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Walk-off win keeps Redbirds all alone atop SWAL standings
DARLINGTON SENIOR Will Schwartz (#1) squeezes in Ryan Glendenning during the Redbirds 5-4 win over Riverdale on Friday, May 12. Schwartz had three RBI.

    DARLINGTON – Will Schwartz singled home Jesse Sturtz with one down in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead Darlington to a 5-4 come-from-behind SWAL victory over the visiting Riverdale Chieftains in a thrilling prep baseball game at Otto Ruf Field on Friday, May 12.
    Schwartz’s third RBI of the game capped a furious comeback for the Redbirds (12-5 overall, 10-1 SWAL), who remain in first-place atop the SWAL standings after notching their 10th consecutive conference win. The ‘Birds have also won seven straight overall games following a 10-0 non-conference win over the Belmont Braves in five innings at BHS on Monday, May 15.
    Sturtz held Riverdale scoreless through six innings, but the Chieftains (4-5) finally broke through for a run off the Redbirds’ ace in the top of the seventh when relief pitcher Dalton Halie singled in Michael Schafer to make it 3-1.
    Sturtz struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning, however he had to leave the game after reaching his 100th pitch. Senior Ryan Glendenning took the mound and appeared to get the ‘Birds out of the jam by striking out the next Riverdale batter as well, but that batter reached on a dropped third strike to keep the inning alive.
    A single by Ethan Hafner loaded the bases and Ty Hogan followed by clearing the bases with a double to the gap in left to put the Chieftains ahead for the first time all day at 4-3. Glendenning avoided any further damage with another strikeout.
    Senior Brayden McDonald opened the Redbirds’ seventh-inning rally by reaching second on an error and he came in to score the tying run on a one-out single by senior Hayden Hardyman.
    Schwartz followed with a base hit to right to plate Sturtz– who was intentionally walked earlier in the stanza– for the go-ahead run.
    Schwartz, who had a RBI-single in the first and a RBI-sacrifice bunt in the fifth, finished 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI to lead the Redbirds. Hardyman drove in two runs, while McDonald scored twice for the ‘Birds.
    Glendenning earned the win after allowing two runs on two hits with two Ks in a third of an inning of work. Sturtz worked six and two-thirds innings allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with nine Ks.
    Glendenning (2-1) also combined with Sturtz on a one-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over Boscobel on Tuesday, May 9. The Redbirds right-hander struck out 10 batters without allowing a walk over six innings to earn the win.
    Sturtz went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, a run scored and four RBI to lead Darlington at the plate.
    The Redbirds’ offense remained hot on Thursday, May 11, as they bashed 10 hits and scored 16 runs en route to a 16-3 win over the host Southwestern Wildcats in six innings.
    Sturtz drilled a three-run home run for the ‘Birds in the game, while Christian Carr added a triple with three RBI and three runs scored. McDonald also drove in three runs for Darlington.
    The Redbirds used a nine-run rally in the fourth inning to sink Belmont, 10-0, in a non-conference affair.
    Glendenning belted a grand slam home run for the ‘Birds. Schwartz had two hits with a run and a RBI, and Sturtz had a double and a run.
    The Redbirds have SWAL games at Iowa-Grant on Friday, May 19, and at home against Southwestern on Tuesday, May 23, starting at 4:30 p.m. The Redbirds also have a non-conference make-up game at Argyle on Monday, May 22, set for 5 p.m.
    The young Belmont Braves baseball team is gaining the experience each and every time they take the field, but that experience is coming from some hard lessons learned against some talented foes.
    Coach Trevor Kattre’s Braves (2-15 overall, 2-10 Six Rivers Conference) had a late-inning rally come up short in an 8-5 Six Rivers West loss at home to River Ridge on Tuesday, May 9, and then Belmont took their lumps in a doubleheader loss to Six Rivers East leader Pecatonica, 15-1 and 4-0, at home on Friday, May 12, and a non-conference loss to SWAL leader Darlington, 10-0, also at home on Monday, May 15.
    The Braves have now dropped seven straight games.
    Tyler Ernst went 2-for-3 with a run driven in for the Braves against the Timerwolves on Tuesday, while Brady Wedig drove in a run and scored another for Belmont.
    Trailing River Ridge 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh, the Braves pushed two runs across the plate with Wedig and Justan Ernst were hit back-to-back with the bases loaded to cut the gap to three, but with the go-ahead run at the plate with two down reliever Ryan Redman struck out the lone batter he faced to secure the win for the T’Wolves.
    Jacob Amenda (six Ks) and Ethan James (four) combined to registered 10 strikeouts and walk just one batter for the Braves.
    In Friday’s twinbill, the Braves managed just a single run on five hits in their two losses to the Vikings, who remained unbeaten on the season and ranked #1 in the state in Division 4.
    Amenda singled and scored for the Braves in game one, while Wedig accounted for all three of Belmont’s hits in game two.
    On Monday, SWAL-leading Darlington used a nine-run rally in the fourth inning to sink the Braves.
    Belmont has a Six Rivers’ crossover doubleheader on Friday, May 19, starting at 3:30 p.m. The Braves have cancelled their non-conference game at home against Mineral Point on Monday, May 22, in order to reschedule their May 1 rained out date at Potosi. They will face the Chieftains at PHS on Monday, May 22, at 5 p.m.
Riverdale….. 000  000  4 – 4  7  2
Darlington… 100  020  2 – 5  5  2
Leading hitters: Will Schwartz 2x3.
WP- Ryan Glendenning. LP- Halie.
At Darlington, on Friday, May 12
Darlington… 100  040  1 – 6  9  0
Boscobel….. 000  000  0 – 0  1  3
Leading hitters: Jesse Sturtz 3x4, Will Schwartz 2x4. 3B- Sturtz. 2B- Sturtz.
WP- Ryan Glendenning. LP- Ward.
At Boscobel, on Tuesday, May 9
Darlington…….. 403  009 – 16  10  1
Southwestern… 001  110 –   3    3  4
Leading hitters: Nick Andrae 2x5, Chad Golackson 2x4. HR- Jesse Sturtz. 3B- Christian Carr. 2B- Andrae.
WP- Golackson. LP- Splinter.
At Darlington, on Thursday, May 11
Darlington… 000  91 – 10  5  0
Belmont…… 000  00 –   0  4  1
Leading hitters: Darl- Will Schwartz 2x3. HR- Ryan Glendenning. 2B- Jesse Sturtz. Bel- None.
WP- Preston Banfield. LP- Ethan James.
At Belmont, on Monday, May 15

River Ridge… 211  103  0 – 8  7  0
Belmont…….. 000  201  2 – 5  5  5
Leading Hitters: Tyler Ernst 2x3.
WP- Ertz. LP- Jacob Amenda.
At Belmont, on Tuesday, May 9
Pecatonica… 123  54 – 15  12  0
Belmont……. 000  00 –   1    2  5
Leading Hitters: None.
WP- Conwell. LP- Ethan James.

Belmont……. 000  000  0 – 0  3  3
Pecatonica… 010  030  x – 4  5  0
Leading Hitters: Brady Wedig.
WP- Dearth. LP- Wedig.
At Belmont, on Friday, May 12