The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Lumber slumber no longer; softball team outhits Stout

    Butch McCartney

    Wednesday’s showers led to the postponement of two games at UW-Superior but not before the women’s softball team picked up a pair of big wins in Menomonie.

    The Blugolds (15-11 overall, 9-1 WIAC) snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday by sweeping a doubleheader with UW-Stout, 8-5, 1-4. Eau Claire stands atop the WIAC standings (La Crosse is in second place with an 8-4 record) with six games left.

    “Basically, we knew we had to get it done,” senior catcher Danyell Smith said. “We came ready to play and took advantage of some early opportunities.”

    In order to get it done, the Blugolds knew they would have to get their bats going.

    Story continues below advertisement

    In losses to UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls and UW-Superior, the team collected a total of just 15 hits.

    Tuesday, the Blugolds pounded out 11 hits in each game.

    Sophomore Emilee Planert, who had her second four-hit game of the season in the second game, attributed the improvement at the plate to increased repetitions in the batting cage at Monday’s practice.

    “We’ve really stressed hitting a lot lately,” Planert said. “Coach (Leslie Huntington) really worked to get our confidence back at the plate.”

    Eau Claire cruised to an easy win in the first game but nearly let a lead slip away in the second game.

    The Blugolds scored in each of the first four innings to build a 5-2 advantage. But Stout rallied for two runs in the fifth inning to trim the lead to one.

    Senior pitcher Kim Czapla relieved junior Jessie Sharpe and stopped the bleeding by throwing a scoreless two and two-thirds innings.

    Planert went 4-for-4 with two doubles, and senior Tracy Steffens had two hits, including a solo home run in the third inning.

    Game one didn’t start off well for the Blugolds. Stout’s Kim Caswell drilled a leadoff home run off Czapla in the first inning to put the Blue Devils on top.

    The home run turned out to be Stout’s only hit of the game, as Czapla (7-7) dominated the rest of the way and received plenty of offensive support.

    Eau Claire scored off a passed ball in the second inning to tie the game, then exploded for five runs in the fourth.

    Junior outfielder Jane Taragos and Smith both ripped RBI doubles in the inning.

    The Blugolds put two more runs on the board in the sixth inning when Smith nailed a two-run double, her third hit of the game.

    Czapla matched her season high with eight strikeouts and walked just one batter.

    “She mixes up a lot of her pitches and she’s got a strong mental game,” Smith said. “She doesn’t let a big hit bother her.”

    Huntington, in her first year with the Blugolds, said she was impressed with how the team’s four seniors responded to dropping two games Saturday in its home tournament. (Sunday’s games of the Eau Claire Fastpitch Tournament were canceled due to weather.)

    “(They) really stepped up and took charge of this team,” Huntington said. “At Monday’s practice they basically told everyone, ‘It’s time to go. We don’t want to end our careers like this.'”

    The Blugolds are scheduled to play a WIAC cluster tournament Saturday and Sunday at UW-Superior.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    Lumber slumber no longer; softball team outhits Stout