Softball Cards hope for better days

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel

 

The complete turnaround didn’t happen, as hoped.

Oh, Middleton’s girls softball team made some strides this spring. But Cardinals coach Arin Oppermann and her team know there’s a lot of work to be done to become a Big Eight Conference power again.

“This season we had a lot of ups and downs,” Oppermann said. “We are a very capable team and played very well against some of the better teams in the conferences

“I think that if we play like we did against those teams consistently next year, we're going to come out ahead more often than not.”

Middleton finished the year 9-10 overall and lost a regional semifinal to DeForest, 6-5. The Cardinals were also 9-9 in the Big Eight Conference and finished in fifth place.

The Cardinals did heat up down the stretch and carried a four-game winning streak into the postseason. But the Cardinals lost their playoff opener for a second straight year.

“Overall, this was a very enjoyable season,” Oppermann said. “This group of girls was a lot of fun to coach. They love softball and they love their teammates, and I think that makes a huge difference.”

In Oppermann’s first three years, Middleton hasn’t been able to escape the middle of the conference standings. The Cardinals are 28-35 on Oppermann’s watch and 25-28 in the Big Eight.

A rotten spring meant the Cardinals practiced inside for most of the first month. And there were pros and cons with that.

“It was great to have a lot of practice time at the beginning, but then the lack of practice time in between games was tough,” Oppermann said. “As coaches, we would see areas that we needed to work on or go over before the next game, but we wouldn't get the chance because we had another game the next day.

“It's one thing to talk about what needs to be improved on for the next game, but it's another to actually walk through it. The same goes for hitting. As soon as we were able to start practicing again regularly, that's when our bats started being more consistent.”

Oppermann saw plenty of positives throughout the year.

Middleton defeated powerhouse Madison La Follette, 1-0, early in the year. The Cardinals played conference champion Sun Prairie tough the second time around.

And Middleton, which was seeded 12th in the postseason, nearly upended fifth-seeded DeForest.

The Cardinals now say goodbye to standout seniors Leah Wolff and Emily Pomykalski, but should return a solid nucleus in 2014.

“Most girls made some great improvements over the course of this season,” Oppermann said. “And I'm excited to see what they can do next year.”

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