University of Wisconsin-Superior baseball and softball teams have made a statement in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, with both programs being led by young head coaches. TJ Oakes, the men’s head baseball coach, and Melissa Fracker, the women’s head softball coach, have made a significant impact on UW-Superior athletic programs.

UWS dugout during Martin Luther game. | Photo by Isaiah Wiita

Oakes is in his second season with the UW-Superior men’s baseball team and led the Yellowjackets to a 19-21 overall record and 13-8 in UMAC conference play in his first season as head coach. Prior to Oakes’ time at UW-Superior, he spent six seasons as the assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. In his first two seasons as head coach Oakes established three pillars for UW-Superior baseball players to follow on and off the field.

“The pillars of our program consist around three key words: Consistent, Courageous, Together. We put a huge focus on being good people who treat others the right way. We strive to be great teammates, knowing that trait will carry with us the rest of our lives,” said Oakes. “We have tried to create a culture that is family-like and much more than just baseball. I am grateful to be here surrounded with so many great people. You always want to be a part of something bigger than yourself in life, and that’s what UWS Baseball is.”

The UWS baseball team has an overall record of 20-13 with a 16-5 conference record. The Yellowjackets finished in second place in the UMAC.

Coach Fracker reacts to a call versus Crown College. | Photo by Isaiah Wiita

As for Fracker, she is in her third season as UW-Superior women’s softball head coach. Fracker has an overall record of 55-26 in her first two seasons as Yellowjackets head coach. Fracker also led the Yellowjackets to their first UMAC regular season championship in 2022. Before her time at UW-Superior, Fracker was an assistant coach at Western Connecticut State.

Not only does Frackers have an impressive 55-26 record through two seasons, but she has also impacted Yellowjacket athletes.

Norah Schmitz at bat. | Photo by Isaiah Wiita

“She has taught me a lot about the game,” said Norah Schmitz a sophomore softball player, “She is a good support system for our team, she will do pretty much anything for us.” The UWS women’s softball team has an overall record of 27-10 with a 17-4 conference record to finish second.

In the first round of the UMAC tournament UWS softball will face third seeded Northwestern Eagles.

As for Baseball, they are also a two seed and will face Crown again in the first round.
Both tournaments are being held in Mankato, Minn. and start Thursday, May 11.

Oakes and Fracker have built the foundation for success for current and future Yellowjacket baseball and softball athletes.