UWEC Softball finds success in Florida

Softball heads to Florida to scoop up seven wins

More stories from Ryan Huling



SUBMITTED The UW-Eau Claire softball team spent spring break in Florida, where they played 10 teams and brought back seven wins, putting the team’s record at 11-3.

The UW-Eau Claire softball team had an eventful week in Clermont, Florida over spring break, playing against ten teams and ending the trip with seven wins.

The Blugolds began the trip with two losses on March 23, one to Tuft University and one to St. Thomas. The Blugolds didn’t go down without a fight against the Tommies, however.

In the first inning, both fourth-year infielder Brooke Varian and second-year infielder and outfielder Katelyn Yute scoreed thanks to a single by second-year catcher and infielder Abbey Place.

St. Thomas tied up the game two innings later and the Blugolds pushed ahead by one run in the sixth inning off of a Tommie error.

Third-year pitcher Sarah Peka said the terrain was a factor in their first two losses.

“I will say going from gym floor to a dirt softball diamond is a bit of a tough transition at first,”  Peka said. “Any opportunity to be outside on the dirt really helps the fielders build confidence.”

Peka was named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week while the team was in Florida. Facing off against St. Thomas, Peka struck out two Tommies, pitching 6.1 innings.

The team won the next six games, notably beating Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was ranked No. 5.

When facing off against MIT on Monday, the Blugolds did not score until the sixth inning, where they brought in five runs. In the next inning, Peka hit a double, allowing Yute to score their sixth and final run of the game.

Peka went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and pitched a shutout against MIT, resulting in a final score of 6-0.

Later that day, the Blugolds defeated Franklin College, winning 3-2. Again, the Blugolds scored two runs in the first inning, later scoring a third in the bottom of the 6th right after the Grizzlies had tied up the game.

Third-year pitcher Cheyenne Johnson struck out three Grizzlies and recorded her first win of the season.

On Tuesday, the Blugolds defeated Miami-Hamilton and St. Olaf college. In their first game, they quickly brought in five runs in the first two innings, two of which were scored by third-year infielder and outfielder Katie Rongstad’s 2-RBI single.

The Harriers countered by scoring three runs in the third inning, which the Blugolds responded to with one run in the fourth inning and another in the seventh, resulting in a final score of 7-3.

Both second-year pitcher Madison Morris and second-year pitcher Morgan Sivak struck out two Harriers each, earning Morris her first win of the season.

Facing St. Olaf, Peka pitched another shutout while only giving up two hits, resulting in a final score of 6-0. In the first two innings, the Blugolds racked in four runs, tallying their final two runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Wednesday gave way to two more Blugold wins, the first against Thomas College. The Blugolds scored twice in the third inning after two back-to-back singles from first-year infielder Maria Back and Rongstad.

After Thomas scored two runs to tie up the game, the Blugolds came back to score one more run in the sixth inning. First-year pitcher Jackie Carlucci earned three strikeouts in five innings.

In the Blugolds’ second game of the day, they faced St. Catherine University. It would be a close game.

The Blugolds scored one run in the third inning, followed by the Wildcats, who scored a solo homerun in the fifth. The Blugolds scored again in the top of the eighth inning, which the Wildcats quickly responded to by tying up the game again in the bottom of the eighth. To finish the game, the Blugolds scored three runs in the final inning, ending the game with a score of 5-2.

“I loved our 9-inning game against St. Catherine’s because of how long our energy stayed up,” Rongstad said. “We improved on our ability to lift each other up throughout the game. When one person made a mistake the next person picked them right back up. This is a key to our team’s success.”

On Friday, the Blugolds lost their first game of the day against the University of Chicago, 5-3. Rongstad scored two of the three runs, but it was not enough to win.

The second game of the day against Oberlin started off with a run by the Blugolds. Oberlin would then score in every inning except the first and seventh, while scoring five runs in the fourth. The Blugolds scored three more runs, but didn’t score again until the final inning. In the final frame, the Blugolds scored seven runs in the bottom of the inning, winning the game 11-10.

“One thing we need to keep working on is our ability to continue finishing every game strong,”  Rongstad said. “This spring break we already did a great job of that, especially in our game against Oberlin.”

With ten games done, the Blugolds have a whole season ahead of them.

“We are so excited to be able to keep putting things together,”  Peka said. “We are looking to keep winning and improving our skills a little bit every day.”

The Blugolds continue their season with a 11-3 record and are currently ranked 23 in the NFCA Division III Rankings.

Huling can be reached at [email protected]