Blugolds softball goes 7-3 in Arizona

Even with overall success, there is still room for improvement

Story by Meghan Hosely, Staff Writer

Last week, the UW-Eau Claire softball team headed south to Tucson, Ariz. for a 10-day tournament against  national competition.

The Blugolds flew into Tucson on Saturday, and by the next day, the team was playing Augsburg College (Minn.) and Marian University. Eau Claire won against Augsburg, 18-10, and also against Marian, 7-0.

Over the next four days, the Blugolds beat several teams, including Crown College (Minn.), Denison (Ohio), Grinnell College (Iowa), Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) and Whittier (Calif.). The Blugolds also faced La Verne (Calif.), Chapman (Calif.), and Claremont-Mudd-Scripts (Calif.), each handing Eau Claire a loss.

“We beat teams we should’ve beaten, but we didn’t beat teams that we need to beat,” head coach Leslie Huntington said. “For us to get to where we want to be, we have got to beat those kinds of teams.”

Junior outfielder Amanda Fischer said  it was a great week.

“We had some hiccups, which we wish we didn’t have, but you always learn from those,” Fischer said.

Huntington said her coaches did a good job mentally and physically preparing everyone. Physically, the Blugolds conditioned and practiced Monday through Friday and increased their water consumption in the weeks before their trip.

As for being mentally prepared for the games, junior pitcher Laura Raflik said her and her teammates would do what’s called a “mental minute.”

“It’s a lesson to get us to be as aggressive as we can be, and to push through those 10 games and to bounce back from those games,” Raflik said.

Huntington also said since her team practices at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, it wasn’t difficult to get her team up and ready to play the early games throughout the week.

Since the Blugolds are back in Eau Claire, the team has to get creative with their practices, since the snow is still keeping them indoors. This week, the team is working on their short game, covering bunt situations defensively, along with working on their offense. At this time of year, it’s about the only thing they can do at an indoor practice, Huntington said.

“If there’s any kind of dirt on our practice field, even if it’s 20 degrees, we’re going to probably go out and pitch, even if it’s for a half hour,” Huntington said. “We just really have to play it by ear every day at this point.”

Next weekend, the Blugolds will travel to Iowa to play six games Friday through Sunday. After this weekend, the Blugolds will not only have a chance of outdoor practices, but will face a tough WIAC conference, in hopes for yet another conference championship.