Badgers riding momentum

first_imgSophomore infielder Shannel Blackshear is one of the hitters on a hot streak for the Badgers. Blackshear hit the homerun that sparked the six-run comeback against Northwestern on Saturday.[/media-credit]Wisconsin softball heads into its doubleheader with South Dakota State on Wednesday coming off the biggest comeback in the school’s history.Down 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning in the first game of Saturday’s double-header against Northwestern, the Badgers were able to put together a late rally to come back to win 9-8.“It was a great team effort,” sophomore outfielder Kendall Grimm said. “We all stayed in it the whole game. Everybody was focused in the sixth inning when we made the comeback. Everybody was building off each other’s energy.”Momentum isn’t the only thing the Badgers have going for them heading into its game with South Dakota State. Wisconsin’s assistant coach Tracie Adix, who spent the past three seasons as a pitching coach for the Jackrabbits, gives her team the upper hand.“Our scouting report this time is double-sided,” Grimm said. “[Adix] has a lot of good information.”For South Dakota State, the Badgers’ ability to get out of tough jams will be highlighted in its scouting report of Wisconsin. While it has allowed a lot of runners on base this season, the Badgers have shown the ability to battle and leave opposing runners on base time and time again.“We do allow runners to get on base, whether it’s walks or errors every once in a while, but I think as a team we’re growing,” Grimm said. “We’re being able to get out of these tough situations.”Another significant strength of this Badger team has been its ability to get consistent production out of the top of the batting order, especially in the power category. One of its hottest hitters is sophomore infielder Shannel Blackshear, who hit the momentum shifting home run in Saturday’s comeback win over Northwestern. In practice this week, Blackshear looks to build off the weekend’s strong performance.“I’m focusing on pitch selection and putting the ball in play and trying to score runs for my team,” Blackshear said. “As a team we’re just focusing on getting the big hits when we have the opportunity.”Another player who is seeing success in the top of the lineup is junior infielder Karla Powell, who leads the Badgers with eight home runs on the season. After both Powell and Blackshear homered in the first game against Northwestern, Healy decided to move them into the three and four spot in the batting order, respectively. The new batting order did not turn in the best results, producing only one hit between the two hitters. However, this will not keep Healy from changing things up in the future.“Coach Healy changes it up every game,” Blackshear said. “She likes to go with what’s working, but I think they go based off what pitchers were going to see and what kind of team we’re playing.”One of the few players who is not carrying much momentum coming into Wednesday’s game is senior outfielder Jennifer Krueger. The senior put together an uncharacteristic performance against Northwestern, going hitless in both games.“Everyone has confidence in [Krueger], so we all know she can do it.” Grimm said. “She just needs to just keep working, and we know she’ll get those hits to come.”While South Dakota State heads into the double-header at Goodman Softball Complex with a record of 8-26, the Badgers have prepared for the Jackrabbits the same as every other team it has faced this season.“We want to win games, so we’re taking each opponent like they’re tough,” Blackshear said. “We’re not going to throw them off to the side.”While the Badgers have a rigorous Big Ten schedule ahead, its double-header against South Dakota State is the only opponent on the Badgers’ mind.“We are taking every single game one at a time,” Blackshear said. “We’re not even looking at the Big Ten right now.”last_img

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