Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


From Bleachers to Booth: Erin Pease’s journey to becoming Madison Softball’s voice

UW senior excited to join team of women heading up new softball team
This photo from The Badger Herald archives depicts the gates of the Duck Pond, home of the Madison Mallards and the currently unnamed Madison Softball team.
This photo from The Badger Herald archives depicts the gates of the Duck Pond, home of the Madison Mallards and the currently unnamed Madison Softball team.

Fans can have special relationships with their favorite sports teams. Ballparks turn into a hub of fun, players slowly become favorites with every clutch play, and brand merchandise can become something like a uniform.

The play-by-play announcer is along for all of it, becoming the voice of the team that fans recognize as soon as they open their mouth to speak.

While the new Madison Softball team in town hasn’t announced its name — that’s coming at an unveiling party April 20 — they’ve decided the voice of their team will be Erin Pease.


Pease, who graduates from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May, is ready to step up to the plate. She’s been preparing for this role for a long time.

Pease is a familiar face and voice for many baseball and softball fans in Madison, having interned for the Mallards, the local collegiate summer baseball team, last summer.

The Mallards like to have fun with marketing. As Mallards Marketing Director Kyle Chisholm told The Badger Herald, “We take a lot of pride in our promotions and giving a great fan experience.”

Their actions say the same thing.

They’ve done ribbon dancing between innings, invited WWE SuperStars to throw out the first pitch, and routinely have their mascot, Maynard the Mallard, zip line into the stadium before games. Pease herself helped orchestrate Bucky Badger’s zip line into the stadium on the day the Mallards/Bucky promo bucket hat was sold.

The Mallards have directed attention towards college-aged or younger audiences, too, particularly with TikTok. Plenty of fans will know Pease from the recurring “Erin v. Aaron” skits and competitions over last summer.

“The Mallards as a platform is so fun and goofy in general,” Pease said. “[Creative Services Director Brent Bartels] gave us free reign …”

The two kicked off their season-long competition with giant inflatable knockerballs. They suited up, sprinted at each other, and set forth a series of fun events.

The whole Mallards office staff took notice and watched in glee as they competed in things from trivia to dizzy bat. Some of the players took note of their activities and rooted for a winner. Meier says the Erin v. Aaron onlookers usually cheered for Pease.

Regardless of who won, they were a success in front of the camera. Pease says that’s a place she’s been comfortable in since she was young.

“I remember my mom always telling stories about me as a kid that like I was always sassy, I’ve always been a spunky kid,” she recalled. She was never afraid of the spotlight or to do her own thing.

She learned how to direct her outgoing personality as she got older. People have apparently taken notice. 

“She’s a natural born leader,” Chisholm said, whom she worked under as an intern. “I think people gravitate towards her and take direction from her.”

It’s not a coincidence. Pease went to some leadership training events growing up where she learned more about herself and what it means to be a leader. As it turns out, it’s not always about being loud and commanding. To Pease, leadership is about making everyone feel like they have a place.

In a way, Pease also lead by example. Whenever Chisholm and the marketing team needed something done, she was always eager to volunteer. Every task was an opportunity for her.

“I was always the first one to volunteer to get to know everyone a little bit better and to get each side of the job,” Pease said.

She wanted to see everything the Mallards had to offer, getting a taste of what every department did, from hospitality to operations.

She didn’t turn down a new thing the Mallards asked her to do.

“Being an intern is hard, I won’t sugar coat that. There were a lot of days there doing laundry until 3 in the morning and then coming in at 8 or 9 a.m. was probably the last thing I wanted to do,” Pease said.

Pease’s adventurous attitude dates back well before her time with the Mallards. A longtime sports fan, Pease has been leading fandoms since high school.

She kickstarted her high school’s student section and managed her baseball team. Once she got to Madison, she found a new space to fulfill her sports passion — AreaRED.

