Milkowski shines in first season with Iowa softball

The freshman catcher has already logged one home run and seven RBIs in 2020-21.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa catcher Lindy Milkowski attempts to pick off a runner on third after a strike during a softball game at Pearl Field on Saturday, April 3 during a softball game between Iowa and Indiana. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 8-0 in five innings.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

Before last weekend’s series at Wisconsin, Iowa softball catcher Lindy Milkowski said she was willing to help the Hawkeyes in any way she could.

On Saturday, Milkowski gave the Hawkeyes the boost they needed to defeat the Badgers, 3-1. The Olathe, Kansas, native drove in two runs — one via sacrifice grounder in the first inning, and another via bunt in the third frame.

Despite Milkowski’s solid outing Saturday, the Hawkeyes still struggled against the Badgers, dropping three of four contests over the weekend.

Saturday’s game, however, didn’t mark the first time Milkowski has found success this season. Before the Wisconsin series began, Milkowski’s batting average sat at .308.

In 22 games in 2020-21, Milkowski has logged one home run, seven RBIs, and eight walks.

On March 14, Milkowski hit a walk-off RBI single to give Iowa a 4-3 victory over Maryland. During that six-game weekend series against Penn State and Maryland, she went 5-of-10 with three RBIs.

Defensively, Milkowski knows how to handle a variety of pitches behind the plate. On multiple occasions in 2020-21, Milkowski has caught both legs of a one-day doubleheader.

“It’s a lot of stretching, it’s a lot of rolling out, and it’s a lot of faith that my knees aren’t going to go out at any time,” Milkowski said. “I also think it’s just keeping a really positive attitude and if you keep yourself in that mental headspace, then I can do anything.”

Milkowski is especially gifted when it comes to throwing runners out from behind the plate. On the season, Milkowski has picked off eight would-be base-stealers.

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“I mean that’s where she is,” Hawkeye head coach Renee Gillispie said. “It’s saved a lot of games for us on would-be stealers and being able to take care of the game on that side of it.”

Before the Wisconsin series began, Iowa boasted a nation-leading stolen-bases-allowed percentage of .621.

As a freshman, Milkowski has had to learn how to catch pitches from three talented senior hurlers — Allison Doocy, Lauren Shaw, and Sarah Lehman.

“It was definitely intimidating at first,” Milkowski said. “Allison Doocy is a force to be reckoned with. So, when I first met her, I was like ‘oh my gosh, I’m meeting Allison Doocy, this is crazy.’ And also, Lauren Shaw, she’s got so much energy, and she’s got a great pitch, and Sarah Lehman has so much movement on her ball too. So, it took me a little while to get used to each one of them and their different kind of quirks that they have to do their thing.”

Gillispie said that, at first, she wasn’t sure if Iowa’s senior pitchers wanted to throw to Milkowski because Milkowski was missing some pitches. Now, Gillispie believes the senior hurlers want Milkowski behind the plate.

“It’s nice to know that she’s very confident in us and confident even in herself,” Doocy said.

Milkowski has separate routines she sticks to for each individual pitcher she is paired with.

With Shaw, Milkowski swipes her visor and signals how many outs have been registered in the inning, thus ensuring the battery doesn’t forget the out count.

Milkowski actually began that routine prior to her arrival at Iowa, when she played first base with her sister.

“[Shaw] gets into it and I’m like, ‘I am all for it,’” Milkowski said. “As long as she is having fun with it, we’re grooving. I love that.”