UWS softball departs for program’s fifth NCAA tournament

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Sunday they upset the number one team in the conference in Bethany Lutheran College to claim the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) crown, then early Wednesday morning the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS) softball team shipped out to the national tournament.

It’s their program’s fifth overall NCAA DIII playoff berth, and second under three-year head coach Melissa Fracker.

“Our team has been amazing all season with the switches. Our little phrase was ‘you point, we’ll play’ because we had no idea when we were playing, where we were playing, what was happening most of the season because everyone up here knows it was fun this spring,” Fracker laughed.

UWS was only able to host two home doubleheader series this season due to wet field conditions. “I just really think that helped us with adversity to be ready for anything,” Fracker added.

The NCAA format is double elimination, like the UMAC tournament which allowed UWS to rebound from a loss to Bethany Lutheran then win three straight to earn an automatic bid into the national tournament.

That bid earned them a spot in the Oshkosh Regional where they’ll first face Concordia University Wisconsin.

“With the double elimination just keeping our cool in every situation. We’ve been in the loser’s bracket before, we know how to come back. If things don’t go our way, if we don’t go all the way through the winners bracket right away which no one is really expecting based on us being the four seed, then just reconizing that we’ve done the double elimination,” junior pitcher Tayler Kraemer said.

Sophomore infielder Izzy Lingle added, “we have a really super deep bench. I know we pick each other up to the best of our abilities, we’ve got super good team chemisty. I think we’re more of a family than anything.”

UWS opens regional play Thursday. First pitch against Concordia Wisconsin is set for 3:30 p.m. at the UW-Oshkosh Softball Park.