After an up and down season, the women’s softball team will be playing its most important games this week with three doubleheaders in three straight days.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point women’s softball will host UW-Platteville, UW-Lacrosse, and UW-Superior this week for a chance to play in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
These six games will be the Pointers final conference games and may decide the fate of the team’s season.
After a good start to the season in Florida, the tough conference schedule has been a challenge according to senior first baseman Bekah Rennicke.
“We started out pretty well, but once conference games began it hasn’t gone as well,” Rennicke said.
Rennicke and head coach Jill Millis believe the results of the games are misleading to how the team has played this season.
“The score doesn’t show how close the games were. Some games we beat ourselves,” Rennicke said.
“There are games where you realize the score doesn’t show the game,” Millis said. “Being inside has not been helpful, and has messed with their routines.”
Rennicke says the weather has affected the team, preventing them from practicing outside.
“There’s nothing harder than going into the gym and not taking normal fly balls and grounders,” Rennicke said. “This year has been a challenge.”
The WIAC tournament features six teams. These final six conference games will determine if the team will make it.
According to Coach Millis, the Pointers have played more conference games than other schools, which means the team controls its fate in these six games. Rennicke and Millis understand the importance of the games and feel confident about them.
“Every game is full of pressure with everything on the line, and you want to play your best every game,” Rennicke said.
“This week determines our fate. This is what we’re fighting for,” Millis said. “All year we talk about playing conference and it boils down to this. If we sweep, we can bump up four spots in the standings.”
Playing six games in three days sounds challenging, but the trip to Florida gave the team the experience of playing a lot of games in a short time period.
“The amount of games we played in Florida has conditioned us well to play six games in three days,” Rennicke said.
Millis feels the team can win these games, thanks to past experiences. Finishing games is what Millis has been focusing on.
“Last year came down to a doubleheader. They’ve been in these games losing at the end,” Millis said. “This year we’ve been all about we need to finish and now is that test to finish games.”
Going into the games, both Millis and Rennicke say the team has great pitching to rely on. Freshmen Miranda Morrison and Sydney Gorges have given Millis the confidence to give the ball to either of them.
“It’s nice to have a pitching unit because one might be more effective against one team and one might be more effective against another,” Millis said
Millis and Rennicke say they can learn from previous years playing against conference, but the teams are not the same.
“We can learn a little bit from last year, but the teams are different with new players and if we play our game we should do fine,” Rennicke said.
“Every year is different because there is that potential to beat everybody,” Millis said. “Everyone in conference can hit so we have to show defensively and score some runs.”