Sports

Thu
25
Apr
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Softball Cardinals win a pair

A trip through the Big Eight softball schedule is quite similar to a journey through the Big Ten’s men’s basketball slate.

The depth of the league is daunting. There aren’t any off nights. And if you can hold your own, great things could await.

Middleton’s softball team continues to hang tough and got itself back on track with a pair of impressive wins last week.

The Cardinals defeated host Janesville Parker, 11-4, on April 15. Middleton then edged visiting Janesville Craig, 3-2, on April 16.

The Cardinals also fell to Sun Prairie on April 18 and are now 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the league.

“Those were two good wins,” Middleton manager Perry Hibner said. “Craig and Parker are solid teams.

“All three of us, along with Madison Memorial, are probably just below Verona, Sun Prairie and Beloit Memorial. We did a pretty good job in each game in every phase of the game.”

Here’s a recap of the Cardinals’ two wins.

Thu
25
Apr
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Big 8 will have eight teams for football

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control passed a statewide football-only conference realignment proposal on April 17.

That means Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker will exit the Big Eight Conference in 2020. Those two schools will become part of the Badger Large Conference, and the Big Eight will again have a true eight teams.

“I’ve been under the assumption for like a year now it would pass,” Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn said. “Everybody was planning for it, expecting it.”

The Board unanimously approved its final consideration of the football-only conference proposal crafted by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association. First approval of the plan was granted by the Board with a 9-2 vote at its meeting in March.

Fri
19
Apr
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Top-ranked girls soccer team far from content

Mary Duffy hasn’t heard a peep about it from her team.

Duffy, Middleton’s girls soccer coach, isn’t sure if her Cardinals know they’re ranked No. 1 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll. And really, Duffy doesn’t care.

While the honor is a nice one for Duffy and the Cardinals, they all know what truly matters is who’s No. 1 in June.

“Maybe they know they are ranked No. 1, but that hasn't been a focus or even a whisper at practice,” Duffy said. “These girls don't care if they are No. 1 now. What they want is the chance to play for No. 1 at the end. In fact, they just want to play.”

That didn't happen last week.

Middleton was scheduled to play defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Bay Port and Appleton North in a tournament at the Woodside Complex in Wisconsin Dells. Instead, the tournament was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Fri
19
Apr
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Softball Cards staying positive

Discouraged? Downcast? Dispirited?

Hardly.

Middleton’s girls softball team dropped four straight games last week, pushing its overall losing streak to five. However, Cardinals’ manager Perry Hibner certainly saw some positives after his team lost to Verona and Beloit Memorial in Big Eight Conference play before falling to perennial power Stevens Point in a doubleheader last Saturday in Poynette.

“We competed pretty well in all four games,” Hibner said. “The girls also realized just what it takes if we want to play with the top teams in our conference and the state.

“We can't afford mental and physical lapses and we had a few in each game. These games reinforced what we have been saying, that if we stop giving teams extra outs with mistakes in the field and hit the ball where it is pitched we can play with anyone.”

Fri
19
Apr
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West edges baseball Cards

Baseball is — and always has — been about the little things.

Monday afternoon, Madison West did those little things and Middleton didn’t. The result was a 3-2 win for the Regents.

Middleton fell to 3-2 in the Big Eight Conference and 4-2 overall. West improved to 3-0, 4-1.

“The game is about little things and you have to make sure you’re focusing on them every day,” Middleton manager Brent Jorgensen said. “You never know when they’re going to come into play for you.”

They came into play throughout this contest, played on a brutally cold day with heavy wind gusts. West made the most of its opportunities throughout and scored the game-winning run in the seventh inning.

The teams had been deadlocked, 2-2, since the second inning when West’s John Frehner led off the seventh with a single. Max Hanson laid down a bunt, and Middleton relief pitcher Ben Collier bobbled the ball for an error, allowing both runners to reach base.

Thu
11
Apr
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Middleton golfers mining for gold

The 2018 boys golf season had been over for about 10 minutes.

Middleton’s Kip Sullivan stood near the 18th green at University Ridge last June where his Cardinals had just finished sixth at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. Sullivan then fired off a warning shot for 2019.

“We want to be the team to beat,” Sullivan said. “That’s the way we look at it.”

And that’s what the Cardinals are now intent on proving.

Middleton brought back four of its top five golfers from a year ago. And the Cardinals proved at the season-opening Wisconsin Dells Invite they just might be the team to beat in 2019.

Middleton fired a 433 to easily win the 27-hole tournament that included nine holes at Trappers Turn last Friday and 18 holes at Coldwater Canyon last Saturday. Holmen and Waunakee tied for second at 460, while Mount Horeb (472) and Marshfield (497) rounded out the top five.

Thu
11
Apr
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Tennis Cardinals aiming for big season

So much with Middleton’s boys tennis program is new this season.

The Cardinals will be led by first-year coach Tony Mirasola.

Middleton will have several freshmen and newcomers scattered throughout its lineup.

In the midst of all the change, though, one thing figures to remain the same: success.

Middleton, which has been to the WIAA Division 1 state team meet seven times since 2009, figures to be strong once again.

“We certainly expect to be right up at the top of the conference,” Mirasola said. “We have one of the toughest conferences in the state, but I would expect us to finish in the top two or three this year. It will really depend on how the young players respond.”

Middleton appears to be in good hands with the youthful and energetic Mirasola.

Thu
11
Apr
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Girls soccer team vaults to No. 1

Mary Duffy has seen it night after night.

Whether it’s indoors or outside, in lousy weather or under sunny skies, Middleton’s girls soccer team has brought an extremely high intensity level each night at practice.

And Duffy — the Cardinals’ head coach — had a terrific feeling about the results that might yield.

“I saw this intensity … and was excited about the prospect of what they could do on the field,” Duffy said of her team.

Indeed, the Cardinals played like they practiced when they kicked off their season last week.

Middleton defeated Oconomowoc, 3-2, in a game played at Madison College last Friday. The Cardinals then routed Hudson, 5-1, last Saturday at Madison College.

The wins helped Middleton jump into the No. 1 spot in the  latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association’s Division 1 poll. 

Thu
11
Apr
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Softball Cardinals enjoy a big week

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.”

Thu
11
Apr
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Middleton sweeps Madison East

They are young.

They are inexperienced.

But apparently, they are also pretty darn talented.

Middleton’s baseball team kicked off its Big Eight Conference season with a pair of wins over Madison East last week.

The Cardinals downed the visiting Purgolders, 6-0, last Tuesday. Middleton then toppled East, 16-4, last Friday.

The Cardinals improved to 3-0 on the young season.

Overall, we did a nice job of manufacturing base runners and getting timely hits to extend our innings,” Middleton rookie manager Brent Jorgensen said. “We worked East's pitchers deep in counts and for the most part, we took advantage of their miscues. So far this season, our hitters have worked pitchers deep into counts, hit well with two strikes, and have attacked pitches in their preferred hitting zones.”

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