In 1912, women began to play indoor baseball for the first time in, Oshkosh. Between 1920 through the later 1940s women participated in baseball in inter-class games on campus as a spring activity. Beginning in the 1930s, women also participated in softball along with baseball. In 1939, the Women's' Athletic Association (WAA) held a softball tournament in the spring where most of the women participated and made it an annual affair.

In 1931 a game called Kittenball, which is similar to softball, started as an inter-society baseball program for males in Oshkosh. Every May from 1939 to 1960, Oshkosh State College held an intramural softball league for males. In May of 1939, the school had a 6 team league, and in 1960, the league had expanded to 10 teams. The popularity of softball grew for both men and women at Oshkosh.

Unnamed softball player sports a relaxed stance, undated.

In 1973 the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh governing body were forced to make the decision between women's softball and women's track as an intercollegiate sport. These officials decided to keep track as an intercollegiate sport because more females participated in track than softball. In the spring of 1977 women's softball returned to Oshkosh and finished the year with a 3-5 record with Kathy Dascola as coach. The following schools within the Wisconsin Women's Interscholastic Athletic Conference had a softball team in 1976: University of Wisconsin Whitewater; University of Wisconsin Parkside; Carthage College; and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. At this time Gail Moshino coached the Oshkosh team.

In 1996, softball moved to a new diamond next to Titan Stadium. Before 1996, the softball team played their games behind Kolf Sport Center.

In recent years, the lady Titans have made an appearance in a number of NCAA Tournaments. The Titans appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1997. In 1988, the Titans took sixth place in the NCAA softball finals.

The Titan softball team has had three NCAA Division III second team All-Americans: Nila Gruenewald in 1985; Jane Morgan 1988; and Jamie Ziegel in 1987. Additionally, the Titans have had 11 players named to the NCAA Division III First Team All-Region. Nine players have been named NCAA Division III Second Team All-Region from the Titans. The Titans have also had four players selected for NCAA Division III Third team All-Region. Titan Softball has had 34 All-WIAC players.

1930-1931 Women's Softball Team

Coach Sharon Panske is in her thirteenth year as softball coach at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and has a 204-185-1 record. Not only is Sharon Panske a coach for the Titans, she also played for the Titans. Coach Panske was named WIAC Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1989. Before Coach Panske, another Titan softball Coach was selected as the WIAC Coach of the Year. Connie Rutledge received this recognition in 1986.

As the softball rosters have changed over the years, so has the softball program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has gone through several changes of its own. With the increases of popularity in women softball, the sport will continue to be a fixture into the next century.

References

The Quiver. (1912 - 1960). Oshkosh Yearbook.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. (1998). Women's Softball Program.

College Softball Loop Play. (1942, April, 21). Oshkosh Daily Northwestern.

10 Team in OSC League. (1960, May, 4). Oshkosh Daily Northwestern.

Intramural Results. (1965, May, 18). Oshkosh Daily Northwestern

Panske, Sharon. (1999, February, 22). Personal Interview.