Titan softball places third in WIAC

Michael Johrendt

The UW Oshkosh women’s softball team had one goal throughout the 2015 season: winning the Conference Championship and getting the automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament. Sunday, May 3 was the third round of the conference tournament, and after the team won its first two games Friday and Saturday, it faced off against UW-River Falls for the chance to advance to the championship game later that day. The game was a hard fought contest, and the teams were tied 2-2 in regular innings. Freshman third baseman Erika Berry had a double and freshman centerfielder Brianna Witter drove in a run in the extra innings. “Overall, we exceeded people’s expectations of how we would do this season,” junior outfielder Hayden Krueger said. “I believe that was our greatest accomplishment this year.” Because the tournament was played in a double elimination format, the Titans still had another chance against UW-Whitewater later in the day. However, they fell to the Warhawks, 8-0 in five innings. Krueger had a double, and pitchers Clare Robbe and Sara Brunlieb combined to strike out three Warhawks while only walking two. “I am extremely proud of my team and everything we accomplished this season,” Brunlieb said. “ I am sure everyone else on the team can say the same thing. No one expected us to do as well as we did or end up 30-12. We showed a lot of people how good we can be and proved a lot of them wrong. We were definitely a close-knit group and I think that helped us accomplish our goals.” Against La Crosse on Friday, the Titans got offensive help from Berry, Krueger and senior catcher Katie Koepsel, as they all drove in runs, with Koepsel driving in two on her two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Titans won 4-1. On Saturday, the Titans and UW-Stout faced off with Oshkosh prevailing 3-0. Stout was held to 3 hits in the game. Brunlieb registered her 21st win of the season, striking out three and walking only one. Koepsel, senior outfielder Emily Mallek and Kimberly Lohre all had doubles and junior shortstop Haley Bayreuther, Witter and Lohre all drove in runs for the Titans. “UW Oshkosh softball has a ton of great things coming next year,” Koepsel said. “The amount of potential that we have is just as good as anyone in the [Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference]. They will do great things next year and will have my full support.” The Titans finished third in the conference tournament and third overall in the WIAC season standings. Their record was 30-12, their conference record was 12-4 and they hit .309 on the season with 41 home runs.