UWO softball finishes third in WIAC

Michael Johrendt

With a chance to clinch a share of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship, the UW Oshkosh women’s softball team won three of four games this past week. However, three wins were not enough to secure the title, and UWO finished third in the conference and earned the third seed in the conference tournament. On Saturday, April 25 the Titans had their first two games of a four-game series. They went up against Ripon College and held them to no runs in both games, while scoring 13 and 9 runs, respectively. Pitcher Sara Brunlieb held Ripon to two hits while striking out five on the way to her 18th win of the season. Junior shortstop Haley Bayreuther had a triple and a home run with 3 RBIs. “Losing our spot for first was definitely not easy to take,” freshman Clare Robbe said. “However, we were never thought to be even close to where we finished. We know how good of a team we are, we know we can compete with any team put in front of us.” Krueger said she tried to keep the energy that got her last week’s Player of the Week award in the weekend games. “I try to keep them focused during practice and in games by reminding them just to play loose and have some fun,” Krueger said. “As a team, we have really good energy, which makes it easy for me to get pumped up, so I give all the credit to my teammates.” In the two games on April 26, they split a double-header with UW-La Crosse, winning the first and dropping the last. With the split, the Titans finished the regular season 12-4 in conference and 28-10 overall. The first game brought the Titans their third consecutive win, 5-1. Freshmen Erika Berry and Brianna Witter had doubles, and Krueger went 3-for-3. Brunlieb became the first Titan pitcher since 2008 to win 19 games. She also had a career-best 10 strikeouts in a game. “Honestly, I’m not the type of person that notices my statistics during the game because I just play in the moment,” Brunlieb said. Brunlieb said she hopes the team can stay focused as the playoffs approach. “I’m hoping that I continue to do well as we get into the playoffs and I know my team will be there to support both offensively and defensively,” Brunlieb said. “We are ready more now than ever. It’s a start to hopefully a great post-season and time to take care of business. As long as we play like we can and continue to play ourselves, we will be set.” In the second game, La Crosse scored five runs in the third and fourth innings to erase the Titans’ early lead. Krueger had a double, and senior outfielder Emily Mallek had two doubles to lead the Titans in a 3-5 defeat. The Titans will face La Crosse in the first round of the WIAC Championship Tournament on Friday, May 1.