HTL team two wins from a title

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Drew Farrell threw a two-hit shutout to power Middleton’s Home Talent League team past Montello on Sunday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The Chicago Cubs had Jake Arietta.

The San Francisco Giants had Madison Bumgarner.

And on a smaller scale, Middleton’s Home Talent League team has Drew Farrell.

Look out below.

In the first round of the HTL playoffs Sunday, Farrell threw 8 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against host Montello. Pinch hitter Craig Madson broke up the no-hitter, but Farrell went the distance and led Middleton to a 7-0 win.

Farrell finished with seven strikeouts, allowed two hits and walked two.

“Farrell was a force on the mound today,” Middleton manager Brandon Hellenbrand said. “He dominated right from the start and never gave in.”

Middleton (18-2) now travels to Stoughton Sunday at 1 p.m., and the winner of that game will be in the driver’s seat for the HTL championship. Stoughton cruised to a 9-3 win over Dodgeville in the other first round game.

“We knew coming into the Final Four that anything can happen,” said Hellenbrand, who is trying to guide the 29ers to their second championship in five years. “We all know that if we continue to play the way that we have, we can be very hard to beat.”

Farrell made sure the 29ers weren’t going to be beat on this day.

Farrell didn’t allow a base runner until the fifth inning when he walked Montello’s clean-up hitter on a 3-2 pitch. 

Farrell didn't allow another runner until the ninth when Madson hit a soft liner to center. Montello later had an infield single, but Farrell worked out of the mini-jam and finished off the shutout.

“I thought he did a great job of working ahead of hitters today,” Hellenbrand said of Farrell. “Our defense played great behind him and Montello was just never able to get anything going.”

The 29ers scored four runs in the second inning, and that was all the offense they would need.

In the second, Brennan Schmitt had a leadoff double. Farrell walked and both runners advanced after a passed ball. Alec Morrison singled to right to drive in Schmitt, then Hunter Bindl walked to load the bases.  

Farrell then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Brandon Scheidler to give Middleton a 2-0 lead. Morrison and Bindl both advanced an errant throw by the center fielder, then Kevin Dubler then had a sacrifice fly to left to score Morrison. 

Josh Hinson followed with a double to score Bindl and give the 29ers a 4-0 lead.

It stayed that way until the ninth, when Middleton added three more runs.

Andrew Zimmerman had a leadoff walk, then Ross Hellenbrand laid down a sacrifice bunt that Montello’s catcher threw away, putting runners on the corners. Brennan Schmitt then drove an inside pitch over the right field fence for a three-run home run to make it 7-0.

Schmitt went 2-for-4 on the day with a home run, a double and three RBI. Scheidler went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Josh Hinson was 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. 

“Coming in we didn’t know a whole lot about Montello,” Brandon Hellenbrand said. “We knew they had a solid starting pitcher, but that was about it. He struggled a little bit early with his command and we were able to take advantage of it with some great at-bats to get four runs early. 

“We had more chances throughout the game, but we couldn’t get the clutch hit when we needed it. I thought we really took a good approach at the plate. I was really happy with the way all nine guys swung today.” 

And even happier how Farrell threw.

Now, Middleton is just two wins from a title.

 

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