Season ends for softball Cardinals

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton's girls softball team saw its season end Friday with a loss to Holmen in a regional final./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

When the postseason began, Middleton girls softball coach Perry Hibner believed six teams were capable of winning his star-studded sectional.

Holmen still has a chance to do just that. Hibner and his Cardinals do not.

In a WIAA Division 1 regional final Friday, host Holmen broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth and went on to upend the Cardinals, 6-2.

Sixth-seeded Middleton ended the year 15-12, while third-seeded Holmen improved to 21-6.

“It was a well-played game by two very good teams,” Hibner said. “It felt like a sectional final. They just came up with a couple more plays at the key times.”

Middleton did strike first and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ashley Bindl walked with one out, moved to second on Rachel Everson's single to left and scored on Hanna Fisher's two-out single up the middle.

Middleton had a chance to increase the lead in the third inning when Everson doubled to left-center field to lead off the inning. After Jessica Parente struck out, Fisher hit a deep fly to right-center field that center fielder Morgan Pellowski tracked down.

Everson advanced to third base on the play, but was stranded when Brianna Buss grounded out to short.

“That was a missed opportunity,” Hibner said. “And you always feel like when you are playing a good team like Holmen they will come back to haunt you.”

It did.

Holmen tied the game in the fourth when Kendra Leis doubled to the wall in right, advanced to third on Kylee Schams' groundout and scored on a fielder's choice by McKenzie Winker. 

The Vikings then took the lead during a three-run fifth. Cassie Schmidt had a two-out, RBI single to center and Leis followed with a two-run triple to right.

The Cardinals weren't done, however. Buss walked to lead off the sixth and Katrina Anderson followed with a single to left. Makenzie Kopp had a sacrifice bunt and Wettstein was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Lauren Banke singled to right to cut the deficit to 4-2. Bindl then hit a smash up the middle, but Schams was able to field it and throw home to get Anderson. 

“That was the play of the game,” Hibner said. “If she doesn't make that play, we get two runs and the game is tied and who knows how many runs we get that inning.”

The threat ended when Everson struck out. Holmen then tacked on two runs in the bottom of the inning on Pellowski's two-out, two-run single to left.

“Schams is a fantastic pitcher and Leis is as a good of a hitter as we have seen this year,” Hibner said.

The Cardinals will lose seven seniors — Everson, Kopp, Fisher, Anderson, Wettstein, backup third baseman Molly Trehey and backup outfielder Jessi Nonn — that were vital to MHS’ success in recent seasons. 

“Our seniors have done a fantastic job this year and over the years,” Hibner said. “They have been great leaders and have had lots of individual and team success. They will be missed.”

Banke, a junior who has started on the varsity the past three years, also won’t return as her family is moving to Illinois as part of a job relocation.

“Lauren is such a versatile player,” said Hibner, who noted that Banke has pitched, played shortstop and outfield during her time. “And her speed and hitting are irreplaceable. It's a huge loss but we'll find a way.”

• Middleton 12, Tomah 2 (6) — Eight was enough.

More than enough, really.

Middleton’s girls softball team scored eight runs in the second inning, which keyed a 12-2 win over Tomah in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Wednesday. The game was stopped after six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

The sixth-seeded Cardinals improved to 15-11 and advanced to a regional final at Holmen, while the 11th-seeded Timberwolves finished the year 4-15.

“It was certainly nice to keep the momentum going after the win at Sun Prairie,” said Middleton manager Perry Hibner, whose team defeated Big Eight Conference champion Sun Prairie late in the year. “We're playing pretty well right now and getting contributions from a lot of players.”

Middleton trailed, 2-1, in the bottom of the second inning when it erupted for eight runs. The big hit was Jessica Parente’s bases-clearing double just inside the left field line. 

“Just a huge, huge hit,” Hibner said. “It was so important that we take the momentum right back and we did.”

Katrina Anderson and Brianna Buss both had two hits in the inning as the Cardinals sent 14 batters to the plate in their enormous frame.

Rachel Everson’s single in the fifth scored Lauren Banke and pushed Middleton's lead to 10-2. The Cardinals put the game away in the sixth on a walk by Buss, a single to left by Anderson, a walk by pinch-hitter Jessi Nonn, a walk by Sara Wettstein that scored Buss, and Banke's third hit of the game, a single to center.

Makenzie Kopp pitched another strong game, allowing just four hits and striking out nine without issuing a walk. The defense was also solid with just one error.

 

May 24

Middleton 12, Tomah 2 (6)

Tomah …………… 020 000 — 2  4  2

Middleton ………… 180 012 — 12 14 1

Pitchers (ip-h-er-so-bb): Wright (L; 1.2-9-8-0-1), Deraussean (3.1-4-3-0-4), Kopp (W; 6-4-2-7-0).

Leading hitters -- M: Anderson 3x4, Banke 3x4, Buss 2x3, Parente 2x4. HR: Murphy (T). 2B Perry (T), Banke, Parente, Anderson, Kopp (M). 

 

May 26

Holmen 6, Middleton 2

Middleton …………. 100 001 0 — 2-8-0

Holmen ……………. 000 132 x — 6-8-0

Pitchers (ip-h-er-so-bb): Kopp (L; 6-8-6-2-2), Schams (W; 7-8-2-6-3).

Leading hitters: Everson (M) 3x4, Leis (H) 3x3, Winkler (H) 2x3.

 

 

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