Sports

Fri
04
May
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Baseball Cards survive busy week

Four conference games in five days can test a high school baseball team, especially playing in the ultra-competitive Big Eight Conference.

That was the case for the Middleton Cardinals last week, as a slew of snow and rain-outs to start the year has led to a schedule with very few days off.

Middleton capped off its jam-packed week of Big Eight opponents in a strong way on Friday, as it used an eight-run fifth inning to cruise past host Madison Memorial, 11-1, in five innings. 

Middleton went 3-1 in the conference during the week, beating top-ranked Janesville Craig and splitting two games with Verona. They also split a non-conference doubleheader wiuth visiting Bay Port Saturday.

Fri
04
May
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Tennis Cardinals continue to shine

They could have sulked. They could have pouted.

Instead, they bounced back in impressive fashion.

Middleton’s boys tennis team fell to Verona, 5-2, in a critical Big Eight Conference meet last Thursday. Instead of moping, though, the Cardinals came back and went 3-0 last weekend at the Verona Invitational.

Middleton is now ranked No. 4 in the latest WIAA Division 1 poll.

“The team rebounded quickly and came together for the weekend,” Middleton coach Kalla Schaefer. “Many coaches have been saying how close so many Wisconsin teams are. A lot of wins come down to players gritting it out or keeping their composure in close matches. It makes for a suspenseful and exciting season.”

Here’s a recap of Middleton’s extremely busy week:

• Middleton 7, Janesville Craig 0 — The Cardinals rolled past the visiting Cougars last Tuesday.

Thu
03
May
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Soccer Cardinals jump up to No. 5

The Big Eight promises to be one of deepest, most competitive girls soccer conferences in the state this season. And Middleton survived a tough stretch of games last week.

The Cardinals defeated rival Madison West, 1-0, last Tuesday. Middleton also tied Janesville Craig, 2-2, last Thursday.

The Cardinals then played three games at the Tournament of Champions in Burlington, Iowa last weekend, going 0-1-2 in those.

Middleton is now 3-1-3 and ranked No. 5 in the state.

Middleton’s win over Madison West was definitely the highlight of the week. Lexi Schultz scored in the 31st minute on an assist from Tyler Wilson for the game’s only goal.

“This game is always a tough game because of our past histories of knocking each other out of the postseason,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. “And this game didn’t disappoint the crowd looking for a good game of soccer.

Thu
26
Apr
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Softball Cards sweep Madison East

MADISON — They had spent far too much time in a gymnasium when they longed to be outside.

They did everything possible to keep things fresh, but at the end of the day, the options are limited.

So when Middleton’s girls’ softball team arrived at Madison College for a doubleheader with Madison East last Saturday, the Cardinals felt like it was Christmas morning. Looking at the snow on the outside of the gorgeous turf field made it feel even more like the holidays.

“Oh my goodness, this felt so good,” Middleton senior first baseman and Belmont recruit Jessica Parente said. “I was so happy to get outside.”

It showed.

The Cardinals erupted for 11 runs in the first two innings and steamrolled the Purgolders, 12-2, in the first game. Middleton then rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the second game and posted a thrilling 5-4 victory.

The Cardinals improved to 3-2 overall and in the Big Eight Conference.

Thu
26
Apr
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Baseball Cards knock Craig from lofty perch

Janesville Craig’s baseball team has won three consecutive Big Eight Conference titles — going a combined 49-5 in the league in that time.

Craig has gone to the state tournament two of the last three years, and won the WIAA Division 1 state title in 2015.

But Middleton took a big step Monday afternoon towards knocking the Cougars from their lofty perch.

Luke Ballweg drove home Alan Roden with the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning and the Cardinals notched an impressive 4-3 win at Craig. Derek Reisdorf worked two innings of hitless relief as Middleton improved to 2-1 in the Big Eight and 5-2 overall.

“Big win for our kids,” said Middleton manager Tom Schmitt, whose team also has a huge road win against Sun Prairie to its credit. “Two big wins on the road to two teams that were picked ahead of us.”

Thu
26
Apr
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Tennis Cards win Madison Memorial Invite

The doubles teams didn't lose a match all weekend.

