Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Softball: ‘Hawks win WIAC tournament


By Shawn Poole

Pitching is always a key to success when it comes to softball.

UW-Whitewater softball team

Tossing two four-hitters back-to-back is what Katie Boyle and Bekka Houda accomplished in Eau Claire at the WIAC Conference Tournament to clinch the automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

The No. 14-ranked ’Hawks will host a NCAA III Regional this Thursday through Saturday.

In the semifinal game, Boyle limited  UW-Oshkosh to just one run on four hits.  The ‘Hawks were able to strike early in the bottom of the second inning  with shortstop Laura Eichenhold’s two-out, two-RBI-double.

Oshkosh’s lone run also came with two outs in the inning.  The Titans managed to get a single followed by a double with two outs in the top half of the fourth inning. Boyle stranded the runner on second to get in the dugout with a one-run lead.

Boyle took the one-run lead into the seventh inning and got in trouble with one out and the tying run a third base.

The Titans were not able to get the run across, with Boyle striking out the batter and getting the next batter to pop up to the catcher to end the game.

Boyle’s complete-game victory was her 16th win of the year, moving into a tie for ninth all time in the UW-W single season wins column.

The senior pitcher from Greendale notched two more strikeouts in the game to increase her career total to 250 strikeouts, which is fourth all time in UW-W history.

The ‘Hawks had little trouble in the WIAC title game with No. 25-ranked UW-Eau Claire as Houda tossed her fourth complete game shutout of the year in the 7-0 victory over the Blugolds.

Leading the ’Hawks was senior catcher Emily Epifanio, who went 3-4 and got the fourth inning going for the ‘Hawks with a one out double in their three-run inning.

“It was awesome, but I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Epifanio said. “They keep me so relaxed in the box.”

Outfielder Samie Seamon’s two-out triple in the fifth inning increased the ’Hawks’ lead to 5-0, and Epifanio’s two out double in the sixth inning platted two more runs to push the final score to 7-0.

With the victory, the ’Hawks earned the automatic bid and will be appearing in their 16th NCAA tournament.
The ’Hawks started the season on a strong note, winning their first 12 games and were able to build off that early season success to get to where they are now.

“Starting off our season with a 12 and 0 record really brought us together from the beginning,” Seamon said.  “Sticking together no matter what the result has been is huge.”

The Whitewater regional games kickoff Thursday, with the ‘Hawks taking on Finlandia University at van Steenderen Field at 10 a.m.

The ’Hawks will host the eight-team regional, which has WIAC foe UW-Eau Claire as the No. 3 seed with a possible championship rematch in the future.

Junior first basemen Megan Krisch believes the team can play its best ball when they are having fun and playing their game.

“Eau Claire is always a tough competitive matchup,” Krisch said. “Having the chance to face them again, all we plan to do is play our game, and have fun together as a team.

That’s when we play our best. It would be huge to beat Eau Claire and have the chance to advance to the National Tournament.”

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Founded 1901
Softball: ‘Hawks win WIAC tournament