Softball Cardinals enjoy a big week

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Beth Young and Middleton’s softball team won three of four games last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Brynn Thayer shined on the mound.

Middleton’s bats came to life.

And the Cardinals’ girls softball team had a solid week, winning three of four games.

Middleton defeated River Valley, 12-2, on April 1, and downed Madison West, 16-0, in its Big Eight Conference opener on April 2. The Cardinals pounded Madison East, 11-1, on April 3, before falling to Madison Memorial, 5-0, last Saturday.

Middleton is now 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big Eight.

Here’s a recap of the Cardinals’ week:

• Middleton 12, River Valley 2 (6) — Brynn Thayer pitched five innings and allowed only four hits and two earned runs. Thayer threw only 65 pitches with 44 for strikes.

The game was stopped after six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“Brynn was very efficient on the mound,” Middleton manager Perry Hibner said. “She does an outstanding job getting ahead of batters and trying to make them hit the pitch she wants them to hit.”

Middleton took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Ashley Bindl's RBI double to left center scored CC Hiorns, who had reached on an error when she bunted.

The Cardinals then took a commanding 6-0 lead thanks to a five-run fifth.

Lauren Horst tripled to left center, then Beth Young and Mattie Joers followed with walks. Two outs later, Bindl was hit by a pitch to score Young.

Olivia Hebert tripled to the left field wall to clear the bases. Hebert later scores on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.

Middleton added three more in the third to make it 9-0. Hebert's two-run double to center was the key hit.

"Olivia was just raking the ball,” Hibner said. “Her triple in the second was huge. It looked like we might only get one run there after loading the bases with no one out. That really took the wind out of River Valley's sails.”

The teams didn't play last year, but River Valley beat Middleton in 2016 and 2017.

“Jane Briehl is a fantastic coach and she always does a great job,'' Hibner said of the River Valley skipper. “I'm sure they will be better a few weeks from now, but it was sure nice to beat them this time around.”

• Middleton 16, Madison West 0 (5) — Thayer and Ellie Buza combined on a two-hit shutout and Bindl had three hits and two RBIs. The game was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.

“We always talk about playing to high standard no matter who are opponent is and I was very happy that we did that,” Hibner said. “Madison West has struggled the past few years, but they are capable and we certainly didn't let them get into the game. We hit the ball hard, we pitched very well and we made the plays in the field we needed to make.”

In the second inning, Young's two-out single to right scored Hebert and helped stake the Cardinals to a 2-0 lead.

In the third inning, Hebert's two-run double scores Jenna Redders, who reached on an error, and Bindl, who doubled to right. Katelyn Graf followed with a double to left to score Hebert, then Williams hit a two-run home run to right center to give Middleton a 7-0 lead.

“Sam has incredible power and it was nice to see her take the outside pitch the other way,” Hibner said. “When she does that, she is a tough batter to get out.”

In the fourth, Redders had an RBI double, while Bindl and Williams added RBI singles as Middleton pushed its lead to 7-0.

The Cardinals added five more runs in the fifth inning highlighted by Lauren Vander Sanden's hit to the wall in right that scored Bindl.

• Middleton 11, Madison East 1 (5) — Hebert and Williams each drove in four runs and Thayer and Buza combined on a three-hitter. The game was stopped after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

"We weren't as sharp batting as we were against River Valley and Madison West, but we took advantage of our opportunities,” Hibner said. “We are trying to be more aggressive on the bases this year and we have the players to put more pressure on the defense. We did that a lot against Madison East.”

Middleton struck for four runs in the first inning when Redders doubled to right center, Hiorns bunted for a hit and Bindl walked to load the bases. Redders scored on a passed ball and Hebert followed with a single to left to score Hiorns and Bindl. Hebert scored later in the inning on a Williams groundout to third.

In the second inning, Hiorns walked with one out and stole second. After Bindl flied out, Hebert drove in Hiorns with a single to center.

Williams singled to score Hebert and Graf followed with a single. Horst then drove in Williams and Graf with a double to the wall in center for an 8-0 lead.

Middleton added three more runs in the third inning as Hebert had an RBI single and Williams had a two-run double.

Thayer allowed three hits and one earned run in three innings to get the win. Buza didn't allow a runner in two innings and struck out three.

“Ellie is really starting to throw the ball well again,” said Hibner, who noted Buza threw 19 of her 25 pitches for strikes. “She was struggling a bit with her control early, but she was throwing a ton of strikes and hitting her spots.”

• Madison Memorial 5, Middleton 0 — Camryn Decker allowed two hits, walked one and struck out 10 as the Spartans toppled the Cardinals in a game played at Madison College last Saturday.

Hibner noted that Decker also pitched well in a 3-1 win by the Cardinals in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal a year ago.

“She was phenomenal on the mound,” Hibner said of Decker. “We swung at too many pitches that were outside the strike zone early in the count, but give her credit. She dominated us.”

Decker struck out the first six Middleton batters. The Cardinals only got the leadoff batter on once all game and never had more than two runners on in an inning. 

Middleton's best chance to score was in the third inning when Young walked with two outs and Redders was hit by a pitch. However, Hiorns struck out to end the threat.

Williams doubled to right with two outs in the fourth, but Thayer struck out to end the inning. Hebert singled up the middle to lead off the seventh, but Williams lined out to center on a diving catch by Lily Frisch, pinch-hitter Bailey Flock grounded out to third and Horst grounded out to Decker to end the game. 

The Spartans scored two runs in the first and added three in the sixth. Hibner noted errors kept both innings alive for Madison Memorial.

“We gave them extra outs, which we can't do, especially when we are struggling to score,” Hibner said. “We've talked that our formula for winning is we need to hit, run the bases hard, throw strikes and be clean in the field. Brynn pitched well enough for us to be in the game, but we didn't do enough in the other areas.”

 

April 1

Middleton 12, River Valley 2

River Valley 000 110 — 2-4-2

Middleton 153 111 — 12-11-0

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): Hoffman (L; 5.1-11-10-3-11), Thayer (W; 5-4-2-6-1), Buza (1-0-0-0-0). Leading hitters: MID — Redders 3x5, Hebert 3x5. 3B: Hebert, Horst (M), Zumbrennen (M), Esser (RV), Gilbert (RV). 2B: Bindl (M), Graf (M), Hebert.

 

April 2

Middleton 16, Madison West 0

Middleton 025 45 — 16-15-0

Madison West 000 00 — 0-2-4

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): Thayer (W; 3-1-0-6-0), Buza (2-1-0-2-0), Balas (L; 5-15-13-3-2). Leading hitters: MID — Bindl 3x4, Williams 2x2, Hebert 2x4. HR: Williams. 2B: Bindl, Graf (M), Hebert, Redders (M).

 

April 3

Middleton 11, Madison East 1 (5)

Madison East 001 00 — 1-3-2

Middleton 443 0x — 11-13-1

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): Gunter (L: 4-13-11-5-3), Thayer (W; 3-3-1-3-1), Buza (2-0-0-3-0). Leading hitters: MID — Hiorns 3x3, Hebert 3x4, Redders 2x3, Williams 2x3. 3B: Gunter (ME). 2B: Horst (M), Redders, Williams, Mitchell (ME).

 

April 6

Madison Memorial 5, Middleton 0

Middleton 000 000 0 — 0-2-2

Madison Memorial 200 003 x — 5-7-0

Pitching (ip-h-er-so-bb): Thayer (L; 6-7-0-5-0), Decker (W; 7-2-0-10-1). Leading hitters: Cox (MM) 2x3. 2B: Williams (M).

 

 

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