Switch pays off for 3rd baseman

first_imgImagine that after writing with your right hand your entirelife, a professor says you need to write with your left hand for his or herclass. It would be a daunting, frustrating task, wouldn’t it?That is the challenge that has faced junior Theresa Borutathis season. The third baseman for Wisconsin’s softball team has batted fromthe right side of the plate her entire life, but this season she was asked toflip it around and start hitting lefty.“She wasn’t making a lot of progress on the right side,but she is really quick, which can be a big asset in softball,” head coachChandelle Schulte said of the decision to bat Boruta lefty. “I asked herif she might want to try the left side, and she totally bought into it. Shesaid, ‘I will do whatever you need me to do.’”The switch appears to have worked. After two seasons at UW,Boruta had a career batting average of .193 and was struggling to consistentlyget on base. This season, batting lefty, Boruta is second on the team with a.266 batting average and is a fixture in the second spot of the batting order.She is also currently on a career-high five-game hitting streak.“It is not the easiest thing in the world, and the keyis to know what your job is,” Boruta said of switching to the left side.“The key is to put it in play and run as fast as you can to first base,because you are closer to first base from the left side of the plate.Thankfully, I have been able to make contact and then let my speed get me onbase.”After a slow start, Boruta has been steadily improving. Overher last 10 games she is batting .303.“I am really excited to see her next year,”Schulte said. “She has only been doing this for four months, and look howwell she has done already. I think that she has improved more this year thanany other player on our team.”To go along with a switch offensively, Boruta is theBadgers’ starting third baseman, a position she had never played before thisseason.“She has always been a journeyman for us, playing alittle outfield, some second base, and she has even pitched for usbefore,” Schulte said. “In the offseason we told her that we wouldfind a permanent home for her, so she could commit to getting better at thatposition.”In softball, third base is one of the most difficultpositions to play defensively. Good third basemen require strong arms to makethe throw from third to first, but they also need to be quick because much oftheir time is spent covering bunts.“I really like third base, but I have made some errorsbecause I had never played it before college,” Boruta said. “You needto be quick because slappers are going to try and get it through that five-sixhole. I enjoy it a lot, because there are a lot of boom-boom plays where you justneed to react and not think.”Along with her contributions on the field, Boruta is theteam’s most vocal player off the field.“It has always been my personality, and I try to keeppeople up and keep people motivated,” Boruta said. “They say thatlaughter is contagious, and so I hope that people follow my lead because it isthe most important thing for everyone to have fun.”“Theresa has matured tremendously in that leadershiprole,” Schulte added. “She has always been boisterous, but now sheknows when to speak her mind. She has come of age, in the sense that she is notjust vocal for the sake of being vocal.”It is very important to have a talkative, optimisticteammate, especially when a team is having a down year. UW is only 2-10 in theBig Ten, and Boruta views it as her job to keep the team smiling.“It is extremely hard to have fun when you arelosing,” Boruta said. “Hopefully, when they see someone coming inevery day having a great time and working hard, the team will stay motivated.If you keep that positive attitude, others will pick it up and stay positivetoo.”last_img