I wonder if any person under 16 years of age has ever done one of the following things as a kid growing up. Have you seen your young child jumping rope, playing hopscotch, riding their bike, playing games like tag or hide and seek? I know the very young might do hide and seek, but that is about as far as it goes. When you go to visit your grandkids, I am sure they are very glad to see you, run and give you a big hug, but after a few minutes grab their electronic devices and sit down and ignore the world around them. When I was a kid, we never sat down. We were always on the run. These simple things like jumping rope and playing hopscotch were excellent exercise. It is beyond my comprehension when I read that a school system has dropped phys ed to save money for the school corporation. This is the only time most kids today ever do anything but sit unless they are athletes. We know that less than 50% of any school’s population participates in a sport. That is why the phys ed classes are so important!
Infielder Shannel Blackshear stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the second inning with the Badgers trailing 3-0 early on against Northwestern in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. The sophomore battled with Wildcat pitcher Jessica Smith, fouling off ball after ball to stay alive, and the persistence paid off.On the 16th pitch of the at-bat, Blackshear connected on her seventh home run of the year to make the score 3-1.“Honestly, I was just trying to foul pitches off and I was doing my best not to let the umpire take control of my at-bat,” Blackshear said. “Anything close, I was going to try and hit it just to stay in that at-bat and change things for my team.”Blackshear’s home run was the first hit of the game for the Badgers, and it was also the turning point, setting the tone for the rest of the game.“Everyone turned to smiles, and everyone thought we’ve actually got a shot here,” head coach Yvette Healy said.Blackshear’s next at-bat went nine pitches (25 total in back-to-back at-bats), exemplifying a patience that is unparalleled by most young power hitters. “This year, I’ve been struggling with swinging at pitches that aren’t good versus the ones that are,” Blackshear said. “I’ve been working really hard to adjust and change that to help my team out.”Blackshear came through again in the bottom of the sixth inning. With bases loaded, the sophomore hit a two-run single up the middle to make the score 8-5. The Badgers rallied and loaded the bases once more in the inning, setting the stage for pinch hitter Dana Rasmussen.“The first thing Coach Snyder said to me as I went on the field was, ‘You’re from Madison; you can do this,’” Rasmussen said. “That lit a spark in me.”With one swing of the bat, Rasmussen hit a triple, her first of the season, to drive in three runs and tie the game.“She’ll never forget that hit,” Healy said. “She’ll be telling her kids about that one.”Rasmussen was hitless in her previous five games, but that didn’t stop Healy and the coaching staff from having the utmost confidence in the senior with the game on line.“She’s a kid who does it in practice,” Healy said. “We did batting practice the other day and she was putting balls over the fence, so we’re proud of her to be able to put it together in a game.”With Rasmussen still on third base in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Badgers weren’t done. It was senior Jordan Wheeler’s turn to contribute, as she laid down a bunt to reach first base and, more importantly, sent home Rasmussen to take the lead, 9-8.“Coming behind [Rasmussen], Jordan was on deck and I said, ‘Put a bunt down here and you’re going to have the game-winning RBI,’” Healy said. “She was able to do that, too, so that’s really fun to see kids coming off the bench do those types of things to win a game.”Krueger goes coldWisconsin experienced d?j? vu as it trailed for much of the second game of the doubleheader. However, the Badgers’ luck ran dry, as they were unable to string together another late-game rally, losing 2-0.Senior outfielder Jennifer Krueger struggled mightily in both games, uncharacteristically going hitless, 0-for-7. Her presence was especially missed in the Badgers’ second game, as they couldn’t manufacture a single run and produced merely three hits.“That’s rare for that to happen,” Healy said. “She’s a great kid, and we’re going to go back to the drawing board and see what kind of adjustments we can make to get her back on track.”