Softball Cardinals have a lot to say

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Rachel Everson and Middleton's girls softball team sat in third place in the Big Eight Conference heading into this week./News Publishing Co. photo by Mary Langenfeld

Few softball teams anywhere are as vocal as Middleton’s.

Chants. Cheers. Sayings.

The Cardinals are an awfully boisterous bunch.

“Oh yeah,” said Middleton standout center fielder Rachel Everson. “We’re pretty loud.”

The good news for the Cardinals is their play on the field has been awfully loud inside the Big Eight Conference.

Middleton won three of four league games last week and improved to 9-3 in the conference. The Cardinals currently sit in third place in the conference, behind only Sun Prairie (12-1) and Janesville Craig (10-2).

Last week, Middleton swept a doubleheader from Madison East on Saturday, 11-2 and 12-2. The Cardinals lost to Janesville Craig, 6-2, last Thursday and rolled past Madison West, 13-3, last Wednesday.

“We kind of struggled earlier in the year,” Middleton junior shortstop/pitcher Lauren Banke said. “But I think we’re getting on a little bit of a roll right now.”

That was evident against the Purgolders.

In the opener, senior Katrina Anderson had a two-run home run in the fifth and finished with four hits and six RBI.

Anderson had a two-run single as part of a four-run first inning. She added a double to the wall in left center to score Brianna Buss with two outs in the third to give the Cardinals a 5-0 lead. Anderson then hit a two-run home run to center with two outs in the fifth to make it a 7-2 game.

“It was awesome to see Katrina hit the ball so well,” said Middleton coach Perry Hibner, who noted it was Anderson's first home run at any level in her career. “She gave us a huge lift.”

Makenize Kopp pitched a complete game, striking out six and not walking a batter, to pick up her fifth win of the season.

Kopp got off to a slow start in the nightcap, allowing the first three East batters to reach base. That’s when Hibner went to Banke, who escaped the jam by allowing just two runs.

Banke finished the game allowing just four hits and no runs in six innings to pick up the win. Banke struck out six and didn't allow a runner past first base after the first inning.

“Lauren was outstanding,” Everson said. “It was probably her best game of the year.”

After Middleton dug itself a 2-0 hole after the first inning, it responded with an eight-run second inning. The Cardinals sent 13 batters to the plate as third baseman Ashley Bindl had a two-run single and catcher Brianna Buss had two hits in the frame.

Middleton added three runs in the third inning — all after two were out. Bindl singled and Everson walked, then Jessica Parente had an RBI single.

Hanna Fisher then ripped a two-run triple that gave the Cardinals an 11-2 lead.

It stayed that way until the sixth when Banke’s RBI single gave the Cardinals a 12-2 lead and ended things early.

“On paper, this is the best hitting team I’ve been part of,” Everson said. “We don’t really have an weak spots in the lineup.”

Banke agreed.

“We’ve hit really good all year,” she said. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”

Middleton didn’t hit as well against Janesville Craig and suffered its only loss of the week.

Craig’s Taylor Salmon had a two-run double in the sixth and Hannah Halverson added a two-run double in the seventh as the Cougars rallied to beat the host Cardinals.

Fisher and Bindl hit home runs to center field on back-to-back pitches in the second inning to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Middleton finished with 10 hits off returning Big Eight player of the year Jenna Brandt and also had another half-dozen line drives that were caught by outfielders.

“We were right there against one of the best teams in the Big Eight,” Hibner said. “I was proud of the effort. We just needed to execute the small things a little bit better. If we do those things, the result might have been different.”

The Cardinals had an easy time with Madison West, as Parente had three hits and drove in four runs.

Fisher added three hits, while sophomore Ashley Bindl had two hits and three RBI. Kopp pitched two scoreless innings and struck out four in relief of Banke.

“We struggled a little bit early, but we bounced back the last couple of innings,” Hibner said. “It wasn't our best performance, but we ran the bases hard and were pretty clean in the field. I have enough gray hair already, so it's nice to win in five and not make the game too interesting.”


May 3

Middleton 13, Madison West 3 (5)

Madison West …………… 021 00 — 3  4  4

Middleton ………………… 408 01 — 13  11  3

Pitchers (ip-h-er-so-bb): Balas (L; 4-11-7-1-3) Banke (W; 3-4-2-4-2) Kopp (2-0-0-4-1).

Leading hitters: MW — Balas 2x3. M — Fisher 3x3, Parente 3x4, Bindl 2x3. 2B: Balas, Fisher, Parente.


May 4

Janesville Craig 6, Middleton 2

Craig …………………… 010 002 3 — 6 10 0

Middleton ……………. 020 000 0 — 2 10 1

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — JC: Brandt (W; 7-10-2-0-5); M: Kopp (L; 10-5-2-4).

Leading hitters — JC: Halverson 2x4, Brandt 2x4, Salmon 3x4; M: Everson 3x4, Fisher 2x3. 2B — Halverson, Salmon (JC); Everson 2 (M). HR — Bindl, Fisher (M).


May 6

Game 1

Middleton 11, Madison East 2

Madison East ………….. 000 200 0 — 2 7 1

Middleton ………………. 401 024 x — 11 15 1

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — ME: Ayden (L; 6-15-11-0-2); M: Kopp (W; 7-7-2-0-6).

Leading hitters — ME: Ann 2x3, Najdowski 2x3; M: Banke 2x4, Bindl 2x3, Everson 2x4, Parente 3x4, Anderson 4x4. 2B — Sexson (ME); Anderson (M). 3B — Everson; Bindl (M). HR — Anderson (M).


Game 2

Middleton 12, Madison East 2 (6)

Middleton …………………. 083 001 — 12 15 1

Madison East ……………… 200 000 — 2 6 0

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — M: Kopp (0-3-2-0-0), Banke (W; 6-3-0-0-6); ME: Schroeckenthaler (L; 6-15-12-5-5)

Leading hitters — M: Bindl 3x3, Everson 2x3, Parente 2x4, Buss 2x2; ME: Schroeckenthaler 2x3, Kipp 2x3. 2B — Everson (M). 3B — Fisher (M).


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