first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald photoAlthough the weight of her contributions may not always show up in the following day’s box score, the effects of losing Lynn Anderson to a leg injury were certainly felt throughout Wisconsin’s weekend series with No. 8 Northwestern. The junior shortstop’s fluid defense and strong throwing arm have been on display all season long and have gone largely unheralded. But as the saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”After bearing the brunt of a hard slide at second base against Illinois-Chicago last Tuesday, Anderson stayed in the game without giving it a second thought. But her leg injury was evidently more severe than was originally diagnosed, as stiffness and swelling forced Anderson to watch UW’s two weekend defeats from the bench. Just when it seemed that the Badgers’ one-through-nine was firing on all cylinders as a cohesive unit, Anderson’s ill-timed injury forced head coach Chandelle Schulte to shuffle her starting lineup. Regular third baseman Athena Vasquez moved over to fill the vacancy at shortstop, and Theresa Boruta and Ricci Robben each started a game at third base against Northwestern.Boruta, who typically plays second base, hadn’t made an appearance at third in more than a month, and Robben, who has occupied the designated hitter spot for the last three weeks, saw her first action at the hot corner since March 31.For Vasquez, a former high school shortstop, getting back in the groove at short after extensive time at third looked to be seamless, but she admitted it wasn’t as natural as it appeared.”It just put me a little off, playing in a new spot [instead of where] I usually am at third,” Vasquez said. “Having Lynn out there at short is a confidence boost, because you know she’s going to get every ball. We miss her out there.”While the transition was mostly smooth for Vasquez, her teammates took a little more time adjusting to their new positions. Robben and Boruta were responsible for the only two errors in the series for UW, and both occurred while each was taking her turn at third. Robben’s was particularly costly in Game 1, as her misplay of a Nicole Pauly grounder extended the Northwestern half of the sixth. The Wildcats would capitalize three batters later and score the go-ahead run.But Schulte made it known that it wasn’t the play of any specific individual that did the Badgers in this weekend. Rather, Anderson’s injury essentially just threw a wrench into what had been a well-oiled defensive machine.”Missing Lynnie was huge,” Schulte said. “It’s a big difference, but not because [the replacements] are not good. It’s just about the chemistry and knowing where you’re supposed to be on the field. We got hurt both days by that.”With its loss Sunday, Wisconsin wrapped up the home portion of its schedule and will finish out the regular season with an eight-game road trip, beginning at UW-Green Bay on Tuesday. And while Anderson continues to recover on the sidelines, Schulte’s infield situation becomes ever more convoluted.”Somebody’s going to have to step up and play,” Schulte said. “You just have to make the routine plays, and that’s where my frustration lies, when we’re not doing that.”As for Anderson’s status on Wisconsin’s upcoming road-trip, Schulte is undecided.”We’re not sure,” Schulte said. “It’s a day-by-day thing. She will be back, but we’re just not sure at what point.”And with Wisconsin’s postseason hopes riding on its success in the final two weeks, a healthy Lynn Anderson and rock-solid infield defense might just be luxuries that the Badgers have to live without.last_img read more