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The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

UWL Softball triumphs in home opener doubleheader against Saint Mary’s (Minn.)

Brooke Howard gets a hit. Photo taken by John Gaynor.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Softball team succeeded in winning both games of their 2024 season home opener against Saint Mary’s (Minn.). The games began at 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. and both games resulted in a UWL victory. 

The Eagles lost to the Cardinals earlier in the year during the preseason but Wednesday, April 10, the Eagles got revenge. Head Coach Samantha Korn believes preparation is everything when it comes to success. “I watched a lot of film, I wanted to prepare my hitters and my defense for whatever they would throw at us,” she said.  

The bats for the Cardinals and the Eagles both started off hot in the first matchup of the day, with each team scoring two runs in the first inning. The Eagles would hold the Cardinals scoreless for the rest of the contest and had multiple quality at-bats in the sixth inning where the Eagles scored six runs. The Eagles’ sixth-inning slugfest included a double from Jordyn Mccormack, and a two-run home run from Anna Jensen to the score to 6-2. Defensively, Elise Weinzerl pitched a complete game and gave up seven hits in 7.0 innings, with most of the hits given up coming in the first inning. With the outing came Weinzierl’s fourth win of the season.  

The second game was filled with as much action as the first, when in the fifth inning Brooke Howard hit a single and stole second base, and later scored on a bunt single from Abbey Bosch. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Eagles scored three runs after a bunt single from Cristin Casey to load the bases and a two-run double from McCormack to make the lead 3 –1. The Eagles’ lead would later be extended to 4-1 after another base hit from Bosch. In the top of the seventh inning, Saint Mary’s responded and knocked in one run but fell short with a final score of 4 – 2. The Cardinals’ effort at the plate wasn’t enough, as Carmen Follette picked up the save and forced two runners to be left on base.  

After playing in the Tuscon Invitational Tournament from March 9 through 15, the Eagles had a 10 -12 record this season. Winning both matchups of the doubleheader on Wednesday means the Eagles improve to a .500 record of 12-12 during Korn’s first season at the helm of the program. 

Third-year student and starting Catcher Nicole Zoellner commented on Korn’s first year as head coach. “It’s definitely been unorthodox, not having a coach until January, but she’s built a great foundation so far,” said Zoellner.
Korn also believes the team is heading in the right direction, but there’s still a ways to go, “Now we’re just looking for wins against conference [opponents]. We didn’t get many earlier in the season but that showed us what we need to work on,” Korn said. 

With more than a month left in the season and inter-conference play right around the corner, the Eagles have nine games left to go and could potentially go on a run for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament title on May 9 – 12. Wednesday’s matchup was the first time so far this season that the Eagles faced an opponent who received votes for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 rankings. 

The Eagles will face more NFCA Top 25 teams this season, with #15 UW-Whitewater, #20 UW-Stevens Point, and #23 UW-Oshkosh still ahead on the team’s schedule. WIAC Conference Tournament play begins on Saturday, April 13 where the Eagles hit the road and will face #23 UW-Oshkosh at 2 p.m. The UWL Softball team’s remaining schedule along with the box scores from both Wednesday matchups can be found online via the UWL Athletics website. 

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About the Contributor
John Gaynor
John Gaynor, Sports Reporter
Year at UWL: Freshman
PGPs: He/Him
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Major: Marketing
Minor: N/A
Other Campus Involvement: Running Club, Track & Field Team
Future Plans after Graduation: Work in the aviation industry
Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Walking near the river
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