Regular season champion University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will put its 18-game winning streak on the line as it challenges five league foes, including UW Oshkosh, in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Women’s Softball Tournament May 7 and 8 in Oshkosh.
As many as 11 games will be played over two days at the Oshkosh Sports Complex, 450 Josslyn St., and Oshkosh North High School, 1100 W. Smith Ave. Each site begins the double-elimination event with a game at 10 a.m. Friday. Action begins at one or both of the venues at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Games will also be played at noon, 2 p.m. and possibly 4 p.m. at the Oshkosh Sports Complex. The winner of the WIAC Tournament receives the league’s automatic bid to the 60-team NCAA Division III Championship.
UW-La Crosse (32-6), ranked 21st in the NCAA Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, finished the conference slate with a perfect 16-0 record to earn its first WIAC title. The Eagles hold the top seed and will face sixth-seeded UW-River Falls in the opening round. UW-La Crosse captured last season’s WIAC Tournament title with a 2-0 win over UW-Superior in the final.
2007 WIAC Tournament champion UW-Eau Claire (19-19) earned this year’s second seed after achieving an 11-5 record in WIAC play. Despite dropping 10 straight non-conference games early in the year, the Blugolds bounced back to capture 10-of-12 contests late in the season. The Blugolds open tournament play against fifth-seeded UW Oshkosh.
The team that went undefeated during last year’s conference season, UW-Whitewater (27-13/10-6 WIAC), is seeded third. The Warhawks won their first six WIAC contests as well as earning victories in their last four. UW-Whitewater begins its journey against fourth-seeded UW-Superior (25-9-1/9-7 WIAC).
2008 WIAC Tournament champion UW Oshkosh (21-19/9-7 WIAC) made a late surge, winning 10-of-13 games, to qualify for this year’s event. The Titans feature 2009 WIAC Position Player of the Year Whitney Tornow, this year’s conference leader in batting (.518), runs batted in (45), slugging percentage (.938), doubles (19) and walks (37). Amie Heinzelman adds another potent weapon with nine home runs, 42 runs batted in and a .379 batting average. UW Oshkosh’s pitching staff includes 13 victories by Courtney Wautier.
One of three squads to also post a 9-7 conference record is UW-River Falls (24-14). The Falcons concluded WIAC play with the best team batting average (.352) and the premier team earned run average (2.05).
Jessica Lundgren (.466), Ashley Goettl (.446) and Patty Olson (.435) occupy three of the top seven spots hitting standings in the league. Two of the top pitchers also play for UW-River Falls, as Rose Tusa (14-8 record, 1.58 earned run average) and Nicole Osmonson (2-1 record, 1.75 earned run average) have shut down offenses all year.
For more tournament information, visit www.titans.uwosh.edu/2010WIACSoftballTournament/index.php or www.wiacsports.com.