Parker Roberts played hero in the title match.

And Middleton’s boys tennis team won the championship of the Madison Memorial tournament held last Friday and Saturday at a handful of courts throughout Dane County. The Cardinals defeated Green Bay Southwest, 4-3, in the championship match last Saturday.

“The players brought a lot of energy this weekend and stepped up at critical moments,” Middleton coach Kalla Schaefer said. “It was a very solid weekend of tennis for the Cardinals.”

There were several highlights during a memorable weekend for Middleton.

Sam Dettman and Rafael Sanga went a perfect 4-0 at No. 1 doubles. The No. 2 doubles pair of Adam Schiebler and Brandon Bodak and the No. 3 team of Gene Kim and Alton Yan also went 4-0.

Thu
26
Apr
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MHS' girls' soccer team starts strong

Middleton’s girls’ soccer team has great expectations this spring.

Last weekend, the Cardinals showed exactly why by shutting out a pair of opponents.

Middleton blanked Oshkosh West, 2-0, last Friday. The Cardinals then rolled past Wauwatosa West, 4-0, last Saturday.

The two games were the first of Middleton’s season after it had five games postponed due to weather. The Cardinals improved to 2-0 and jumped to No. 5 in this week’s Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Division 1 poll.

“We were very excited to finally get the chance to play someone other than ourselves in a scrimmage,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. “It was a long overdue game after five cancellations. 

“I think that the only nerves we had going into the game were because we had not played a game yet. But nerves quickly dissipated when that whistle blew to start the game. 

Thu
19
Apr
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'Strike Out Cancer' game a hit

For the fifth consecutive year, Big Eight Conference rivals Middleton and Sun Prairie faced off for their “Cardinals Strike Out Cancer” baseball game in an effort to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Each year the teams have raised more than $10,000 to benefit the American Family Children’s Hospital.

The chilly temperatures did not stop fans from coming out in droves last Thursday to Middleton to support the cause again this year, as the teams, sponsors, and fans raised in excess of $10,000 once again.

Cancer survivor Matt Esser, who is currently a junior in the MIddleton baseball program, threw out the first pitch for Middleton. Eighteen-month old Rylee Payne, who is currently battling neuroblastoma, threw out the first pitch along with her parents Kate and Tyler Payne. Each team also had a bat-kid representative, with kindergartener Ilya Levchenko representing Middleton and second-grader Olivia Diaz representing Sun Prairie.

Wed
11
Apr
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Lousy spring has teams yelling “No más”

In 1980, when boxing still mattered to much of the nation, Roberto Durán was the welterweight champion of the world.

During a memorable title fight against Sugar Ray Leonard held at the Louisiana Superdome, Leonard put on a show with his remarkable speed and movement and dominated Duran. In the closing moments of the eighth round, Duran turned to referee Octavio Meyran and said, “No más.”

In Spanish that means, “no more.”

Today, coaches throughout the state are looking outside or staring up at the sky and yelling, “No más” themselves.

Spring sports in Wisconsin are always tricky with cold temperatures, nasty winds and lousy field conditions. But a winter that simply will not end — and dumped more snow on the area last week — has made things far tougher than usual.

And coaches everywhere are throwing their hands up in frustration and begging Mother Nature to back off.

Wed
11
Apr
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Middleton golfers gifted, but inexperienced

If there was ever a team that needed every minute of available practice time, it was the 2018 Middleton boys’ golf team.

The Cardinals return just one proven golfer from a year ago in senior Andy Zucker. Middleton has three seniors to replace and at least eight candidates that will be fighting for open positions.

But Mother Nature chose not to cooperate. And over the first week-and-a-half, Middleton’s golfers made it outside just once.

“We’re going to be good with our rules,” Cardinals coach Tom Cabalka quipped.

Now, Cabalka’s Cardinals will try becoming on the course, as well.

Like every other school in Wisconsin, the never-ending winter wreaked havoc with the start of Middleton’s season. The difference is with a young and unproven roster, Middleton needed the early practice rounds far more than a veteran team with an established lineup.

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