UW-Eau Claire softball split weekend doubleheader

A big loss Saturday revealed team strengths

UW-Eau Claire softball split weekend doubleheader


Story by Austin Mai, Op/Ed Editor

Catcher Casey Arnold thought her team had chances to beat Central College (Iowa) in game one of the doubleheader last weekend. The 7-1 loss equally filled the UW-Eau Claire softball team with frustration and exhaustion. Arnold had a different feeling.

The Blugolds had not given up any runs until the fifth inning, where they gave up five runs, the lead and eventually the game. Before the next game, while the team tried to catch their breath and their composure, Arnold realized something.

“I just had this different feeling about the team this year,” Arnold said.

At this point, the team was 0-3 and heading into their fourth game of the season. But on the bench, the team was getting everything off their chests. The team’s open criticism of their last game helped them assess what exactly went wrong, and what must go right for the team to have a shot in the second game.

They took those adjustments and ran with them.

“There was still frustration from the first doubleheader,” Arnold said. “But we brought it all together and it showed in the fourth game.”

What showed was an improved defensive performance, only allowing two hits and one run against them in the second game of the day. Add six runs, including four runs in the seventh inning, and the Blugolds turned things around.

Arnold said it’s hard to bounce back and get a split after losing the first game of a doubleheader, but even after winning 6-1, she believed the win wasn’t the biggest takeaway from the game.

“I think a lot of things started to come together as a team,” Arnold said. “We started to play more free and our timing was on so much better for hitting. The first time we played as a team this year, we had a few bumps in the road but definitely fixed those.”

Arnold credited the defense for attacking the ball and suffocating Central’s hitters in the second game, but knew it could have played better in the first game.

She said the team gave up base hits before the five runs in the first game, and it left the team feeling close to getting out of the inning.

“It killed us,” Arnold said. “We knew it was a big loss and the game was close before then. Those kinds of hits over our heads are the most difficult to accept in a loss.”

However, the senior talent on the team (including Arnold) knows how to deal with tough losses. Last season didn’t go as well as the Blugolds would have liked, which left Arnold excited to continue this season.

“There’s so much more togetherness,” Arnold said. “There is a drive to do so much better than last year, and we need that.”

Along with her thoughts on the team this year, the recent warmer weather can be a quick boost to morale.

Arnold said with the weather, the team’s energy is picking up and they are getting excited about being able to go outside again.

“I’d struggle to get back in the gym for 5:30 a.m. practices,” Arnold said.

The Blugolds return to action next week to take a pit stop in Illinois before they arrive in Texas for spring break play. They’re set to play two doubleheaders, first at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday against Illinois Wesleyan University. The next doubleheader is set for 3 p.m. Friday against Millikin University.