The Middleton Cardinals are a team on the rise after a slow start this year. However, this rise took a pause today when they hosted the Madison West Regents for a brunch game on this beautiful day for baseball. Jimmy Frusciante faced off against Eli Sorensen in a battle of two Southpaws from the class of 2018. Southpaw is a term for a left handed pitcher, and I believe it comes from the Latin “Sout” for left, and the Greek “hpaw” for handed pitcher. I could be wrong on that.
This was a game of contrast in terms of pitch control. Sorensen controlled the ball well, and Middleton did not. At all.
Eli walked one, and questionably hit another with a pitch….in the foot….or so goes the story.
Middleton walked 10. And hit two batsmen. Center/left fielder Austin Cotharn took a glancing blow off the dome, and catcher Drake Baldwin unquestionably took one off his foot. That was largely the story, as we scored 9 runs on 5 hits. They actually out hit us, but when you provide 12 free bases it can be a little tough to win.
But here is your blow-by-blow:
In the first, West scored 3. Cotharn started off with a groundout to second, then RF Tommy Hill, Drake, and DH Otto Treichel all walked…… Copycats. Donvan O’Flahrity was manning 3B today, and he followed Otto. During his at bat, Tommy Hill sprinted home on a passed ball, and Dono smashed a line drive single up the middle, scoring Drake. Eli Sorensen then hit a double over Liam Belleveau in center, and Otto scored. On the play, there was some question as to whether Belleveau would make the play, which caused O’Flarhity to ponder between first and second. He had to hold his ground in the event the play was made. Because of this he was a step behind his normal break-neck speed and was gunned down by Belleveau at third on a 7-5 put out. First baseman Owen Christenson joined the walk parade and second baseman John Frehner flew out to center. 3-0 West.
Middleton got one in the bottom of the first. Belleveau led off, and was called out on strikes. Joel Ticknor their SS followed with a hustle single to his counterpart, Nate Millmann. Dude has some wheels. Catcher Alan Roden followed with a fly to Colin Pulkrabek in left field. DH Zach Shipley (A former Mad City Bomber) followed with a double that scored Ticknor. Luke Ballweg the Cardinals right fielder flew out to his counterpart to end the inning.
In the top of the second, the Regents remained hungry as the game approached the noon hour. Nate Millmann walked, and Austin Cotharn took one off the top of the helmet. Each runner moved up an extra base when Frusciante balked. Tommy Hill had a jam sandwich that ended in a bloop fly out to shortstop for the first out. Drake followed Tommy with a toe-jam sandwich when he was struck by new pitcher Josh Stumpf with a pitch on the little piggy that went to market. Little did they know at the time that the other little piggy would indeed stay (or at least return to) home. FYI, there was no roast beef or wee-wee-weeing after this. Otto walked (a returning theme) and Donovan O’Flahrity singled in Cotharn. Sorensen grounded out 1-3 as their pitcher forgot about the potential for a home to first double play, instead choosing to throw directly to first, which allowed Drake to score. Owen Christensen grounded to short for the final out. 6-1 Regents after 1 1/2 innings.
In the Middleton second, thirdbaseman Nolan Kelliher grounded out to Millmann, first baseman Brady Schmitt reached on an error. Cardinals second baseman Ryan Land was caught looking. Cooper Holewinski then flew out to Cotharn in CF for the 3rd out. Still 6-1 Regents!
In the third, we again scored three. Three runs in each of our first 3 innings. I hope there are no Triskaphobics reading this. John Frehner led off with a ground out to short. Nate Millmann followed suit with a ground out to short. Austin Cotharn stroked a signature single to left center, and stole second a few pitches later. Tommy Hill then singled in Austin, going to second on the throw to the plate which was not close. Drake Baldwin walked again. That was it for Stumpf. Luke Ballweg moved from RF to pitch. He walked Otto, as that seemed to be the thing to do today, as this was his Otto’s third free pass. During this at bat, Tommy scored on a passed ball. Dono reached on an error on a ground ball to the first baseman that kaboinked off his chest or gut and all were safe. Drake scored on the kaboink. Eli walked. Owen C popped out to first for the final out. 9-1 Regents.
The Cardinals third was a 123. Belleveau popped foul to third, Ticknor flew out to right, and Roden grounded out 4-3.
The top of the fourth for West was used mostly for resting. John grounded out, Nate grounded out, and Austin flew out to left.
Middleton snuck one back in the bottom of the fourth. Shipley flew out to Hill in right, and pitcher Ballweg singled. Kelliher was apparently hit on the foot by a pitch from Eli and took first. Schmitt had a fielder choice next when Millmann fielded, flipped to Frehner who’s throw was wide of first. Because the double play can not be assumed there is no error on this play, although Ballweg did score. Land walked, and Holewinski took a seat after a called third strike. 9-2 Regents.
In the fifth, Tommy Hill struck out, Drake Baldwin reached on an error on one that went through the wickets of second baseman Land. Otto walked….again. For the fourth time. O’Flahrity flew to center, and Eli grounded out 4-3.
Middleton clawed for one more in the their half of the 5th. Belleveau led off with a double, that took a sideways hop on centerfielder Cotharn. Ticknor grounded out, and Roden flew out to right. Shipley singled to score Belleveau. Ballweg singled but was out on a fielder’s choice by Kelliher moments later. 9-3 West!
In the 6th, we went down quietly, other than when we griped a bit when Jens Shager was called out on a not so strike-like pitch. Hey, we are going to groan a bit on things like that. We remained in control and just jabbered a bit, which is part of the game.
The bottom of the 6th featured Eli shutting the door with a 1-2-3 inning late in the game.
We went down 1-2-3 as well in the top of the 7th, and Eli came in to pitch the bottom of the 7th. He got a strikeout from leadoff Belleveau, and walked Ticknor. Eli’s fuel gauge had hit the E point. He was spent. Gassed. Toasted. He gave way to Otto for the last 2 outs, which happened rather quickly. Within a few pitches Roden hit a dying quail to a diving O’Flahrity who deftly rose to his feet, pounded his chest a few times, and fired to first for the double play. Game Over.
Final score: Regents 9, Cardinals 3.