By Adam Reed
April 13, 2015
The UW-Whitewater softball team (14-7) went 4-2 over the last week, splitting doubleheaders with Lake Forest University (Illinois) and UW-Stout and sweeping UW-River Falls.
The Warhawks started the week’s schedule on Thursday against Lake Forest, splitting the doubleheader with a one-run loss after a sixth inning comeback, and a three-run win in a game, which was called when both teams ran out of daylight.
“It was such a crazy day,” head coach Brenda Volk said. “You have to give both teams credit. Both teams did their best on the mound…I was just happy to get the split.”
In the first game, the ’Hawks trailed from the third inning through the sixth inning, when a grand slam from freshman Caitlin Catino gave the team its first lead of the day. With the score at 5-6, junior Amy Ricci’s two-run homer gave the Warhawks a 5-8 cushion, but they could not hold on.
In the top of the seventh, Lake Forest sophomore Kat Beall answered with a grand slam of her own, and put the Foresters back on top for good. The Warhawks were unable to score in the bottom of the seventh, making the final score 9-8.
“Sometimes that’s just how the game turns out,” junior Haley Morelli said. “You can be hitting the ball hard and nine out of 10 times it’s just [going] right to them.”
In the second game, the power hitting continued for both sides, with freshman Emily Rux blasting yet another grand slam in the second inning to give the Warhawks the lead. The Foresters were able to tie the game at 8 in the fourth and 11 in the fifth, but could not recapture the lead, falling by the score of 11-14 in five innings.
The two teams combined for 10 homers in the doubleheader, including the three grand slams, two three-run shots and 42 total runs.
Freshman pitcher Julia Camardo pitched a complete game in the loss, tallying eight strikeouts and allowing nine runs on nine hits. Junior Stephanie Waller pitched all five innings of the second game with three strikeouts and 11 runs allowed on 11 hits.
The Warhawks split Saturday’s doubleheader with UW-Stout as well, losing the first game by a score of 6-2. The team managed just three hits in 24 attempts at the plate, and allowed UW-Stout to score six runs on nine hits in 30 at-bats.
“Out of all of our games this year [the first game against UW-Stout]was probably our messiest,” Volk said. “We didn’t play well, we didn’t pitch well, we didn’t play great defense…we didn’t hit well either. It just was not a good game.”
The team bounced back in the second game, winning in nine innings by a score of 9-8. Trailing 6-8 in the seventh, junior Hannah Taylor came on to pinch hit with two outs and sent a two-run shot out of the park to send the game to extra innings.
Both teams were scoreless in the eighth, but the Warhawks completed the rally in the ninth, when Rux hit a walk-off RBI single.
“It’s always a great feeling to come back and get that second win, especially in exciting fashion,” Morelli said. “It just shows that we work well as a team, and even when we are struggling we can pull one out.”
Sunday’s doubleheader with UW-River Falls was postponed until Monday, and the Warhawks took both contests by scores of 4-0 and 12-2, respectively.
Camardo was credited with the complete game win in game one, holding River Falls to just two hits in 23 at-bats while notching five strikeouts.
In the second game, the Warhawks jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. River Falls senior Hannah Zurn scored the only two runs in the doubleheader for her team, with solo homers in the third and fifth innings, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the “eight run rule” win for the Warhawks.
“Big hits are great, but we hit the ball hard and big things (will) happen,” senior Maggie Hansen said.
The softball team will continue conference play on April 13, when they travel to Platteville for a doubleheader with the UW-Platteville Pioneers.