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UW–Platteville athlete drives in game-winning run in Shullsburg/Benton's HTL playoff win
game winning hit
Shullsburg/Benton lead-off hitter Mitch Mclaughlin snuck a hard grounder under the glove of the Hollandale shortstop to drive in pinch runner Nolan Strang for the game-winning run in Sunday's dramatic 5–4 walkoff win in the second round of the Sunday Home Talent League playoffs.

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

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal

Mitch Mclaughlin, Shullsburg/Benton HTL baseball
UW–Platteville baseball player Mitch Mclaughlin drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning for a walk-off 5–4 win over Hollandale in a Home Talent League Sunday League Western Section semifinal playoff game held at Shullsburg's Badger Park on Sunday, Aug. 15. 

After giving up three runs in the top of the ninth inning to fall behind 4–2, the #5-seeded Fever struck for three runs of their own in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk away with a thrilling win.

The Fever started off the home half of the ninth with Pavlik reaching on an error, Justin Crotty earning a full-count walk and Hendrickson reaching on a well-placed bunt single to put the go-ahead runner on the base paths.

A sacrifice fly by Nathan Mowry plated Pavlik for the Fever’s first run of the ninth, then HTL veteran Jayson Haldiman drove a RBI-single to right to drive in pinch runner Austin Redfearn for the tying run and put runners on the corners.

After Haldiman stole second, Brooks Tiedeman was intentionally walked to load the bases with one down. With the Rockies infield drawn in to cut down the winning run at the plate, Fever lead-off hitter Mitch Mclaughlin snuck a hard grounder under the glove of the Rockies shortstop to drive in pinch runner Nolan Strang for the game-winning run.

Shullsburg/Benton (12-6 overall, 7-4 Sunday League) advances to the Western Section Championship Game for the first time in program history. The Fever will face top-seeded Belleville (10-1) at Belleville High School on Sunday, Aug. 22, at 1 p.m.

Sunday’s winner moves on to represent the Western Section in the 2021 HTL Final Four tournament, which begins on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Mclaughlin also went 3-for-4 with two runs driven in the Fever's 4–3 Home Talent League Night League playoff loss against Reedsburg at Wiota Park on Thursday, Aug. 12.

Josie Meister, So., Darlington girls golf
Sophomore Josie Meister took home medalist honors with her round of 48 to lead the Darlington Redbirds girls’ golf team to a first-place finish in their 2021 season-opening meet held at the Darlington Country Club on Friday, Aug. 13. Darlington carded a team score of 227 in the opener to earn the team title by 12 strokes over Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton (239).