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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Zacher closing out storied career at UW

[media-credit name=’BRYAN FAUST/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Softball_BF_416[/media-credit]Wisconsin was in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 14, 2002, for a conference matchup with No. 12 Michigan. With the score tied at zero in the top of the third inning, the Badgers’ freshman shortstop came to the plate with a runner on first. After seeing a couple pitches, she promptly deposited the ball deep beyond the left field fence, giving UW a 2-0 lead that would prove to be the final score.

For now-senior Kris Zacher, the moment was her way of introducing herself to the Big Ten.

“Coach (Gallagher) was all excited, and I didn’t quite understand, but now looking at Michigan and seeing they’re a big powerhouse,” Zacher said. “I guess I’ll always remember that one. It was probably one of my best moments.”


Zacher, along with senior catcher Boo Gillette, has represented the core and identity of UW softball for the past four seasons. The Milwaukee native went on to be named the team’s Freshman of the Year in 2002, an appetizer to a career that has been nothing short of remarkable.

The team’s co-MVP with Gillette last season, Zacher is making her final rounds through the Big Ten this season after terrorizing the conference for the past three seasons. Forever to be known as one of the most gifted athletes to come through the program, it hasn’t always been easy for Zacher. Then again, that is why she will also be remembered as one of the hardest workers to come through the program.

Zacher struggled at the plate her first two seasons, posting solid power numbers but hitting only .253 and .228, respectively, during her freshman and sophomore years. As an upper-classman Zacher made the leap from an ultra-talented player to one of the nation’s top players thanks to some hard work.

“It was just a little tweak in my swing,” said Zacher, who saw her average skyrocket to .350 last season, allowing her to more than double her runs scored. “I kept collapsing my back leg and was losing power. In the summer I went and worked on it. I guess you can tell by the stats that it has been beneficial.”

The swing adjustment led to Zacher setting the UW single-season hit record and being named to the NFCA All-Mideast Region Second Team. This season Zacher has taken it even a step further, hitting an eye-boggling .407. She is currently on pace to break the team batting average record of .401, set by Julie Bourchard in 1998.

“I think she has finally come into her own,” UW head coach Karen Gallagher said. “There is a point where her mental game caught up with her talent and natural ability and things just started to sink in and she realized that she can play at this level.”

Zacher has also become the team’s career leader in triples (11) and stolen bases (34), while ranking in the all-time top five in home runs (16), RBI (76), slugging percentage (.424) and batting average (.304). Gallagher calls Zacher one of the best talents she has ever coached.

“There is nobody that can do better, she is one of the best players in the country as far as I’m concerned,” Gallagher said. “When she is on, she’s on and there is nobody better.”

Zacher has developed into a five-tool player, a player who can hit for average, hit for power, field, steal bases and has a strong throwing arm.

“She has been one of the core players of this program,” Gallagher said. “She has played shortstop for four years and has been the foundation of our infield. She just does incredible things.”

Despite her talent, according to Zacher her biggest tool has been her work ethic and passion for the game.

“I put everything out there every game,” Zacher said. “You never know which pitch, which game might be your last. Your season or career might be cut short with an injury, you never know. Play with every ounce of energy and give everything you have to the team. When I’m out there playing, I give 110 percent.”

With Zacher’s career as a Badger player ending after this season, she looks back on her career a little differently than most would.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs, and has been a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Zacher said. “It has definitely been worth it though. Softball teaches you to grow up and deal with adversity and how to work together as a team on and off the field. Softball teaches you a lot of things, not only about softball but about life as well.”

Not surprisingly, Zacher’s preferred career path following her playing career involves passing on those lessons.

“I hope to coach,” Zacher said. “Hopefully teaching softball to kids and giving back to the game in a different way. I would love to be in college coaching, but you’ve got to know people and be in the system for that so, we’ll see.”

With Zacher’s graduation, Gallagher will need to regularly pencil in a new name at shortstop for the first time in four seasons.

“Kris has been a pillar here and it’s going to be big shoes to fill whoever comes in and does that,” Gallagher said.

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