After winning every game in the Finlandia Invitational, the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point softball team lost 8 of 12 games in the National Training Center Games. They followed up with a sweep of Marion College and dropped a series to the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.
Now the team will look to get some wins Thursday against the University of Wisconsin -Whitewater. Point currently stands at 10-10, winless in conference play after falling to Eau Claire last weekend. Following the road trip to Whitewater, UWSP will play their home opener Friday against the University of Wisconsin - River Falls.
"River Falls is bringing back a lot of talent from last year’s team, including their ace pitcher, Rose Tusa and their good outfielder Amanda Ryder," said junior third basemen Katie Shulfer.
Last year, Point was 7-3 at home, 10-3 in neutral sites, and 6-9 away. Sophomore pitcher Bekah Rennicke leads the Pointers so far with a .400 batting average in 40 at-bats. Junior first baseman Katie Krueger leads Point with 14 RBI.
The Pointers are batting slightly less than their competition with a team batting average of .293 compared to .297 by opponents. Point has hit nine home runs so far this season with senior catcher/outfielder Kelly Arndt leading the way with four home runs.
"One thing to improve on is when we have runners in scoring position, we need to come through with those huge hits to bring them across home plate and add runs to our score," Shulfer said.
Whitewater got the best of Point last year, taking the only two games the teams played against each other. The first game Whitewater won by a score of 3-2, followed by a 2-1 victory.
In those games, Whitewater dominated in hits with a combined 16 compared to Point’s 11. Both of those games took place at Point as well as this year’s games. Warhawk senior pitcher Jessica Stang had the hot hand against Point last year, throwing 14 strikeouts in the two game series.
The 2012 roster includes just one senior, Arndt, and 12 underclassmen. In addition to the team’s youth, Head Coach Jill Millis is entering her first year at the helm of the Pointers. Former student-athlete and current student assistant coach Megan Tracy is also entering her first year as a coach.
"We’ve been gearing up for this part of the season with preparation dating back to our fall practices and from starting practices right when semester two began," Shulfer said. "Our bodies know what to expect from this preparation and we’re ready to show what we’ve got in this short period of time."