Sports

Thu
17
May
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Softball Cards excited for postseason

Middleton softball coach Perry Hibner and assistant Amy Siedschlag were scheduled to attend the WIAA Division 1 seeding meeting in Baraboo Wednesday night. And Hibner expected his team to be seeded anywhere from No. 7-12.

“I think we’re a pretty dangerous seed no matter where we get placed,” Hibner said. “We’re healthy and playing better. I can’t wait for the postseason.”

Yes, Hibner is full of optimism.

But if the Cardinals’ postseason is going to last very long, they’ll have to play much better than they have during the regular season.

Middleton dropped two of three games last week and fell to 6-11 overall and 6-8 in the Big Eight Conference.

Verona swept the Cardinals by scores of 7-3 and 6-0 last Tuesday. Middleton then bounced back and toppled Janesville Parker, 9-0, last Thursday.

Thu
17
May
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Girls soccer team jumps to No. 1

Mary Duffy fully understands that polls don’t guarantee anything.

That they’re nothing more than opinions and fodder for family and friends to discuss.

Still, Duffy — Middleton’s girls’ soccer coach — and her Cardinals were excited, humbled and a little bit apprehensive after claiming the No. 1 spot in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll.

Middleton was the top ranked team in Division 1, followed by Bay Port, Eau Claire Memorial, Hartland Arrowhead and Kimberly.

“That is great and we feel honored,” Duffy said of the No. 1 ranking. “But I also feel like it is a double-edged sword. While it does speak to the talent we have, we still need to perform to go to state. Happy to see recognition, but it also means we need to focus and work even harder now.

Thu
17
May
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Golfers win Big 8 dual meet title

It’s a tradition that stems back decades.

Any time Middleton’s boys golf team wins a major invitational, the Big Eight Conference, or a postseason event, the Cardinals stop at a certain gas station. Middleton’s boys are then treated to Slushie’s for their accomplishments.

Last Wednesday, the Cardinals once again ended up with Slushie’s in their hands. And this one was extremely sweet.

Middleton shot a season-low 296 and edged Verona (302) to win the Madison East Triangular held at Yahara Hills. Both the Cardinals and Wildcats entered the meet unbeaten in the Big Eight dual meet season, and the win gave Middleton the regular season title.

“The kids have always had the same goals and No. 1 is to always win conference,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “After that, we focus on making it to state.

“But this group is gaining more confidence and believes anything is within reach. They just need to keep working hard and practicing with a purpose.”

Thu
17
May
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Baseball Cards top Craig, lead Big 8

The story of Middleton’s baseball team against Janesville Craig had a familiar plot line in both games this season: give senior pitcher Brady Schmitt the ball.

Watch Schmitt mow down hitters. Hand the ball off to a relief pitcher to finish the game. Win by one run.

Lather, rinse and repeat.  

Schmitt went six strong innings again Monday night, Matt Ballweg stepped up huge in relief, and host Middleton defeated third-ranked Janesville Craig, 2-1. The Cardinals survived a tense seventh inning and completed a season sweep of the Cougars.

The Cardinals improved to 14-5 overall and moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Eight Conference at 11-3. Middleton leads second place Sun Prairie (10-3, 16-3) by ½ game in the league and is one game ahead of third place Janesville Craig (16-3, 9-3 Big Eight).

Fri
11
May
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Big 8 title in reach for baseball Cards

Middleton baseball standout Alan Roden sat with Cardinals’ skipper Tom Schmitt at the start of the year.

Schmitt asked his catcher-turned-shortstop what he wanted to accomplish in 2018, and Roden’s answer was precise.

“I said No. 1, I want to win a state championship,” Roden said. “And 1A is to win the Big Eight.”

We’ll learn more about the Middleton’s chances at a state title next month. For now, though, Roden and the Cardinals are set up perfectly for a Big Eight Conference title run.

Middleton won three of four conference games last week and moved into a tie for first place. The Cardinals are 11-5 overall, 8-3 in the league and tied for the conference lead with both Janesville Craig (7-2, 13-2) and Sun Prairie (8-3, 11-3).

