WHITEHALL – Wisconsin Heights’ bats came alive for one inning and knocked Darlington out of the playoffs.
The Vanguards tallied five of their seven hits during a five-run uprising in the bottom of the third inning to snap a 1-1 tie and they rolled to an 8-1 victory over the Redbirds in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal game played at Whitehall High School on Tuesday, June 6.
“Outside of one inning, we played a great ball game. I was happy with our approach at the plate. We hit a lot of hard balls, but they just happened to be right at people,” said Darlington head coach Brad Solberg. “Heights did a nice job of hitting with two strikes. For never playing on a turf infield before I thought we adjusted nicely.”
The Vanguards (19-6 overall) grabbed a 1-0 lead on Riley Howard’s steal of home in the bottom of the first inning, but the Redbirds (16-8) answered right back with second baseman Nick Andrae singling home senior third baseman Hayden Hardyman to even the score.
Heights regained the lead in the third on Howard’s three-run triple to right field. Howard later scored on Tyler Flamme’s RBI-single, and then Peyton Flamme followed with a RBI-double to extend the Vanguard lead to 6-1.
The ‘Birds put just four runners on base over the final four innings, while the Vanguards tacked on two insurance runs in the fourth to open up an 8-1 advantage.
“(This) was a great season and year in general. They will look back on this season and be proud one day,” remarked Solberg.
Howard drove in three runs and scored twice in the game. Zach Watkins doubled, drove in a run and scored twice for Heights, who were defeated by Aquinas, 6-0, in Tuesday’s sectional championship game.
Tylan Parman and Austin Wolfe combined on a four-hitter for the Vanguards with Parman picking up the win after working five innings and allowing a run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Senior Jesse Sturtz (6-2) took the loss for the Redbirds, yielding six runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks over five and a third innings. He finished with four Ks.
Playing in their final game for Darlington on Tuesday’s sectional were seniors Austin Burbach, Christian Carr, Ryan Glendenning, Chad Golackson, Hayden Hardyman, Jarret Lancaster, Brayden McDonald, Charlie Morrone, Will Schwartz, Josh Soper and Jesse Sturtz.
“I can’t thank the seniors enough for what the represent. They will be missed but I’m confident younger kids watched the way they did things, and Darlington will be a better place because of them,” declared Solberg.
“While we had a great group of seniors, our underclassman deserve a lot of credit. They bought into their roles and performed at a high level when needed. We don’t have this type of season without them.”
WIAA D3 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Darlington…. 010 000 0 – 1 4 2
Wisc Hts…… 105 200 x – 8 7 1
Leading Hitters: D– None. WH– Tyler Flamme 2x3. 3B- Riley Howard. 2B- Peyton Flamme, Zach Watkins.
WP- Tylan Parman. LP- Jesse Sturtz.
At Whitehall, on Tuesday, June 6