Green Bay softball set to host Horizon League Championships | WFRV
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The UW-Green Bay softball program will host the Horizon League Softball Championships as the fifth seed starting Wednesday.
The Phoenix have had an up-and-down season thus far. During the midpoint way, the team went on a 1-12 skid but surged late in the season. Green Bay won eight of their final nine conference games to earn a postseason bid in the conference tournament.
“I asked the team when we had three series left, to go 7-2 and I thought that would get us in the conference tournament. We ended up going 8-1, which exceeded our expectations, and every time we kept changing the goal. We’re now hosting, which is a goal accomplished, and now we’re continuing to push the limits,” head coach Sara Kubuske told Local 5 News.
The word ‘believe’ kept powering the Phoenix late in the season. Green Bay had a stretch with four consecutive walk-off victories proving just how gritty of a team they truly are. Although the Phoenix posted a 21-29 overall record, it was their 12-10 conference record that helped continue their season.
Green Bay was powered by two conference stand outs. Senior outfielder Tiffany Giese was named the Horizon League Player of the Year on Tuesday and catcher/infielder Paige Hanson was awarded Freshman of the Year.
Giese batted .338 as the team’s lead off hitter stealing 25 bases and appearing in every game. Hanson posted an impressive .313 average as a freshman with two home runs and 19 RBI.
“Tiffany has been a consistent table setter for us. She’s our steady person. She’s our leadoff hitter. She’s someone who has worked hard for everything she has achieved and I couldn’t be happier for her,” Kubuske expressed. “Paige, as a freshman, had no idea it was coming. She was completely caught off guard… The raw emotion she showed was something I’ll never forget.”
“We’re on the rise. It’s really cool to come here and put our name out there. It’s really special what we’re doing. I’m really proud of this team and this coaching staff”, Giese explained.
“When I heard the news – I was shocked. Very shocked, but then I was just filled with gratitude. It’s a really special opportunity to be here and to be nominated for that award,” Hanson said.
As conference award winners were named this week, senior Brittany Baneck’s efforts can’t go unnoticed on the mound. The Preble grad posted her lowest ERA of her career this season with a 2.59 and 106 strikeouts in 137.2 innings pitched.
“I try and lead as much as I can when I’m on the mound as well as when I’m in the dugout,” Baneck said.
The last time the Green Bay softball program earned a bid in the NCAA D1 Tournament came in 2014. Earning a bid this week would mean a lot to the program.
“It wasn’t too long ago that we weren’t even in the conference tournament. So, I think they’re very hungry and I think they’re very anxious. They’re excited to be at home,” Kubuske said.
#5 Green Bay will face off against #4 IUPUI at King Park Wednesday, May 10, at 12:00 p.m.