UW’s official student section, AreaRED ensures Badger sports events are loud, energetic and never empty handed. It requires plenty of coordination with newspapers, giveaways and props– but working with AreaRED provided Pease with more than just a way to channel enthusiasm.

She’s interviewed tons of athletes, coaches and fans with AreaRED. Through her work, which included standing out in the rain talking with fans before the men’s basketball game against Purdue in February, she was able to fulfill another passion of hers — telling stories.

In addition to making lifelong friendships and championing the enthusiasm of Badger fandom, Pease found delight in sharing the lighthearted stories of UW sports.

“Just being able to communicate people’s stories that may not have the platform to do that … I think that’s my favorite part of being a reporter in general,” Pease said.

Each person behind the microphone and the camera has a personality– she wants to allow it to shine through.

Pease is excited to continue to tell those stories from the booth, which isn’t a totally novel experience for her.

Before a game last summer, the Mallards’ PA announcer, Joe Miller, had car issues and couldn’t make it to the game on time. With minutes to go before the first pitch, the Mallards needed a brave soul to answer the call.

Unsurprisingly, Pease volunteered.

“I was like ‘you know what, I’ll do it.’ This is my opportunity to seize it and let them see what I can do,” Pease said.

She handled PA duties for a couple of innings before Miller arrived, but her excellent work didn’t go unnoticed. Fans complimented her uniqueness and energy and Mallards President Vern Stenman, approached her after the game.

Miller would have other planned absences to cover different events, like golf and wrestling. The Mallards would need someone to fill in for the future.

“[Stenman] came up to me and was like, ‘You did a really great job … Do you want to try out these games?” Pease said.

It wouldn’t be long before she’d be asked to stay in the booth full time.

The Mallards would later announce in January the establishment of Madison Softball. Madison along with teams in Mankato, MN, La Crosse, WI, and Minot, ND have joined together to form the Northwoods Softball League, a sibling of the Northwoods League. Pease stood out as a candidate to be the voice of Madison Softball.

It’s a longtime dream of hers, albeit one that felt out of reach at times.

Despite growing up a massive sports fan, Pease wasn’t sure if the sports world would provide a viable career path. It wasn’t until she got to college that she understood what opportunities she could pursue. Much of it stemmed from a lack of representation.

“Looking back on my childhood as I was entering college, I really wish I would’ve seen more females on the TV for me to look up to and be inspired by,” she said. “I wanted to work in the sports world somehow, but I’d never really known that was a space where females could be.”

As Pease got older, she took notice of female figures like Erin Andrews and Sophia Minnaert.

Andrews’ and Minnaert’s success offered optimism for Pease. She stepped onto Madison’s campus with plans to major in English Education, but working in sports was still in the back of her mind. All it took was a little outside support.

“One day, one of my professors in office hours said, ‘Erin what’s your Mt. Everest,’” Pease remembered. “And I said, ‘Well, I would love to be a sideline reporter.’ I straight up told her I don’t think that’s feasible but that’s what I would love to do.”

Her professor pushed her, “Why not? Just do it.”

And so the eventual voice of Madison Softball decided to switch majors. She later applied to UW’s SJMC and worked towards the Sports Communication certificate. Years later, her work and determination are paying off.

“I’m really grateful and honored to have the opportunity to be a female doing this play-by-play role,” Pease said.

Along with Pease, Madison Softball has hired Samantha Rubin and Raquel Savoy as general manager and head coach. Not to mention, the whole team will of course be comprised of women.

At a time where women’s sports is lifting off, the Mallards are ready to fly into the season with women in major positions.

“Having a sport that is played by women, is going to be coached by a woman, and also broadcast by a woman is something powerful and just awesome,” Pease said.

Pease hopes that her hard work and passion can inspire girls interested in the sports industry. She’s excited to continue to share memories with fans at the Duck Pond this summer, bringing the same characteristic energy and spunk to the broadcast booth that she’s always had.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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