Softball: Badgers sweep double-header with two mercies

first_imgWisconsin softball hosted the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix for a double-header during a chilly afternoon Tuesday, but the weather did not seem to affect the Badgers.Wisconsin’s (26-19-1) bats came alive as the team dominated both games 8-0, thanks to a strong performance at the mound from pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart and situational hitting.The Badgers were held in check for the majority of the first game, only leading 2-0 going into the bottom half of the fifth inning. But the team would go on to score six in the final two innings, invoking the mercy rule for an early end to the game.Wisconsin expanded on their two-run lead thanks to an RBI single by Ashley Van Zeeland in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by Melanie Cross increased their lead to 4-0.Sara Novak sunk the dagger in the sixth when an RBI single and an error allowed another score, putting the Badgers up by six. Wisconsin would add two more in the frame to get the final score of 8-0.Stewart, who received the win in both contests and improved to 15-10 on the year, was on cruise control for both games. The senior allowed only one hit in each game while striking out nine in the first of the twin bill, tying her season high. Stewart added another five punch-outs in game two and again allowed only one unearned run in her three innings pitched.With an ample amount of run support in both games, Stewart said games like these ease the pressure when pitching.“The atmosphere of our dugout changes and the stress on the mound definitely decreases when you know your offense is lighting it up,” Stewart said.The Badgers picked up right where they left off in game two by getting to Phoenix pitcher Katie Rossman early in the bottom of the first. Both Kelsey Jenkins and Van Zeeland reached base, and were followed by Chloe Miller’s three-run blast to right — all before Green Bay recorded an out.“[Hitting a home run] always feels good,” Miller said. “It happens in practice, but until you get it in the game, there’s nothing like seeing your team when you cross home plate.”Wisconsin continued to pile on hits and runs in the following two innings.In the second, Jenkins ripped an RBI-double down the left field line and followed with a third inning that saw Katie Christner hit a line-drive home run down the left field line, which got out in a hurry to give the Badgers a 5-0 lead. Wisconsin chased Rossman in the same inning while tacking on three more runs and would hold their eight-run lead to the end of the fifth to again force the mercy rule.Coming into the day’s double-header, Wisconsin owned a 4-6-1 record at home, but head coach Yvette Healy said wins like these are what her team needed as they try to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks.“Just to play well on our field is a big deal,” Healy said. “This weekend is another huge weekend and I think these mid-week games give us a little momentum going into it.”The Badgers will welcome the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend for a three-game set and the team’s final home series of the season. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m Friday.last_img read more

Listen More Closely to Africa’s Voice on Climate Change

first_imgAs more than 120 world leaders converge on New York this week for an unprecedented UN climate summit, one highly significant voice needs to be heard.  That voice belongs to Africa. In all the global discussions around rising sea levels, shrinking rain forests, imperiled species and biodiversity, green bonds and carbon prices, Africa’s unique stake and contribution to a global climate strategy needs to be more front and center. This is only right for a continent that has contributed the least to the profound changes underway in the Earth’s climate but whose people will suffer its withering impact the most.Consider that Africa is responsible for only 3.8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions yet from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa to the south of the continent, African countries experience first-hand the devastating effects of increasingly severe droughts and floods and more extreme weather patterns that scorch or drown their crops. Africa’s political and business leaders are already committed to a climate-resilient growth path, yet the path promises to be bumpy. Recent World Bank research outlines a disturbing scenario for Sub-Saharan Africa in a 2°C warmer world, forecasting dramatic effects on agriculture and food production in a region where 80 percent of Africans rely on agriculture to make ends meet for their families. Consequently, we cannot separate agriculture and food security from climate change. Agriculture in Africa accounts for 30-40 percent of GDP. A 1.5°C to 2°C increase in temperature by the 2030s and 2040s will lead to a 40- to 80-percent reduction in the area of land suitable for growing maize, millet and sorghum. These cereals are the mainstay of African diets. They provide the bulk of people’s daily food intake especially in the drylands of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. We must also amplify the links between climate change and conflict. In a groundbreaking 2013 paper published in Science magazine, economists Solomon Hsiang, Marshall Burke, and Edward Miguel argued that there is strong evidence linking climatic events to human conflict in Africa and across all other major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate change is substantial they wrote: for each one standard deviation change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%.Africa’s harsher climate of the future will also change traditional livelihoods. As temperatures rise, Africa’s iconic savanna grasslands will dry up and threaten the livelihoods of their pastoral communities. Given the sensitivity of livestock—their goats, cows, and other animals—to extreme heat, too little water and feed, and disease, pastoralism as a centuries-old way of life is likely to be in danger.Rainfall patterns will dramatically change; droughts and floods will be more frequent and lead to a 3-percent expansion in total arid areas. Coastal populations in Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Mozambique would face the greatest risk of inundation and storm surges. Coastal erosion represents a major threat as a large part of Africa’s GDP derives from activities such as fishing, tourism and trade.  Entire cities and villages along the coast – capital cities and crucial deep-sea ports — could be wiped out due to rising sea-levels. Countries such as Togo, Ghana and Mozambique could lose more than 50 percent of their coastal GDP, according to recent estimates. Sustainable management of the region’s rich natural resources—forests, water, land—can contribute to the storage of carbon, while supporting livelihoods and generating economic benefits. Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, also harbors 5 percent of the world’s known biodiversity. Before the country’s political crisis, nature-based tourism was a $500-million industry, growing at 10 percent per year. But the island is also on the list of the most climate change-vulnerable countries which will have a significant impact on its biodiversity.Africa is one of the world’s fastest-urbanizing continents. Parched rural hinterlands will steadily force people to move to already-crowded cities, creating overcrowding, stressing supplies of safe drinking water and drainage and sanitation.At the African Union Summit in Malabo, last June, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete reminded his audience that the “effects of climate change are likely to strike to the detriment of the whole continent”.  He added that Africa now requires in excess of US$15 billion per year to combat climate change, a figure that continues to rise.The good news is that Africa is uniquely well positioned to build resilience, especially in energy and agriculture, and has already embraced sustainability. Being green is good for business. In Kenya, small farmers are now earning carbon credits from sustainable farming. In South Africa, the city of Johannesburg recently issued its first green city bond to finance low-carbon infrastructure. In Mauritania, solar energy now powers 30 percent of Nouakchott’s energy use. In Africa, wind and solar potential can be over 1,000 GW but needs to be fully exploited. The continent has embarked on a clean power revolution that brings more electricity to people’s homes, businesses, clinics and schools. With only one in three Africans having access to energy, the task is urgent.  Africa has tremendous untapped hydro, geothermal, and solar power and must be developed to provide the electricity needed to offer sustained – and green – growth for the benefit of all its citizens.The World Bank is stepping up to the challenge.  We are financing transformational projects that attack poverty from multiple angles. We are supporting governments to promote “climate-smart agriculture” so that African farmers can achieve higher yields and make their farming more resilient to the changing climate.  In DRC, a $73.1-million technical assistance project will pave the way to bring hydroelectric power to 9 million people. These interventions are just a starting point – not nearly enough to address the monumental energy needs of the continent.  Though prices for renewables have declined significantly in the past decade, these energy sources are still costly.  The green energy revolution in African cannot be achieved without financial support of the international community, to bring down the costs of adopting these clean technologies.    The warning signs are clear: climate change under even the 2°C scenario is a menacing threat to sustainable development in Africa. These impacts could potentially overwhelm existing development efforts. We ignore the early warning signs at our collective peril. But, through collective action, we can ensure a climate-resilient future that benefits all Africans and the entire planet.Makhtar Diop is the World Bank Vice President for the Africa RegionShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more