UW softball continues trend of struggling in 1st match of doubleheaders, performs better than final tally indicates in 2nd

first_imgAfter losing both games of a doubleheader to Northern Iowa, the University of Wisconsin softball team did nothing to change a season long trend of showing up for only the second game.Although the 8-0 score isn’t indicative of it, the Badgers put up a much better effort in the second game. UW held the high-powered UNI offense scoreless until the fifth inning, when Panthers catcher Kelly Papesh hit her 12th home run of the season off Letty Olivarez. Five of UNI’s eight runs in the game came as the result of two swings: Papash’s two-run and Mackenzie Daigh’s three-run home runs.Despite the high run total, the game had a completely different feel than the uninspired effort UW put forth in the early game. However, Wisconsin was also shut out in both games and the offense only managed five hits in the two games. A combination of inconsistent effort and anemic offense is creating a severe case of Broken Record Syndrome.“Seems like a tendency of ours to come out better the second game. Obviously that’s needed in the beginning [of the series],” senior Theresa Boruta said. “We had said previously, it’s setting that tone, that foundation, and I think we did that in the second game.”Olivarez was able to attack the strike zone effectively early in the second game, striking out the side in both the second and third innings. Once the Panthers adjusted by swinging early in the count, they started putting the ball in play. Most of those balls were hit to the gap, giving the UW defense little chance to help its pitcher. Even when the ball was hit at someone, it seemed like the bounces went UNI’s way.“I think when [the ball is hit to someone], sometimes we tend to make an error here or there. It’s just always at the wrong time. I just feel like we can’t catch a break anytime,” Olivarez said.Wisconsin certainly didn’t catch any breaks in the first game, as there were three innings where Northern Iowa brought at least six batters to the plate. Every Panthers player came to bat in the fourth inning when Badgers starter Leah Vanevenhoven faced just two batters before being replaced by Kristyn Hansen.After another two runs in the fifth inning, the game was called due to an eight-run mercy rule.A downtrodden Wisconsin team left the diamond after the first game and responded with much more energy in the second behind Olivarez’s early performance. While the pitching and fielding was sharper, once again the offense failed to show up, managing just one hit.“The other pitchers weren’t doing anything special. That’s not to discredit them, they were hitting their spots and we weren’t hitting,” Boruta said. “I think we’re overcomplicating the process. We’re just not getting up there, clearing our mind and swinging.”Wisconsin has been outhit by its opponents 38-9 in its last four games. Boruta says the Badgers are battling themselves as much as the opposing pitcher.“I think it’s just that … (we should) stop overcomplicating the game. The game is simple: see ball, hit ball, see ball, throw ball,” Boruta said. “It’s really simple — when you have so many thoughts in your head, it’s not going to go well.”As the Badgers prepare for a weekend series at Penn State, Olivarez says it’s up to the players to break themselves out of their funk.“We have a lot of talks, and obviously our coaches can say one thing or not. But deep down inside it comes down to whatever we want to bring on the field and how hard we want to work,” Olivarez said. “We just need to find that spark that tells us what we’re playing for. This is the game we love the most and we just need to bring it out there like it is.”last_img

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