NIU up next for Badgers

first_imgCatcher Maggie Strange tags out a runner in the Badgers\’ win over South Dakota State. UW hosts NIU today for a doubleheader.[/media-credit]Stepping away from conference play for a bit, the University of Wisconsin softball team continues its home stand Tuesday against Northern Illinois today at Goodman Diamond.The Badgers are coming off a two-game series that resulted in a split with Purdue and their only Big Ten win in 10 tries.Wisconsin (11-25) will face a weaker team in Northern Illinois (18-24) than they would against a conference opponent, and Wisconsin has fared better in nonconference play with a 10-16 record as opposed to 1-9 in the Big Ten.Additionally, despite the Huskies holding a better overall record than the Badgers, UW has a better record against common opponents at 5-3, while Northern Illinois is 4-5.If there is one thing the Badgers need to work on this series, it is their hitting at the bottom of the order. Whether players need to be moved around in the order or different players need to be introduced remains to be seen until Tuesday, as head coach Chandelle Schulte was not available for comment over the weekend or Monday.What the players know is they need to stay positive and continue encouraging each other.“I think you just got to keep pumping each other up,” senior Katie Soderberg said. “Somebody’s up before you, you got to tell them to be aggressive and if they’re hacking away, then you’re going to feed off of that, and you’re going to hack away, and we’ve just got to keep rolling.”Aside from the two games against South Dakota State, in which the number 5-9 hitters combined for 11 hits, that same part of the order has only managed 13 hits between five people in six games at home against quality opponents.Even with the South Dakota State games included, that’s only 0.6 hits per player per game in the first eight games of this Badger home stand. Their lack of hitting included a penchant for strikeouts, as the bottom of the order has 22 in the same time span compared to only nine walks.Two players who exemplify this trend are freshman Kendall Grimm, who has gone 5-for-22, and sophomore Karla Powell, who has hit 2-of-20 in the last eight games. With Powell moving off first base and switching places with offensive leader and former designated hitter Molly Spence, her position at DH may be in jeopardy.“We’ve just got to make sure they each know what their specific goal is,” senior ace Letty Olivarez said of struggling set of hitters. “I feel like they were thinking a little bit too much. They’re just going to have to fix that in practice.”The top of the order has been strong, though, with Whitney Massey and Molly Spence hitting the ball particularly well. Jen Krueger is still struggling compared to last season, but most of the runs and RBIs have been scored or knocked in by the first four hitters.Fatigue may be a factor, as the Badgers have played eight games in ten days. Soderberg mentioned a lack of intensity in their loss to Purdue on Sunday.“I just felt like we were quiet in the first inning,” Soderberg said. “I felt like we had to find the energy from somewhere, and it was really hard.”Catcher Maggie Strange felt the same way.“Obviously we came out on top [Saturday], we came out on fire,” Strange said following Sunday’s loss. “Today we just couldn’t get that fire lit.”Olivarez has been the workhorse for Wisconsin all season, logging 157 innings — the next closest Badger has 41 — and she was pulled in the fourth inning, though she claimed it had more to do with the Purdue hitters and a tighter strike zone than her arm and fatigue. One way to combat both hitters and fatigue is to put batters away early, and Olivarez is focused on doing just that.“I’ve got to just make sure I get ahead,” Olivarez said. “If you don’t get ahead on the batters, it’s not really the easiest to come out with a groundout or something like that. Once I get behind, they’re expecting my pitch and by that time, they usually can foul me off.”last_img read more

