The bat makes pixie stick dust out of yet another softball. In 10 minutes, Gino, the owner of the batting cages will come running out of the air-conditioned office screeching like an “American Idol” rejectee that he had already told the batter to leave the premises — but not before another 12 softballs were obliterated.It’s hard to blame Gino. Badger Herald Copy Chief Tim Williams has already cost him $12 million this month in busted softballs, melted aluminum bats, cracked bases and nets with holes burned through them.”He should just be happy I was batting left-handed,” said the hulking Goliath with an inferno for hair as he walked away from the wreckage, all while signing autographs.Williams has been hitting the cages every day for the past 11 months, demolishing softballs even through the dead of winter — wearing only Larry Bird shorts and a candy necklace — with only one goal in mind.”To break the Cardinal,” Williams says, inadvertently turning the 47 cents in his hands to smithereens. The fact that he just committed a federal crime doesn’t seem to bother him.***Such is the dedication the employees of The Badger Herald have demonstrated in preparing for this afternoon’s Spring Softball Game against The Daily Cardinal at Vilas Park. After all, the superstars of student publications are looking to avenge a controversial loss last year to the basement-banished tabloid.”Every morning, the first thing I see is a poster on my ceiling of a Rembrandt rendition of a bird bath. It reminds me of the sham of ’06, and that it’s time for revenge,” Herald deputy news editor Lynn “BoneSaw” Heidmann said. “Then I go and run a marathon before class.”The Broadsheet Bombers have assembled as a team every morning at 5:30 a.m. for practices using the recipe for success prescribed by Manager Chaz “Eat My Shorts” Gorichanaz, a disciple of former Temple head basketball coach John Cheney.And staying consistent with Chaz’s game plan, The Herald has plenty of superstars at the ready. Besides Williams and “BoneSaw” Heidmann, The Herald will employ the services of six-time all-district MVP first baseman Mike Gendall, known colloquially as the “Baked Beantown Bomber,” for his affinity for Boston’s trademark dish, and for depositing softballs into Boston Harbor — from Vilas Park — with great consistency. “That offense is one the Yankees have been trying to buy for seasons now,” UW Student Journalism Softball head scout Carl Golden said. “They could hit a grand slam with the bases empty. That’s how good they are.”The Dirty Bird will also have to deal with the likes of opinion editor “SoCal” Emily Friedman, whose outfield defensive instructional videos inspired Tom Emanski to try out baseball. Since then, Friedman’s protégé has won back-to-back-to-back national championships, equaling the number of Glitter Gloves Friedman has garnered for All-world defensive play.On the mound, The Herald will hand the ball over to sports editor Dave “Sock Puppet” McGrath, who once threw at his own grandma at a Thanksgiving family softball outing — she was in the stands.”Ever hear of ‘Casey at Bat’?” McGrath said. “I beaned him and then struck him out.”To go along with a dancing knuckleball and a vicious underhand riser, McGrath has a beanball that puts even the bravest hitters on their heels in the batter’s box.”When I heard they were handing him the ball I made sure to go out and buy a new helmet and some body armor,” Golden said. “He’ll strike out 27… but he’ll plunk 28.”In vintage Cheney style, Gorichanaz has a bench loaded with goons, ready to let loose heckling and flying debris at the drop of the hat. The goons are, of course, headlined by the siblings of sin, Justin and Ashley “I will end you” Voss, who have both been filling water balloons with Sharpie ink for two weeks in preparation for the event.”I will end them,” arts editor Ashley Voss said… repeatedly.As indestructible as they might seem, The Herald is not without a few nicks and bruises. Superstar third baseman and sports editor Michael Poppy is once again questionable with a hangover for the second year in a row, while Editor in Chief Taylor Hughes is battling a missing right leg.”I’ll be there, I’ll be ready. Even if I have to use a bottle of Fleischmann’s as a leg, I’ll be there!” Hughes said.***Williams stares down Gino, and points his bat at the owner menacingly before stepping back into the cage and sending a softball to “c,” the new unexplored planet across the galaxy. “Game’s tomorrow,” Williams said. “Gotta crush The Cardinal.”And another bat shatters in fear.