Softball struggles in late innings


first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoOne of the nagging problems all year for the Wisconsinsoftball team popped up again Saturday as the team failed to close out a winafter leading for much of the game.The Badgers gave up a lead in each game of Saturday’s twinbill against Ohio State, including a devastating 6-3 loss in game one.With its postseason hopes on the line and a 3-0 leadentering the seventh inning, UW was unable to put the Buckeyes away as pitcherLeah Vanevenhoven allowed six runs in the inning.“Losing that game was so heartbreaking,” freshman Livi Abneysaid. “We thought we had it; we went in with a 3-0 lead and we just weren’table to get it done for some reason.”Similarly, two weekends ago, the Badgers played adoubleheader at Illinois, during which they enjoyed a lead in both games beforeletting the Illini rally back for victories.In the game one, Wisconsin took a 2-1 lead into the bottomof the sixth inning. Unfortunately, Vanevenhoven gave up a two-run home runover center fielder Sarah Bryers, giving the Illini a 3-2 lead they would notrelinquish.The second game was much the same as the first, but theIllini did not wait as long to overtake the Badgers’ lead. With a 3-0 lead inthe bottom of the third, Wisconsin allowed six runs – including a three-runhome run by Bryers, which again knocked Vanevenhoven out of the game.Earlier in the week, Wisconsin had traveled to South Bend,Ind. for a nonconference matchup with Notre Dame. Much like the Illini series,the Irish rallied back from five down in the fourth to crush the Badgers 11-5.“One of the things we’ve needed to work on all year isputting the nail in the coffin,” junior Theresa Boruta said. “It’s alwaysdisappointing and it’s one of the most frustrating things that can happen to ateam.”Two things have occurred often in the Badgers late losses:an inability to keep the ball in the park and significant defensive miscues.One game that exemplified these problems for the Cardinaland White was the April 9 home matchup with Northern Iowa. Although Wisconsinnever led in the game, Vanevenhoven carried a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings.In the seventh inning of that game, an Abney errorcontributed to a Northern Iowa rally. If not for the error, Vanevenhoven likelywould have gotten out of the inning with the no-hit bid intact. Instead, thejunior allowed a three-run home run before recording the third out.“It was disappointing,” assistant coach Julie Wright said afterthe loss. “We played well up until the breakdown with the error. Quite frankly,that lost the game for us.”Another problem in these losses has been the inability ofthe Wisconsin offense to make comebacks. In the previously mentioned losses, UWmanaged to come back in only one game – the second game against Illinois – butstill came up short in that contest.A great example of this is the second game against PennState on April 13. Vanevenhoven pitched brilliantly throughout, allowing onlytwo runs. Yet, after the Nittany Lions scored in the top of the sixth, theBadgers went down in order in each of the last two innings.“We just failed to adjust to what she was throwing,” juniorValyncia Raphael said following the game. “She was throwing us a lot more junkthan we saw in the first game. She threw more stuff off the plate and changedspeeds a lot. We struggled to adjust to the tempo of the game.”Of course, with Saturday’s win in game two, the Badgersfinally were able to overcome the things that had plagued them for much of theseason.This time, rather than succumb to the Buckeyes’ late rally,the Badgers did something they hadn’t done in a long time – make a seventhinning comeback.After giving up two runs in the top of the seventh –something all too familiar to UW – Wisconsin rallied back in the bottom of theinning, scoring three runs to win it on Boruta’s infield single.The win was the first for the Badgers in their last at-batsince Raphael beat Princeton with a walk-off home run on March 23.“It felt absolutely great and we needed it, especiallyconsidering the way the first game went,” Boruta said of the win. “Being ableto bounce back is always a good thing; it’s always a momentum builder.”?last_img read more

Messi: I dream of winning the World Cup


first_imgArgentina international Lionel Messi has admitted that he dreams of guiding his country to World Cup glory in Brazil next year.Alejandro Sabella’s men beat Paraguay 5-2 on Tuesday evening to seal qualification for next summer’s showpiece and the Barcelona star is eager to follow in the footsteps of Diego Maradona and steer la Albiceleste to their first world title since 1986.“I dream of winning the World Cup. We all do in Argentina. But there is still a long way to go,” Messi told reporters after his side’s away victory over Paraguay.“We got what we wanted, but it was difficult to play here. The most important thing was to qualify as soon as possible.“We want to continue like this and we want to keep winning.”Messi also briefly reacted to rumours that Barcelona have asked the Argentine football association (Afa) to leave the attacker out of the squad for their remaining two World Cup qualifiers and stressed that he always wants to play for the national team. “I don’t know anything about that. I always want to play for Argentina.”last_img read more