Softball comes back to Wisconsin above .500

Warhawks open up season 7-5 overall in Florida

Tyler Job, Sports Editor

The No. 17 Warhawk softball team heads back to Whitewater after going 7-5 overall on its Florida trip over Spring Break March 22-28.

The Warhawks started the trip 1-3, but won six of its last eight games including three victories over top five teams.

“Those string of victories came because the real Whitewater softball team came out to play,” senior outfielder Caitlin Catino said. “A team that is energized every single pitch, celebrates little plays, eliminates sloppy defensive and offensive mistakes, and plays with a purpose to win.”

Whitewater went on a four-game winning streak after losing three of its first four contests, posting shutouts three times during the winning streak.

One of those victories came against No. 3 University of St. Thomas [Minn.] in a 1-0 shutout. Catino scored the only UW-W run on a walk-off solo home run. Senior pitcher Julia Camardo allowed just five hits en route to her first win of the season.

“Our pitching was definitely the highlight of our trip,” head coach Brenda Volk said.

The Warhawks put up another late-game winning effort in a 3-2 win over No. 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology March 27. They had beaten them 4-0 the day prior.

Down just 1-0 in the sixth inning, junior catcher Nikki Mikosz hit a three-run home run in left field to give the Warhawks the lead for good. MIT answered in the seventh, but junior pitcher Dani Biesiada sealed her complete game in the end on a lineout. Biesiada earned her first win of the season in the process.

“Beating St. Thomas and MIT twice who are both ranked were good wins and shows us that we are capable of playing at a very high level,” Volk said. “So now we just have to look for that consistency and energy back in Wisconsin.”

The Warhawks took their late-game rally against MIT over to the next day and blew out Colby College 8-0. Catino got UW-W on the board in the first inning with an RBI-triple to right center. Senior shortstop Emily Rux followed suit with an RBI groundout that scored Catino, giving the team a 2-0 lead after the first.

Rux extended Whitewater’s lead to 4-0 in the third on a two-RBI single.

The Warhawk offense exploded once more an inning later when Catino smacked a triple with the bases loaded. Freshman third baseman Megan Schetter then hit a three-bagger of her own that scored Catino, and the Warhawks quickly were up 8-0.

“I saw the ball well the whole trip, but I wasn’t hitting the ball at the beginning,” Catino said. “I think what helped me through my tough time is that I remained focused on trying to swing at good pitches, while working on little things in our game warm-ups.”

Catino currently stands with a .294 batting average, and already has two home runs and eight RBIs.

UW-W lost its final game of the trip to Carleton College [Minn.] 7-5. The team led 3-1 in the fourth after Camardo hit a two-RBI double to left field.

Carleton answered with a four-run fifth inning, but Rux answered with an RBI single to left in the bottom half of the inning, trimming the deficit to 5-4.

The Knights led 6-5 heading into the seventh, and outfielder Brooke McKelvey’s RBI single sealed the game for Carleton.

Camardo took the loss and is now 2-4 on the season, but has only a 2.10 ERA.

“I would say that we pitched well enough to come back to Wisconsin with an 11-1 record but unfortunately, our offense did not produce as much as I was hoping for,” Volk said. “If our pitchers stay healthy this season, we should be very strong on the mound this year.”

The Warhawks’ opening day begins April 2 in a doubleheader against Concordia University Wisconsin.

“We need to come out every game with high energy and intensity,” Catino said. “We all know we have the talent to do extremely well, so now it’s just about who wants it more.”