The Madison Night Mares: Adding to the city’s success in women’s sports

The Madison Night Mares: Adding to the city’s success in women’s sports

On the evening of Saturday, April 20, at the Orpheum theater, Madison Softball revealed that their new team’s name is the “Madison Night Mares” and the new team’s mascot would be a miniature horse.

Samantha Rubin has been the general manager of the Madison Mallards for three years and is the first female general manager in Mallards history. 

“The whole point of Madison Softball is really to make Madison the best women’s sports town in the country,” Samantha Rubin said, as she riled up the crowd before the long-anticipated name unveiling.

The crowd was fired up after the naming announcement, then a local band came on to sing about the newly named team.
Photo by Ruby Rothman.

A new naming contest was also unveiled for the Night Mares’ miniature horse mascot. They are currently accepting submissions in the same March Madness-inspired bracket that the community participated in while naming the team. 

Rubin also introduced to the crowd two members of the 16-women squad, Hillary Blomberg and Dani Lucey. Both women are Wisconsin natives and currently play for UW–Madison’s softball team. So far, about a third of the roster has been filled and a nationwide recruiting search continues to complete the team.

The Madison Night Mares' new logo lights up the Orpheum. Photo by Ruby Rothman.

The event was family-oriented, with a speed pitch machine for girls to test their strength, a 360 degree camera with accessories available, concession stands, silent auctions, raffles and a team merchandise store. 

Katie Johnson, mother of two, attended the event with her daughters who play local softball. 

“I think the more that girls see themselves and see what they can aspire to do, I hope that more girls will get to play softball,” Johnson said. 

Savanna Rainey, UW–Madison softball alum is now the marketing and operations manager for the Madison Nightmares. 

“I would've done literally anything I could’ve to play on this team in the summer when I was a player,” Rainey said. 

The goal of the Nightmares summer league is to bring girls from all collegiate levels together to play competitive softball in the offseason. Each player will be required to pay a $350 fee that goes towards their Northwoods League contract. The team also has the capacity to give scholarships to girls who are unable to pay this fee. 

Team members will be provided with meals, transportation to games and practices,  the opportunity for internships and have the option to live with a host family if they do not live nearby. 

Warner Park, now home to both the Mallards and the Nightmares, seats 6,000 fans. In order to use the park for multiple sports, new turf is being installed in the field, along with a removable fence on wheels for softball games, a removable mound for baseball games and three different base dimensions that will be readily available to accommodate youth games, softball and baseball. 

“Our hope for the season was to have a whole female coaching staff, and we do and they’re awesome,” said Rainey.  “Anyone that will step foot into our stadium or even at this event this weekend will really see true female empowerment,” letting “women know that they’re able to do and accomplish anything.” 

Not only is the coaching staff composed of two women, head coach Raquel Savoy and assistant coach Laurèn Schiek, but in the Mallards and Nightmares organization there are seven female executives. 

Savoy and Schiek also have a history of success together. Schiek played under Savoy for Santa Clara University, when they completed the coaching roster, Rainey commented, “this is almost too perfect”.  

“I think Madison and the culture that we have around sports already is great,” Rainey said. “And I think when you put really powerful women that are badass and super courageous, on and off the court, I think it gives more passion to the people around to have something to talk about and be really excited about.”

The Orpheum sign boasting the Madison Softball logo and name reveal event. Photo by Ruby Rothman.

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