Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW shows signs of improved play

Following a weekend which saw the UW softball team hang in blow for blow with the cream of the Big Ten crop in games against Michigan State and Michigan, head coach Chandelle Schulte is pleased with the progress her team is making.

"I'm very proud of the kids' effort and the last two weeks they've really played well in the Big Ten," she said.

A victory and another strong showing against the Spartans — who had entered the weekend undefeated in conference play — highlighted the weekend. While only two innings of one game could be played against former national champion Michigan, Schulte noted her team's improvement.


"We got two innings in before the monsoon," Schulte said in reference to the heavy storms that hit Madison Sunday, "and we held them scoreless. I think the girls are really responding now and it's all coming together and they are putting a good game on the field, and that is what we are looking for."

While Schulte was pleased with most of the weekend, she did allude to an area where her team can improve.

"We have to get a little better at finishing things we start," Schulte explained, referring to Saturday's game against Michigan State as a prime example. Wisconsin led early 4-0, but allowed Michigan State to claw back into the game and eventually capture the lead and victory.

"That's a young team and it's a process," Schulte commented.

Hit to the Level of the Competition: Over the course of a season, certain trends tend to develop which are sometimes hard to explain. UW's offensive attack has not been as consistent this year as she would like, but Schulte has noticed a funny tendency of her hitters: her team hits better the tougher the pitching staff.

"A truly good hitting team will adjust to [any type] pitching," Schulte explained. "I think we've turned the corner, and we'll see [if they have improved] this week against UIC. The pieces are close to coming together, and I'm excited about that."

However, for Wisconsin, the University of Illinois-Chicago does not have as good a staff ERA as the teams' recent opponents.

Moral Victory: Although Sunday's game against Michigan ended up being called off, Schulte thought her team gained a certain amount of confidence in holding the defending NCAA champions to a scoreless tie, although only through two innings.

"In evaluating the Big Ten to this point, we can compete," Schulte said. "We have to play good softball, but we can compete.

"The best thing about this team is that they aren't afraid to get out there and give it everything they have. They have the ability to win and the desire to win, and all they need now is more confidence to win."

Aiding the Badgers' confidence has been the difficult non-conference schedule they played. To date, UW has played six teams ranked in the national top 25, including NFCA/USA Today No. 1 Texas.

Not the American League: In Sunday's game, Schulte switched up the lineup a bit, as starting pitcher Leah Vanevenhoven was slated to hit in the eighth in the Badgers' batting order.

Lynn Anderson was the "flex" and played shortstop. In softball, a team can use a designated hitter to replace anyone in the field in the batting order. Normally, teams elect to replace the pitcher in the lineup, but Schulte said it is a tactic UW may employ more in the future.

"We are going to try to get our pitchers to hit more. Lynn has been struggling a little bit at the plate and we just want to get her confidence back," Schulte said. "It might not always be for Lynn, but it would not be unusual to start to see our pitchers hitting in our lineup."

On the season, UW's two main pitchers, Eden Brock and Vanevenhoven, have a combined six at-bats and are hitting .167.

Same Old, Same Old: UW marks the third time Schulte has taken over a new program and, on her third go-around, she notices certain patterns emerge in the first year on a new job. Schulte previously was the head coach at Charleston Southern and College of Charleston and was named Coach of the Year in the schools' respective conferences.

"Ironically it's all the same the first year," Schulte said of her previous teams. "No matter where you are, you have trials and tribulations.

"I learned early that you can't come in and force [players] to embrace everything you have and change everything at once."

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