Softball avenges last year’s loss against UIS team

Lucy LaValley, sports reporter

This past week the Winona State University women’s softball team played four winning games in the span of two days.
Fourth-year pitcher Liz Pautz said the team this year is only improving as the season continues.
“Even though we only have a few games under our belt, it’s easy to see that our offense has insane depth and our defense is relentless,” Pautz said. “We don’t take anything for granted, and we go into every practice or game just thankful that we get to play the sport that we love.”
On Tuesday in Springfield, Illinois the Warriors took on the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) in a double header winning both games.
Winona State has only gone up against UIS one time prior to these two games and lost last year 3-4.
Pautz said they had to make each hit count this week no matter who the opponent was.
“We knew that these were going to be competitive games, so we went into them knowing that every pitch, at bat and play that we made mattered,” Pautz said.
In game one this day, after a slow first inning with zero runs, the Warriors were able to come back and scored 12 runs in the remainder of the game in turn taking the 12-3 win.
Game two this afternoon was one to remember this season, the team scored their season highest of 18 hits and ended the game winning 13-1.
Fourth-year outfielder Katie Kolb said these games were some of the best this season.
“We had a game high of 18 hits,” Kolb said. “We had two solid pitching performances and our teams defense adjusted well to playing outside for the first time this year.”
After the two Illinois games, the Warriors headed down south farther to St. Louis, Missouri to take on University of Missouri, St. Louis the next day in the final two games of the week.
Fourth-year outfielder Carly Nordich said that the team had some expectations going into the set of games.
“The team knew going into that these games would be ones we would have to grind in,” Nordich said. “Each team has great players along with great coaching staff so ensuring we were there and ready to compete was important to us.”
Game one on Wednesday, the Warriors won 6-2 against the Tritons.
Fourth-year Melissa Mullen was the lead in this game making two of three hits.
The following game this day we saw the Warriors get another win under their belt and the game was closer than the one before hand with an ending score of 3-1.
This was Liz Pautz’s first pitching game of the season and she was able to successfully strike out 10 of the opposing team’s players.
After the four wins this week, the Winona State women’s softball team moved up ranks to spot 15 in the National Fastpitch Coach Association (NFCA).
Ending these four games Nordich said the games meant a lot and said they needed to make minor adjustments as the season unfolds.
“We are finally able to get some games in and see that live pitching, and it was great to have that opportunity for all of us to feel what it’s like to compete again,” Nordich said. “There are always pieces to work on in this game, so just making those adjustments as they come and really keeping our competitiveness up is always important.”
As the season proceeds, Kolb talked about the improvements the team needs to make and what’s next for the team.
“We are off to a great start, and we have seen a lot of good things yet understand that improvement is still a process we tend to follow,” Kolb said. “We head down to St. Joe, Missouri for five highly competitive games this upcoming week.”
This coming weekend, starting Friday, the Warriors will begin their games in the Missouri Western Hy-Vee Classic tournament.