Softball Team Not Satisfied With Early Season Improvement
Will Rossmiller - Twitter @willrossmiller

softball4-13.jpgWith only half of their games completed, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point softball team already has as many wins this year compared to all of last season.

The Pointers own a record of 15-5 after their trip to Florida during spring break and their first taste of conference action last weekend. Last year, the team ended with a 14-24 record with only three conference wins.

“It shows how hard the girls worked over the offseason,” said Head Coach Jill Millis. “They really took it to heart and wanted to improve.”

Senior pitcher Michelle Jones has also seen a change for the better in this team. “We’re making huge strides from last year,” Jones said. “It’s a great outlook on things to come for this season.”

Millis also points out that the team is still not satisfied with just being better than last year.

“Yes, we surpassed where we were last year, but that’s not good enough. We want to keep pushing and pushing to see what we can do,” Millis said. “The players just want to win.”

The improvement of the team hit a climax last weekend when Jones tossed the sixth perfect game in UWSP softball history.

“It was very cool and very exciting,” Jones said. “I’m really glad that I got to share that with my teammates.”

Jones only tallied five strikeouts and went on to say that without the defense backing her up, the perfect game wouldn’t have been possible. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Millis was thrilled to witness Jones’s performance. “She was incredibly efficient,” Millis said.

Jones averaged only nine pitches per inning according to Millis.

“She didn’t mow them down, but she did a great job of hitting her spots and getting the hitters to hit her pitch,” Millis said.

Millis also said that it was interesting to see the team participate in the perfect game superstition. “Nobody said anything while we were in the dugout,” Millis said.

The team’s hitting and fielding has also improved.

Senior third baseman Katie Shulfer said that the team has improved their hitting with runners in scoring position. “Most of the time we have been able to bring runners in instead of leaving them out there,” Shulfer said.

Millis said that the fielding has been a big improvement this season as well. “It’s huge for pitchers to pitch with confidence when they know that their defense has got their back and they don’t have to strike everybody out,” Millis said.

As is the case with every team, there are still some aspects that the team can improve on. Both the coach and players explained that consistency and discipline were points the team hoped to improve on.

“We need to be consistent on both sides of the ball,” Millis said. “Our defense has improved, but has been inconsistent. When our defense has been inconsistent this season, those have been the games we’ve lost.”

Discipline at the plate is also something the team is working on. “We need to become more disciplined and not swing at pitches out of the strike zone,” Jones said.

“We need to swing at good pitches, not at pitches that the opposing pitcher wants us to chase,” Millis said.

They have some work to do, but Shulfer is confident in the team’s ability to make adjustments and continue improving.

“I think that we have a great team this year. Everything that doesn’t look good right now is fixable,” Shulfer said.