GAME OF THE WEEK (April 7–13)
Mother Nature hasn’t been much better in the past week with rain, snow flurries and more temperatures in the 30s. After a decent day Thursday when most area games were played as scheduled, most of Friday and Saturday events have already been postponed furthering headaches for area schedules makers. The forecast for Monday looks pretty good, sunny and 49 degrees, so hopefully spring baseball and softball can get into full swing. Here are a look at Monday’s area games of note.
BASEBALL: Belmont at Shullsburg/Benton (at Benton), Monday, April 11, 5 p.m.
The Braves and Shullsburg/Benton co-op tied for third-place in the Six Rivers West a year ago with 14–8 records in league play. The Miner–Zephyrs then ended Belmont’s season with a 6–4 victory in the WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinals before falling to SRW champion Highland 4–1 in a regional semifinal.
The two teams will open conference play Monday at Benton in this week’s McDonald’s Swnews4u.com Game of the Week, with both teams hoping to challenge Highland and 2014 runner-up Cassville for this year’s Six Rivers West crown.
Belmont will be led by senior ace Lane Kamps, a two-time first-team All-Six Rivers West pitcher. A year ago Kamps went 9–3 with 0.85 ERA, 148 strikeouts and 37 walks in 91 innings pitched. The Braves also have a pair of other talented pitchers in seniors Quinn Cushman and Raine Voigts. First-year head coach Alan Seabrooke, who coached for eight years at Valley Community School in Elgin, Iowa prior to coming to Belmont, will return seven seniors.
Coach Tim Strang and his Shullsburg/Benton team must replace three-time first-team all-conference catcher Brett Matye and 90 percent of its pitching state that was led by Wyatt Cook and Brant Gille, but the Miner–Zephyrs return junior first baseman/pitcher Hunter Matye and five other juniors, who all started as sophomores from last year’s 15–11 team.
Belmont at Shullsburg/Benton, Monday, April 11, 5 p.m.
The defending Six Rivers West champion Braves are off to an uneven 2–2 start after blowing a 10–4 seventh inning led to Platteville on Thursday night in an 11–10 non-conference loss. Reigning SRW Co-Player of the Year junior Paige Nolan hit a grand slam to lead Belmont to a 16–5 win over Fennimore last Thursday. Nolan hit .392 with nine home runs and a team-high 44 RBIs as a sophomore and went 21–8 with a 2.66 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 192 innings a year ago.
Coach Jeff Hodgson and the Braves look to open conference play with a win over the Zephy-Miners, who finished 5–21 a year ago.
Mineral Point at Platteville, Monday, April 11, 5 p.m.
The Hillmen are off to a 2–0 start under new coach Becca Lowe and riding high after scoring seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to stun host Belmont 11–10 in a non-conference game Thursday night. Seniors Sierra Brecke (5-10, 2 HR, 5 RBI) and Claire Tashner (5-10, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R) are both off to good starts for the red-hot Hillmen, who have scored 37 runs in their first two games. Platteville hammered Galena 26–1 to open the season on Monday. Mineral Point went 15–9 overall and 10–4 in the SWAL to finish third a year ago. The Pointers are off to a 2–0 start this year with wins over Darlington, 7–3, on Thursday and Highland, 5–3, on Monday.
TRACK & FIELD:
Richard Glendenning Green-Lafayette County Invitational, Monday, April 11, 4 p.m.
Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg, Belmont and Potosi will be among the area track teams that will travel to Monroe on Monday to open the outdoor track season. The Benton tri-op has dominated the Six Rivers Conference in recent years, sweeping the boys and girls conference titles each of the past two years.
Potosi fielded a track team this year for the first time since the co-op with Lancaster ended following the 2003 season. The Chieftains were part of the Lancaster track program for eight years (1996–2003), helping the Arrows win the 1998 Division 2 boys state championship. Former Platteville High School runner Jake Reuter is Potosi’s head coach.
Other area teams that will take part in Monday’s Monroe Invitational include: Black Hawk, Monticello, Pecatonica, Darlington, Albany, Sugar River and host Monroe.