Fri
11
May
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No ceiling for MHS golfers

Hole by hole, round by round, their confidence grows.

The results — reflective of a team that truly believes — have been stunning. And one has to wonder just where the ceiling might be for Middleton’s boys’ golf team.

The Cardinals — a group consisting of one senior, three sophomores and a freshman — continue to put up eye-popping numbers. The highlight came last Saturday, when Middleton shot a season-low 304 and tied for second at the star-studded, 36-team MACC Fund Invitational held at Tuckaway Country Club in Franklin.

Middleton also finished second at the 12-team Onalaska Invite last Friday. In addition, the Cardinals — who played without two of their top five golfers — placed eighth among 20 teams at the WPGA Legends Invite at Bristlecone Pines in Hartland.

“They’re sure starting to come around,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said of his team. “Their scores are getting better and better and it’s been a lot of fun to see the growth.”

Fri
11
May
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Girls soccer team chasing Big 8 title

The Big Eight is one of the elite girls soccer conferences in the state.

And midway through the league slate, Middleton has put itself in position to win a conference title.

The Cardinals defeated Verona, 2-0, last Tuesday. Middleton followed that with a 2-1 win over Madison Memorial last Saturday.

The Cardinals are now 5-1-3 overall and 3-0-1 in the league, just one-half game behind conference-leading Sun Prairie (4-0).
Middleton played extremely well against Verona, where Cami Malak and Tyler Wilson both had goals. Keeper Caroline Powers was also terrific in net and posted a shutout.

“The girls were on fire,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. “They played well, really well. They looked poised and dangerous. 

Fri
11
May
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Tennis Cards fourth at Nicolet Invite

Kalla Schaefer will play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Middleton’s boys’ tennis coach avoids no one — ever. And while there may be some short-term pain, there’s undoubtedly long-term gains.

The Cardinals traveled to the Nicolet Invite last weekend, went 2-2 overall and finished fourth. The tournament included several of the state’s top teams and Middleton showed it’s capable of playing with almost all of them.

“It is good for us to have the opportunity to play in this tournament that has the top teams in the state,” said Schaefer, whose team is ranked No. 6 in the latest poll. “We are in a strong conference and subsectional, so it's beneficial to be pushed before we start that portion of the season, coming up in a week and a half.”

Middleton opened with an impressive 5-2 win over Nicolet. That marked the second time this year the Cardinals toppled the third-ranked Knights.

Fri
11
May
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Softball Cards enter busy stretch

Amazingly, the WIAA Division 1 softball postseason starts on May 23.

And over the next two weeks, Middleton will have plenty of chances to fix whatever ails it.

The Cardinals play 11 games in 11 days — more than most major league baseball teams play. And Middleton is hoping that stretch will help it prepare for the playoffs.

“Eleven games in two weeks is a pretty daunting schedule,” Middleton coach Perry Hibner said. “But we're are hopeful this will give us an opportunity to continue to work on those small things — like running the bases effectively, hitting cutoffs, not giving teams extra outs and advancing runners — that really good teams do all of the time.”

Middleton is a long ways from being one of those “good teams” right now. But the Cardinals are taking baby steps.

Fri
04
May
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MHS golfers in a groove

Middleton’s boys golf team has jumped to No. 7 in the latest Wisconsin Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin poll.

And there’s a good reason for the Cardinals’ lofty perch. Middleton is playing some awfully good golf.

The Cardinals had a terrific week, highlighted by a first-place finish at the 10-team Singh Grewal Invite at River Run Golf Course in Sparta last Saturday. Middleton also finished in a tie for second place at 12-team Morgan Stanley Shooutout held at University Ridge last Thursday and took fifth at the 16-team Edgewood Invite held at Blackhawk Country Club on April 23.

In addition, the Cardinals won the Janesville Craig Triangular on April 24 and finished first at the Beloit Memorial Triangular Monday.

“The guys are getting there, but we have to really work at turning our doubles into bogeys,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “Teams that do that are the good teams in the state.”

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