Sports

Thu
28
Apr
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Softball Cards fall to Sun Prairie

SUN PRAIRIE – It doesn’t matter how you start, but rather how you finish.

That is one lesson the youthful Middleton Cardinals’ softball team learned the hard way last week.

After rallying for a victory over visiting Janesville Parker on April 19, Middleton couldn’t stop a powerful Sun Prairie offense from taking charge.

Host Sun Prairie stormed back from an early five-run deficit to earn a 15-5 victory over Middleton in a game that was called in the bottom of the sixth inning on the mercy rule. 

“I was happy with the way we were swinging the bats,” Middleton coach Brittany Carl said. “It was a little bit of a slow start in the first and second. But in the third they were aggressive and doing their job at the plate, battling off two-strike pitches. At the end, we kind of petered out.”

Middleton (5-3 overall, 4-1 Big Eight) struck for five runs in the top of the third inning to grab a 5-0 lead.

Thu
28
Apr
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Golfers searching for consistency

Middleton’s boys golf team began the season ranked No. 1 in the state.

The start of the season has proven two things, though.

First, the Cardinals can certainly play up to that lofty ranking. Second, there are plenty of good teams across the state capable of knocking off the Cardinals from their lofty perch.

Last week was proof of that.

Middleton shot a sensational 298 at a Big Eight Conference triangular held at Bishop’s Bay on April 19. The Cardinals then finished sixth at 42-team Sheboygan North Invite held April 20 and 21 at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits.

“What we do from now on matters,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “How much they want to get better is up to each player. We have struggled getting five players to score well in the same round. To be a quality team in June, we have to have good consistent play from all five players.”

Thu
28
Apr
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Tennis Cards still unbeaten

Middleton’s boys tennis team stayed atop of the Big Eight Conference after notching a pair of wins last week.

The Cardinals defeated Madison Memorial, 6-1, on April 19. Middleton then toppled Madison West, 6-1, on April 21.

The Cardinals improved to 4-0 in the Big Eight and 9-0 overall.

“I’m really happy with the way we’ve started the season off,” Middleton coach Tony Mirasola said. “I’d say I’m happiest with our level of intensity and effort in the big matches. We certainly have lots of opportunities to improve, but it’s been a promising start.”

Here’s a recap of Middleton’s two wins:

• Middleton 6, Madison Memorial 1 — The Cardinals won all four singles matches and cruised past the Spartans.

Thu
28
Apr
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Soccer Cards split a pair

You can say this for Mary Duffy and Middleton’s girls soccer team.

They don’t hide from anyone.

One week after playing DSHA — the WIAA Division 1 defending state champs — the Cardinals battled Oregon, the top team in Wisconsin.

And much like Middleton’s game against the Dashers, the Cardinals discovered they can play with anyone.

Middleton battled the mighty Panthers throughout, but dropped a 1-0 decision on April 19. The Cardinals then defeated Madison East, 3-0, on April 21.

Middleton is now 2-2-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Eight Conference.

“We battled throughout the game,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said of the Oregon game. “Within our first five games, we know we can battle it out with anyone and give ourselves a chance for the win.

Thu
28
Apr
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Girls track team cruises past Regents

The lousy weather has made for a brutal spring.

And for track and field teams everywhere, they’re suddenly up against the gun.

That’s because track has the earliest postseason and state tournament. So track teams have just a few more weeks to round into shape before the postseason arrives.

Middleton took a good step in that direction with a 102-30 win over visiting Madison West on April 19.

“Overall it was a great meet with some good races and competition,” Middleton coach Jay Schweitzer said.

Elle Seager had a big day, winning the 100 high hurdles (18.34) and the 300 long hurdles (52.32). Maddy VanderSanden was also a double winner, with a first place finish and a personal-best mark in the shot put (36-9 ¼) and a first place showing in the discus (96-6).

Jessica Bristol also won a pair of events, the 400-meter run (1:05.84) and the long jump (15-3).

“Jessica Bristol had another solid meet,” Schweitzer said,

Thu
28
Apr
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Boys track team rolls past West

Middleton’s boys track and field team will have just two home meets this season.

