GAME OF THE WEEK (May 4–May 10)
PREP BASEBBALL: Darlington (5–4, 5–1 SWAL) at Fennimore (11–1, 6–1 SWAL, #3 in D3), Thursday, May 4, 7 p.m.
The Golden Eagles’ 11-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday afternoon with a 5–2 loss to Riverdale making tonight’s make-up game with Darlington the obvious choice for the McDonald’s SWnews4U.com Game of the Week.
The Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League showdown was rained out Tuesday and will be made up tonight at Fennimore at 7 p.m. with first place in the conference on the line. But first the surging Redbirds, who have won four of their past five games, will make a quick stop in Lancaster to play a non-conference game at 4 p.m. in a very rare, two-city, same day doubleheader.
Darlington improved to 5–1 in the SWAL with a 4–2 victory over visiting Iowa–Grant last Tuesday but has not played since due to the recent stretch of rain. Senior Jesse Sturtz struck out 10 and allowed just two runs on six hits in the complete game win.
The Golden Eagles climbed to third in Division 3 in the recent Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association poll on the strength of an 11-game winning streak to open the season, before last night’s hiccup. Junior third baseman Trevor Neuroth leads Fennimore in batting average (.543), hits (25), runs scored (19) and stolen bases (15) and is also 1–0 with a 21 strikeouts and a 3.29 ERA in 17 innings pitched. Senior Jordan Williams is batting .395 with one homer and 16 RBIs. Maguire Fitzgerald is the teams’s ace with a 3–1 record, 25 strikeouts, one save and a 1.56 ERA in 31 1/3 innings of work.
Neuroth pitched six strong innings striking out nine and allowing just one unearned run on one hit and five walks and Fitzgerald pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the save, leading Fennimore to a 2–1 victory at Darlington on April 4 in the first meeting between these two teams.
Fennimore head coach Brent Sheckler knows the importance of tonight’s game. “It’s should be fun. We have never played a night game before.”
This week’s other key games
Prairie du Chien (9–1, 4–0 SWC) at Platteville (9–5, 2–2 SWC), Thursday, May 5, 5 p.m.
The Hillmen are riding a five-game winnings steak after back-to-back dominating pitching performances from junior Garret Heer’s, but Thursday’s make-up game against the SWC-leading Blackhawks will be another challenge altogether. Heer tossed three-hit shutout in a 1–0 victory over Richland Center on Tuesday, April 25, then struck out nine and allowed just one run on four hits in six strong innings in Tuesday’s 5–1 win over Dodgeville. Prairie du Chien took over sole possession of first-place in the SWC with a 1–0 win over visiting River Valley (9–4, 4–1 SWC) on Tuesday. Platteville will then host Lancaster (7–4, 2–2) Friday before traveling to River Valley on Tuesday.
Shullsburg/Benton (8–3, 6–1 SRC, #9 in D4) at River Ridge (7–7, 5–3 SRC), Monday, May 8, 4:30 p.m.
Coach Troy Marshall’s Timberwolves are on fire. River Ridge is riding a five-game winning streak going into Friday’s Six Rivers crossover doubleheader with Argyle, but Monday’s showdown with Six Rivers West co-leader Shullsburg/Benton will show how far the improving T’wolves have come in three short weeks, or how far they still must go to be considered among the conference’s elite teams.
Juda/Albany (11–1, 8–0 SRC, #2 in D4) at Belmont (12–1, 7–0 SRC, #3 in D5), Thursday, May 4, 5 p.m.
The Six Rivers West Braves can inch closer to a third-straight conference title with a win over the Six Rivers East-leading Panthers. Juda/Albany, ranked second in Division 4, blasted Monticello 19–0 on Tuesday to improve to 8–0 in league play. Belmont easily handled Benton/Shullsburg 12–2 on Tuesday. Coach Jeff Hodgson's Braves will then travel to the Poynette Jamboree on Saturday before hosting second-place Highland (7–5, 5–2 SRC) in a another key Six Rivers Conference game on Monday.
Dodgeville (7–5, 4–2 SWC) at River Valley (10–4, 5–0 SWC), Thursday, May 4, 5 p.m.
Dodgeville blanked second-place Platteville 7–0 Tuesday afternoon and now has a shot to get in the race for this year’s Southwest Wisconsin Conference title with a win at league-leading River Valley this afternoon. The hard-hitting Blackhawks hammered Prairie du Chien 20–0 on Tuesday.
TRACK & FIELD:
River Valley Invitational, Friday, May 5, 4:15 p.m.
Participating teams include; Belmont, Boscobel, Cassville, Cuba City, Dodgeville/Mineral Point, Fennimore, Ithaca, Lancaster, North Crawford, Poynette, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center, River Ridge and River Valley.
Darlington Redbird Invitational, Monday, May 9, 4 p.m.
Participating teams include: Albany, Belmont, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg, Black Hawk, Cassville, Cuba City, Monroe, Pecatonica, Potosi and Tri-State Home School.
PREP GOLF: Platteville hosts SWC #6 (at Platteville Golf & CC), Tuesday, May 9, 4 p.m.
If the weather holds up Monday, Platteville will host the sixth and final regular season Southwest Wisconsin Conference meet. The Hillmen won the first three and held a four-point lead on second-place River Valley going into Thursday’s SWC #4 at Richland Center’s Quail Run Golf Course. Dodge–Point County Club will host a makeup SWC meet Monday. Platteville is building commanding lead, but must wait until Tuesday, May 16 to officially claim the SWC title at this year’s SWC Championship tournament.