GAME OF THE WEEK (April 14–20)
BASEBALL: Riverdale (0–2, 0–0 SWAL) at Darlington (4–1, 2–0 SWAL), Tuesday, April 19, 4:30 p.m.
The defending Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League champion Redbirds will host Riverdale in an early-season SWAL showdown Tuesday afternoon in the McDonald’s swnews4u.com Game of the Week.
Darlington in off to a quick start in conference play after a 9–1 victory at Boscobel on April 4 and a 6–3 home win over Cuba City on Tuesday. Coach Brad Solberg’s club has visions of defending its title, but is expected to face stiff competition from Riverdale, as well as Fennimore. The Redbirds went 15–6 a year ago and won last year’s SWAL title going 13–1 in league play. The Chieftains finished 20–7 overall and tied Fennimore for second place in the conference at 10–4.
Darlington senior Jesse Sturtz went 2-for-2 with four runs batted in and three runs scored in Darlington’s 18–6 non-conference victory over Argyle on Saturday. He followed that up a run scored, a sacrifice fly and a game-ending double play to lead the Redbirds to a 3–2 win over Dodgeville in the second game of Saturday’s Luke Wiegel Memorial Baseball Day. Strutz caught a fly ball in right field for the second out of the seventh inning then threw a strike to the plate to cut down the potential game-tying run and end the game.
Riverdale is off to an 0–2 start this year, dropping non-conference games to Wisconsin Heights, 8–7, last Friday before falling to Dodgeville 6–0 on Tuesday.
Fennimore (4–1, 0–1 SWAL) at Southwestern (4–1, 2–0 SWAL), Tuesday, April 19, 4:30 p.m.
The Golden Eagles opened the year 4–0 behind the pitching of Nick Henkel, Chris Andrews and Trey Hunt, winning back-to-back 2–1 non-conference decisions over Cassville and Belmont, but Iowa–Grant stunned Coach Brent Sheckler’s club Tuesday night 3–2. The Eagles, who have high hopes of contending for a SWAL title and making a run at sectionals this spring, will look to bounce back today at Southwestern. The Wildcats finally opened the season Tuesday with a 10–7 loss at Mineral Point.
Belmont (4–2, 1–0 SRC) at Potosi (1–1, 0–1 SRC), Monday, April 18, 5 p.m.
Six Rivers West rivals meet for the first time in 2016 Monday afternoon. The Braves and Chieftains have been fierce conference rivals for the past two decades often battling for conference and regional titles, but lately Belmont has had the upper hand. Coach Jeff Hodgson’s Braves swept the Chieftains a year ago en route to the Six Rivers West crown. Belmont is off to a 4–2 start, including a 12–1 five-inning victory over Shullsburg/Benton to open conference play on Monday.
Iowa–Grant (3–0, 2–0 SWAL) at Cuba City (2–2, 1–1 SWAL), Monday, April 18, 5 p.m.
The Panthers are off to a 2–0 start in SWAL play but had to hold off late rallies in wins over Southwestern, 9–8 on April 1, and Riverdale, 8–6 last Thursday. Coach Deanna Fulton’s team won the SWAL crown in 2014 and finished second a year ago behind, Cuba City. The Cubans and reigning SWAL Player of the Year Emily Wiederholt are already 1–1 in conference play after a 5–1 loss at Southwestern on Monday. Cuba City was no-hit by River Valley senior sensation Kylie Hoffman Tuesday afternoon. Monday’s SWAL showdown and Cuba City could give the Panthers a leg up on the rest of the league, or further muddy what figures to be a crowded race for the conference title.
TRACK & FIELD:
Lancaster Invitational, Thursday, April 14, 4:30 p.m.
The Arrows will host their annual Invitational this afternoon in the first truly nice weather day of the spring. Area teams that will take part include: Belmont, Boscobel, Cuba City, De Soto, Fennimore, Lancaster, Platteville, Prairie du Chien, River Valley, Southwestern and Viroqua.
Prairie du Chien Relays, Monday, April 18, 4:15 p.m.
Just four days after the Lancaster Invitational, many of the same teams will reconvene in Prairie du Chien for the annual Prairie du Chien Relays. Area teams that will take part include: Belmont, Boscobel, Cuba City, Dodgeville, Fennimore, La Crosse Central, Lancaster, Platteville, Potosi, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center, River Valley, Viroqua and Westby.