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Birds bats come alive in win over Wildcats
DARLINGTON SECOND baseman Chloe Hinderman (#9) gets ready to tag out Cuba Citys Kayla Marti (#4) on a steal attempt in Fridays SWAL softball game.

    HAZEL GREEN – Darlington brought their bats with them to Hazel Green and knew just how to use them as they pounded out 17 hits, including six doubles, en route to a 16-10 SWAL softball victory over Southwestern on Thursday, April 25.
    The Lady Redbirds (4-4 overall, 2-3 in SWAL) exploded for seven runs in the top of the third inning to grab a 9-3 lead over the Wildcats, but the hosts plated seven unanswered runs over their next two at-bats to garner a 10-9 lead.
    Darlington regained the lead with three runs in the fifth, and then added four insurance runs in the seventh to put away the ‘Cats. The Redbirds’ fourth win doubles the team’s total wins from a year ago.
    Anna Fitzsimons was 4-for-5 with a double to spearhead the Redbird hit brigade. Brianna King went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Caitie Chiaverotti added three hits in four trips with a two-bagger as well.
    Chloe Hinderman and Cassidy Cox each had two hits with a double for the ‘Birds.
    At Cuba City, on Friday, April 26, the Redbirds plated a run in the top of the ninth inning to grab a 3-2 lead, but the hosts Cubans scored two runs on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth to rally for a thrilling 4-3 SWAL extra-inning decision.
    Each team scored a run in the first, but neither would score again over the next four-and-a-half innings.
    Darlington’s backs were on the ropes after the Cubans struck for a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab a 2-1 lead, but the Redbirds came right back with a run in the seventh to knot the score back up at 2-2.
    Cassidy Cox singled to open the rally in the seventh and scored when Cuba City’s left fielder allowed Mariah Wiegel’s single to get by her bringing Cox in all the way from first base.
    Redbird pitcher Jena Foulker worked her way around a lead-off double by the Cubans in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, and she also got out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout in the eighth to keep the ‘Birds hopes alive.
    Darlington pulled ahead in the ninth when Taylor Cox doubled in sister Cassidy, who reached on a one-out error, to make it 3-2.
    A one-out single by Hannah Loeffelholz sparked the Cubans’ rally in the ninth. Jen Brogley followed with a grounder to shortstop, but the Redbirds attempt to force the runner at second failed when the base umpire ruled the Darlington second baseman juggled the ball.
    Both runners moved into scoring position on a double steal; and then, with two out and two strikes on Tiffany Schauer, a pitch got by the Darlington catcher, allowing Loeffelholz to score the tying run and Brogley smartly followed her when a lazy throw to the plate got by the Redbird pitcher.
    Cuba City’s Chloe Pustina got the complete-game win after allowing one earned run on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Foulker took the tough loss after yielding four runs (two earned) on six hits with no walks and nine Ks.
    Chloe Hinderman tripled and scored in the first inning, while C. Cox scored twice for the ‘Birds.
    Darlington hosts Boscobel on Thursday, May 2, and has a make-up game with Riverdale on Friday, May 3. On Monday, May 6, the Redbirds head to Muscoda for another SWAL game against Riverdale. All three games are scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

Darlington…….. 027  030  4 – 16  17  6
Southwestern… 033  400  0 – 10    8  4
Leading hitters: Anna Fitzsimons 4x5, Caitie Chiaverotti 3x4, Brianna King 3x4, Chloe Hinderman 2x5, Cassidy Cox 2x6. 2B- Fitzsimons, Chiaverotti, Brianna King (2), Hinderman, C. Cox.
WP- Jena Foulker. LP- Batteram.

Darlington… 100  000  101 – 3  7  3
Cuba City…. 100  001  002 – 4  6  2
Leading hitters: 3B- Chloe Hinderman. 2B- Taylor Cox.
WP- Chloe Pustina. LP- Jena Foulker.