Whitewater baseball remains atop WIAC

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Tom Miller
Thursday, May 4, 2017

For the first time in what seems like a month, Wednesday featured sunshine and warm temperatures.

So why was the UW-Whitewater baseball doubleheader against nonconference Benedictine (Ill.) University canceled?

Warhawks coach John Vodenlich said Benedictine had a scheduling conflict within its conference that caused the school to call off its trip to Whitewater.

The Warhawks might benefit from having the two games off. The first-place team in the WIAC is set to play second-place UW-Oshkosh in a pair of doubleheaders Friday and Saturday on the Titans' field.

The Warhawks will then remain in the Fox River Valley for a nonconference doubleheader Sunday at Midwest Conference member St. Norbert.

That's six games in three days to end the regular season.

So why would the Warhawks want to play a nonconference doubleheader Wednesday?

Vodenlich seemed offended that it was even suggested the Warhawks would have stepped out of Wednesday's games. He takes the “whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger” approach.

Vodenlich said St. Norbert will be in the same situation as the Warhawks, coming off weekend doubleheaders against Lawrence. Both squads likely will be digging deep into their bench Sunday.

And Vodenlich believes any baseball that can be played, should be played.

“When you look back as a senior and know you could have played two or four more games, but you didn't because of weather, you can never get those games back,” Vodenlich said. “So, on behalf of the seniors, I always try to play a whole schedule. So I was disappointed when Illinois Benedictine called.”

No matter what happens in Oshkosh on Friday and Saturday, and then in the WIAC Tournament, Vodenlich is confident the Warhawks will be in the NCAA Tournament again.

“More than I have in the past,” Vodenlich said. “For the past five to 10 years, we've been so consistent on how we've played for the bulk of the season. We would play the last couple of weeks, knowing we had qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

“You never want to assume anything, but when you have the type of seasons we've had, there is a good chance. We were ranked No. 1 in the region again.”

The Warhawks (13-3) lead Oshkosh (11-5) by two games with a pair of doubleheaders set on the Titans' field Friday and Saturday.

Vodenlich says his pitching rotation is six deep, but that the lineup hasn't hit consistently.

The Warhawks will need to at least split to have the WIAC Tournament at Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium next week.

“There have been times that we haven't played that well,” Vodenlich said. “And there are times that we have played very well. Going into this weekend, I know that if we play our kind of baseball, we will do well.”

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