Alec Morrison also had two RBI.

 

‌April 21

MIDDLETON 5, MADISON WEST 3

Madison West 000 102 0 — 3 4 0

Middleton 014 000 x — 5 4 1

Pitchers — (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Bindl (1-0-0-0-1), Morrison (6-4-2-2-5), Doyle (L; 2-0-0-1-1), Met (2.2-4-5-3-0), Pulkrabek (1.1-0-0-0-1).

Leading hitters — . 2B — Morrison. 2B — Baldwin.

 

‌April 20

MIDDLETON 14, MADISON MEMORIAL 1

Memorial 000 01 — 1 3 1

Middleton 616 1x — 14 18 0

Pitchers — (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Strang (L; 2.1-15-11-1-1), Gonring (1.2-3-1-0-1); Nutting (W; 4-3-0-3-3), Gurtner (1-0-1-2-0).

Leading hitters — Middleton — Belleveau (2x3), Bindl (2x2), Finley (3x3), Kouba (2x3), Morrison (2x3), Shipley (2x3). 2B — Arias, Belleveau, Kouba, Morrison, Shipley, Ziegler. 3B — Roden. Madison Memorial — Wilson (2x3).

 

 

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