Viscarra’s Vice: Fall Classic already an undisputed treasure

first_imgAngel Viscarra | Daily TrojanAward-winning sports columnist Rick Reilly often reflects and speaks on an experience of his in which the stage was just “too big.” Whenever Reilly reminisces about the 1986 Masters, when Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket, he mentions a media member who held his head and uttered, “It’s too big. I can’t write it,” as Nicklaus won his 18th and final major championship. Media members that day in Augusta, Ga., including Reilly himself, admit they had no clue how they were going to encapsulate the historical significance of what had just occurred in front of them — while hitting deadline for their stories. I have a similar feeling I type out this column. To write a column on the brilliance of this year’s World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers is intimidating. Through the first five episodes of the 2017 Fall Classic, millions of spectators worldwide have been captivated and honed in on every pitch thrown, ball hit and ball fielded. Entering this series, we all knew these two teams each had the makeup and track record to make this an iconic Fall Classic. Rarely in sports does a great series on paper translate to a great series on the field of play. All the elements have been there. This series includes Cy Young winners, league MVPs, batting title champions, All-Stars and more on both sides. For the first time since 1970, this series includes two teams that boasted 100-plus wins in the regular season.This World Series has been the epitome of a heavyweight title bout between the two undisputedly best teams in baseball. This is Ali-Frazier. Through five games, both sides have thrown — and connected on — several devastating haymakers. The most recent installment of this series, Sunday night’s Game 5, was a contest that will be immortalized in baseball lore. Alex Bregman dumped a 10th-inning walk-off single over the head of Corey Seager into short left field that was the finishing blow for the Dodgers in a 13-12 loss in extra innings. Bregman, who homered off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen the night before in Game 4, once again torching the all-world reliever to give Houston a 3-2 series lead.A five-hour, 17-minute slugfest, Game 5 gave baseball and non-baseball enthusiasts everything they could hope for in a postseason contest. It was the Cy-Young pitching matchup that saw neither pitcher survive through five innings. It was a game with huge leads, blown leads, regained leads and, in the end for the Dodgers, leads again painfully lost.Per ESPN, Houston became just the fifth team in World Series history to rally from three deficits in a game (two of which were three-run deficits) to win it in the end. But Los Angeles also displayed resilience and a flair for the dramatic, rallying for three runs in the ninth to force extra innings. It must be said, Games 1 through 5 of this Fall Classic have all been incredible to take in. This brings me back to my Reilly reference. In many ways, this series has been just “too big” to handle as both a media member and a Dodgers supporter. While it is not over yet, it wouldn’t be fool’s gold to say that this year’s Fall Classic will go down as one of the finest ever played. Houston, coming together as a community after facing natural tragedy, is hungry for its first title in franchise history. Meanwhile, the Dodgers appear to finally have the right puzzle pieces to end their nearly three-decades-long World Series drought since the start of the season. The Astros will enter the confines of Dodger Stadium Tuesday night with a 3-2 series lead — nine innings away from hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy. Game 6 will be just the fifth World Series game ever played on Halloween night. No team has ever clinched a World Series title on Halloween, and the Dodgers are certainly hoping this will still ring true when they wake up on Wednesday morning. Los Angeles will needback-to-back victories to secure its first World Series trophy since 1988. A day marked by ghosts, ghouls and goblins, Halloween is the annual holiday centered around fear. The Dodgers themselves encounter a scary reality Tuesday night: going up against Astros pitcher Justin Verlander in an elimination game and facing a Houston lineup loaded with ERA-killers like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.Tuesday night’s contest will end one of two ways: The Dodgers will either be the character in the horror flick who is brutally slain in the dark forest, or they will emerge as the resilient survivor who withstood the violent onslaught, which in this case would be surviving to see a Game 7. Halloween baseball at its finest. Angel Viscarra is a junior studying broadcast and digital journalism. His column, Viscarra’s Vice, runs Tuesdays.last_img read more

Study to look at downtown improvements

first_imgThe city of Fort St. John could become a more welcoming environment after Council passed a motion, Monday, to fund a study looking into revitalizing the downtown core.The study would be to generate a long-term plan to create “a vibrant area that is attractive to business, shoppers and residents.”Although there have been several groups formed to look into similar studies over the years, no concrete plans have come out of them.- Advertisement -Councillor Bruce Christensen raised concerns at the meeting over having studies done that aren’t seen through. Councillor Larry Evans said there had been one study done in the early 1980s but that it was met with opposition and so was never realized.Mayor Bruce Lantz said he believes this study will be different it will take input from various groups.[asset|aid=3052|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=c60bc6f2496afa9e8bfe0841c434d1af-Lantz- Downtown Revitalization_1_Pub.mp3] Advertisement Councillor Lori Ackerman said that any projects that result would most likely be done in phases over several years, so the funding would be spread out over that time. He said that although the groups will be decided at a later time, he thinks groups like the City, the Chamber of Commerce, property owners and the general public will probably all be able to take part in the discussions.Currently, $95,000 of the study budget is coming through grants and Lantz said a further $55,000 is coming from the city.He said if certain projects are chosen out of the study, the total cost could be in the millions of dollars, which would also come from various sources, but may still include taxpayer money.[asset|aid=3053|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=c60bc6f2496afa9e8bfe0841c434d1af-Lantz – Downtown Revitalization 2_1_Pub.mp3] Advertisementlast_img read more