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Cubans close out Orioles in six innings
Argyle-BH hangs tough early, but Cuba City runs away to mercy-rule victory
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CUBA CITY — The Division 4 regional quarterfinal between 7-seed Argyle-Black Hawk (8-14, 3-11 Six Rivers East) and 2-seed Cuba City (19-2, 12-2 SWAL) ended in six innings due to the mercy rule, 12-2 on May 20. 

For a majority of the matchup, the Orioles looked poised to hold out through seven innings and possibly upset the fourth-ranked team in Division 4.

After a ground out from Mya McNett, Kylie Butler singled on a ground ball to center field. Maddy Lange was third in the lineup, and after a looking strike, Butler bolted for second, earning the steal.

On the second pitch of her at bat, Lange doubled to center, scoring Butler for the early lead.

Cuba City pitcher Payton Gile found her mark over the next two at bats from ABH, striking out Ava Wiegel and Sam Kammes in four or less pitches.

The Cubans weren’t content allowing the Orioles to keep the lead. Cuba City escaped the inning with a 2-1 lead over ABH after starting the bottom frame with two runners on first and second with no outs.

A scoreless second inning gave way to the third, where the Orioles struck again.

McNett and Butler both grounded out. Then came Lange in the lineup. She wasted no time, swinging on the first pitch. The moment the bat hit it, even Lange knew she struck gold. The ball sailed well over the fence, and her teammates came out to greet her at home.

Wiegel kept the momentum up with a single before a Kammes ground ball resulted in an out to close the inning.

Fielding work continued to bolster ABH’s efforts in the bottom of the third, where a bunt into McNett’s glove at the mound, a throw to Butler at third prevented a steal, and a fielder’s choice for Lange sent the Cubans back to their dugout scoreless in the frame.

It was then that Cuba City found its spark, and proved why it is a top-5 team.

Over the final three innings, one Oriole batter reached base — a single from Brianna Wilhelmson in the fifth. There were no walks, three strikeouts, and the all but one of the remaining batters didn’t hit the ball beyond the infield.

A five-run effort in the fifth, and four more in the sixth favoring the Cubans sealed the early exit from Monday’s game.

McNett was credited with the loss at the mound, allowing 13 hits and 12 runs, while striking out three and walking five.

Lange had the most successful day at the plate, as she went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Other ABH batters to tally a hit included Butler, Wiegel, Wilhelmson and Brinley Meinert.