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Belmont ace pitches Braves to 4 wins in 4 days to clinch SRW title
Junior Sadie Willborn pitched the Braves to four conference wins in four days, striking out 34 batters and allowing just two earned runs in 24 innings to lead Belmont to a third straight Six Rivers West title.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.

Sadie Willborn, Jr., Belmont softball

     Belmont junior pitcher Sadie Willborn won four games in four days and allowed just two earned runs in 24 innings to help the Braves clinch a third straight Six Rivers Conference title. Willborn struck out five in a five-inning one hit shutout as the Braves (19–5, 12–2 SRC) opened the week with a 12–0 five-inning victory last Monday, then held on for a 1–0 road victory at Potosi a day later. Willborn (20–4) struck out eight and allowed one walk in a three-hit shutout of the Chieftains. She then struck out 11 without issuing a walk and allowed just the one unearned run on two hits in the complete game 4–1 victory over second-place Highland on Wednesday and finished the week with a 10-strike out performance in a 13–2 five-inning victory over Pecatonica Thursday to clinch the conference title.   

 Willborn, who is 20–4 with a 1.27 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched this year, hyperextended her knee and tweaked her hamstring when she slipped on home plate scoring a run during the Belmont Tournament two Saturday’s ago. 

“I thought our season was all over two weekends ago when she went down, but thankfully Sadie was OK,” said Hodgson. “Then to come back and allow just two earned runs in 24 innings over four games in four days just speaks to how much work she has been put in and what level she is at. She has been our workhorse all season. She did this all with a strained hamstring and a strained medal collateral tournament. We are really proud of what she’s done all season.”



HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):

Jacob Berendes, Jr., Shullsburg/Benton baseball

     Berendes tossed a three-hit shutout and struck out 12 batters to lead Shullsburg/Benton (17–2, 13–0 SRC) to a 5–0 win over visiting Belmont last Thursday at Benton’s Swift Park as the co-op clinched the outright Six Rivers West title for the second straight season. Serenades went 5-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI in a 9–1 victory at Potosi last Tuesday afternoon. He also knocked in three runs in a 17–1 five-inning win over Black Hawk last Friday.


Grant Jochum, Jr., Southwestern baseball

     Jochum tossed a pair of gems last week to lead the Wildcats (10–7, 9–5) to a pair of SWAL victories over Boscobel and third-place Riverdale. Bochum struck out eight and only allowed two hits in six innings to lead the Wildcats to an 8–0 win at Boscobel last Tuesday. He then came back and struck out eight in a one-hit shutout of visiting Riverdale on Friday. The Chieftains had won 10 of their past 11 games entering the contest.


Emma Lawrence, Sr., Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg girls track and field

     Lawrence won four individual titles Monday at the WIAA Division 3 Cuba City Regional, winning the 200 (26.4), triple jump (35’11”), 100 hurdles (15.41) and the 300 hurdles (45.79) to advance to this afternoon’s D3 Bangor Sectional and help the Zephyrs run away with the girls’ regional team title.


Cole Needham, Sr., Fennimore golf

     Needham shot a 6-over-par 76 to share medalist honors at Tuesday’s WIAA Division 3 Mineral Point Regional and earn an individual berth in the upcoming WIAA D3 New Glares Sectional. Need ham shot and 82 at last week’s SWAL Conference meet to tie for fourth and earned first-team All-SWAL honors by finishing third in the final individual SWAL standings with 320 points.


Madison Rizner, Sr., Richland Center girls track and field

     Rizner won triple jump (36’4.75”) and was on he winning 4x100 relay (53.46) and finished second in the high jump (4’10”) and long jump (16’2”) at Monday’s WIAA Division 2 Richalnd Center Regional to qualify for sectionals in all three events. Rizner won conference titles in the triple jump (37’0” new conference record), high jump (5’1”) and the 4x100 relay (53.15), and finished second in the long jump (16’8”) to score 28 team points at last Thursday’s Southwest Wisconsin Conference meet at Dodgeville.


Mckenzie Vaassen, Sr., Cuba City girls track and field

     Vaessen won gold medals at Monday’s at the WIAA Division 3 Cuba City Regional, winning the 100 (12.95), long jump (16’2.5”), 4x100 (52.58) and 4x200 (1:51.39) relays to advance to the D3 Bangor Sectional this afternoon.


Zach White, Sr., Platteville golf

     White shot a 6-over-par 78, one of his best rounds of the season, to share medalist honors with teammate Cade Rohrbach at Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 Prairie du Chien Regional. White shot an 89 at the SWC Conference Meet at the Reedsburg Country Club a week earlier and finished tied for fifth in the final SWC individual standings to earn first-team All-SWC honors.