Clutch base running late in game makes difference for UW

first_imgThroughout the first six plus innings of Wednesday night’s Badger victory over the Northern Illinois Huskies, it looked as if the game was headed towards another extra inning affair. The Badgers had yet to record a single hit, while senior Leah Vanevenhoven had only conceded two hits. It was in the sixth inning when the entire dynamic of the game changed.After a leadoff single by Husky first baseman Bailey Ouelette and a sacrifice bunt that advanced her to second, third basemen Emily Gooding ripped a ball to the hole at shortstop. Badger shortstop Katie Soderberg bobbled the ball but collected herself in enough to time to throw out Gooding. Had she fumbled the ball any longer, the Huskies would have had runners at the corners with one out, and the Badgers would have potentially faced a late inning deficit, a scenario the Badgers have struggled with so mightily this season.As it turned out, because of the solid pitching of Vanevenhoven, who struck out seven while only allowing three hits, the Badgers escaped the top half of the inning unscathed. “The first couple innings they were getting runners on and I was like I can’t let them score because we’re not getting any hits but later on we just got the momentum,” Vanevenhoven said.In the bottom half of the inning, still searching for their first hit of the game off of Morgan Bittner, Ashley Hanewich stepped to the plate. Hanewich, who doesn’t play often, has 13 hits on the season, seven of which were for extra bases. She broke up the no-hitter bid, knocked her eighth extra base hit of the year, and set up the Badgers for a late inning rally which would most likely give them their 14th victory of the year, when she smashed a double down the left field line over the outstretched glove of Emily Gooding. The ball was hit so hard that were it not for an errant swipe by the Husky second baseman upon receiving the throw from the outfielder, Hanewich would have been out and the rally stymied.“She should have been out but she made a brilliant slide,” Schulte said.After a perfectly-executed sacrifice bunt by Vanevenhoven, the Badgers’ top hitter, Jen Krueger, came to bat with a runner on third and one out. Although she had been dependable all year, a questionably called third strike sent the Badger leadoff hitter down.After seeing many of her teammates strike out looking on the day, Theresa Boruta aggressively jumped on the first pitch see saw, a changeup, and sent it back up the middle to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.“I knew I was going to get a changeup,” Boruta said. “The practice before the game we kind of work on things that the pitcher was going to throw.”Boruta then stole second and advanced to third on Livi Abney’s single in the same spot Boruta had smacked hers.“Theresa was the right kid at the right time to make that happen,” Schulte said.With runners on the corners, and two down, Schulte called a delayed double steal. Livi ran slowly towards second base, baiting Husky catcher Michelle Williams to throw the ball all the way down. As soon as she threw the ball, Boruta took off from third, seeking to snag the second run of the ball game.“Her and Livi played it off perfectly,” Schulte said. “Her job is draw the throw and at least force the run so that even if she’s out at least we get the run.”The return home throw would have caught Boruta had she not executed a flawless hook slide. Instead of leading with her feet, she slid past home plate because the catcher had it blocked, and hooked her left arm around catching the backside of the plate and scoring the Badgers a needed insurance run.Vanevenhoven struck out the next two batters and fielded a grounder to end the game.last_img read more