The Cardinals — who always like to shine on their home field — hosted their first meet of the season on April 19. And Middleton made the most of it.

The Cardinals dominated the jumps and the throws and defeated Madison West, 88-49.

“It was great to be at home for the first time this season,” Middleton coach Chad Kliefoth said. “The excitement level was high and the kids had put in the work to be ready for this meet. 

“That work paid off in the results and with a number of PR's in this meet. These kids continue to raise the bar each and every meet and that is what we — the coaches — keep asking for.”

Middleton got first place finishes from the following individuals:

• Sam Pilof in the 100-meter dash (11.06 seconds).

• Finn Patenaude in the 300-meter hurdles (42.46).

• Harper Fahey in the 800-meter run (2:02.77).

Thu
21
Apr
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Softball Cards hold off Verona

Big-time players make big-time plays in big games.

Middleton senior third baseman Bailey Flock brought that adage to life in leading the Cardinals to a key early-season prep softball victory over perennial Big Eight Conference power Verona on April 12 at Orchid Heights Park.

With a runner at third and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, and the host Cardinals clinging to a two-run lead, Flock made the defensive play of the game.

Flock made a diving stop to her right and gunned a throw from her knees to first base to retire clean-up hitter Ellie Osting for the final out and preserve a 5-3 victory over Verona.

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

“You’ve got some of these kids on defense who are just gritty,” Middleton head coach Brittany Carl said. “They will do what it takes to support (freshman pitcher) Megan (Button).

Thu
21
Apr
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Girls soccer team puts scare into DSHA

They faced the best.

And Middleton’s girls soccer team left understanding that they can certainly play with the best.

The Cardinals traveled to DSHA — the defending WIAA Division 1 state champs — on April 12. And while the Dashers prevailed, 2-1, Middleton discovered that it can play with anyone in the state.

“The coaching staff and I are so proud of the team for the fighting spirit they have and the way they battled,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. 

The game was played in heavy winds and the Dashers had the wind at their back in the first half. DSHA took full advantage, scoring goals in the 25th and 35th minutes to take a 2-0 lead.

When the teams switched sides at halftime, though, Middleton looked like a different team in the next 40 minutes.

“With a switch at half came a switch in the wind, a switch in our play and a switch in our mentality,” Duffy said. “We came out with renewed vigor and tenacity.”

Thu
21
Apr
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Golfers second at Big 8-Badger Challenge

Stellar scores will eventually come from everyone.

Tom Cabalka is certain of that.

For now, Cabalka — Middleton’s boys golf coach — will take what he can get and cross his fingers that spring eventually arrives.

The Cardinals finished in second place at the Badger-Big Eight Conference Challenge held at Bishop’s Bay on April 11. Waunakee won the event with a 304, while Middleton shot 306 and both Madison Edgewood and Milton shot 323.

Cabalka was OK with Middleton’s number when you consider the brutal spring weather has dramatically limited the Cardinals’ ability to play outside.

“We, along with every other team in the state, need some good weather to practice and improve,” Cabalka said. “What I really like about this group is that they really do love the game. It appears that they have a great passion to practice and work to improve.”

Despite limited rounds, Middleton got terrific days from sophomores Dain Johnson and Charlie Jambor.

Thu
21
Apr
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Track teams start strong

The wait seemed endless at times.

But when Middleton’s track and field teams finally made their debut on April 12, they made sure it was a memorable unveiling.

Middleton’s boys defeated Janesville Craig, 75-56. The Cardinals’ girls toppled the Cougars, 87-49.

“This meet is always an opportunity for our athletes to put their hard work to the test,” boys coach Chad Kliefoth said. “It is also an opportunity to get a feel for competition speed, learn the flow of the meet, and get the jitters out. The weather wasn't amazing, but our athletes showed up and gave us some really good performances to set some solid marks to work from.”

Middleton’s Finn Patenaude won the 400-meter dash in 55.55 and the 110-meter high hurdles (16.68). Harper Fahey won the 800 in 2:05.08 and Parker Worden won the 1,600 (4:59.62).

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