DARLINGTON – Runs have been tough to come by for the Darlington baseball team, who split a pair of low-scoring SWAL games and dropped a pair of tight games at the Luke Wiegel Memorial Tournament over the opening week of their season.
The Redbirds (1-3 overall, 1-1 SWAL) started off with a tough 2-1 loss to Fennimore in their opener at home on Tuesday, April 4, and then turned the tables by beating Cuba City, 2-1, at CCHS on Friday, April 7.
Senior third baseman Hayden Hardyman put the ‘Birds up 1-0 with a run-scoring ground out in the first inning, but the Golden Eagles struck back with a two-run by Jordan Williams in the top of the third inning and the guests made that lead hold up.
The Redbirds had only five base runners over the final six innings. Bailey McGuire’s lead-off single in the fourth inning was the team’s lone hit of the day.
Trevor Neuroth out-battled senior Jesse Sturtz (0-1) on the mound. Neuroth surrendered a lone unearned run on one hit and five walks with nine strikeouts over six innings to earn the win. Sturtz allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with five Ks over seven innings to take the tough loss.
The ‘Birds were involved in another barn-burner at Cuba City on Friday, but they were able to come out on top in this game thanks to Hardyman’s RBI-double in the third inning and senior Chad Golackson complete-game gem on the mound.
Darlington went up 1-0 in the top of the first inning when senior outfielder Brayden McDonald doubled and came around to score for the ‘Birds.
The Cubans answered back in the bottom of the second with an RBI-single by Andy Clendenen to tie the score at 1-1.
Senior Ryan Glendenning started off the Redbirds’ third inning rally with a single and came in to score on Hardyman’s two-bagger for a 2-1 lead.
Golackson (1-0) retired 13 of the final 16 batters he faced to secure the victory. He yielded a run on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts to best Cuban ace Tyler Hartl, who allowed two runs on five hits with one walk and five Ks over seven solid innings to take the loss.
McDonald and Glendenning each had two hits for the Redbirds.
Back at Otto Ruf Field for their annual tournament, the Redbirds fell to Dodgeville, 6-2, in the opening game, and dropped a 6-4 decision to Brodhead in their second game to finish 0-2 on the day.
Dodgeville plated single runs in six of their seven turns at the plate to top the ‘Birds. Home runs by Jack Heilman in the fourth inning and #32 in the seventh inning powered the Dodgers, who got a combined one-hitter on the mound from Braeden Vivian and Tanner Bockhop.
Hardyman’s RBI-double in the first inning plated Sturtz to tie the game at 1-1, and Christian Carr reached on an error and scored on another to deadlock the score at 2-2 in the second inning. The Dodgers scored runs in each of the final four innings to pull away from the ‘Birds.
Brodhead jumped out to a 6-1 lead on the heading into the bottom of the sixth inning when the Redbirds broke through for three runs to cut the deficit to 6-4. The Cardinals got out of the sixth without any further damage, and then retired the ‘Birds in order in the seventh to hang on for the win.
Hardyman went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored for Darlington. McGuire and Nick Andrae drove in runs for the ‘Birds.
The Redbirds had non-conference games at Argyle on Thursday, March 30, and at Lancaster on Monday, April 3, postponed due to weather. They will make up the game at Lancaster on Thursday, May 4, at 5 p.m., and will play the Orioles at Argyle’s Veteran’s Park on Monday, May 22, also at 5 p.m.
Darlington has a SWAL game scheduled at Riverdale (Muscoda) on Tuesday, April 18, starting at 4:30 p.m.
Darlington… 101 000 0 – 2 5 1
Cuba City…. 010 000 0 – 1 3 3
Leading hitters: Brayden McDonald 2x4, Ryan Glendenning 2x4. 2B- McDonald, Hayden Hardyman.
WP- Chad Golackson. LP- Tyler Hartl.
At Cuba City, on Friday, April 7
Fennimore… 002 000 0 – 2 4 0
Darlington… 100 000 0 – 1 1 1
Leading hitters: None.
WP- Neuroth. LP- Jesse Sturtz. S- Fitzgerald.
At Darlington, on Tuesday, April 4
LUKE WIEGEL MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT
Dodgeville… 110 111 1 – 6 6 5
Darlington… 110 000 0 – 2 1 3
Leading hitters: 2B- Hayden Hardyman.
WP- Bockhop. LP- Jackson Hemming.
Brodhead…. 112 011 0 – 6 8 3
Darlington… 000 013 0 – 4 7 2
Leading hitters: Hayden Hardyman 3x3. 2B- Hardyman.
WP- Skylar S. LP- Ryan Glendenning.
At Darlington, on Saturday, April 8