Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
[Ed-S: written at our request.]
Big Ten Champions
|WHAT||NCAA Softball Regional|
|WHERE||Wilpon Complex/Alumni Field|
|WHEN||Friday-Sunday, May 15-17|
|TV||ESPN2 & ESPNU|
The NCAA regional is a double-elimination tournament, so the only team Michigan is guaranteed to play is Oakland; if all goes chalk, Michigan would play Cal in Game 3 and go from there.
|Friday, May 15|
|3:30 p.m.||Game 1 -- #2 seed California vs. #3 seed Pittsburgh (ESPNU)|
|6:30 p.m.||Game 2 -- #1 seed Michigan vs. #4 seed Oakland (ESPNU)|
|Saturday, May 16|
|4 p.m.||Game 3 -- Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (ESPN2)|
|6:30 p.m.||Game 4 -- Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser (ESPN2)|
|9 p.m.||Game 5 -- Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner (ESPNU)|
|Sunday, May 17|
|3:30 p.m.||Game 6 -- Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner (ESPNU)|
|6 p.m.||Game 7 -- Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser (if necessary) (ESPNU)|
Big Ten Review
For the first time since 2005, Michigan softball swept the Big Ten championships, taking home the regular season crown after a tightly contested race with Minnesota and the tournament crown after downing PSU, Northwestern, and Nebraska in dominant fashion.
The Wolverines came into Big Ten play slightly chastened by a home loss to Kent State and their brilliant pitcher, but nevertheless riding a brilliant non-conference performance. MGoSoftball has already ably reviewed that portion of the season (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/softball-mid-season-report).
After exacting revenge against KSU and pounding Bowling Green, the Wolverines charged into Big Ten play with a three game set at Ohio State, racking up double-digit wins in all three games. Two games into the Iowa series, things were looking on track for continued success. Halfway through the final game of the series, though, the Wolverines defense collapsed, blowing a 4-run lead and handing the lowly Hawkeyes an unlikely upset at Alumni Field. There wasn't much time to recover, either, as Michigan had to travel up to Minneosta for a 3-game set against the nationally-ranked Golden Gophers, headlined by star pitcher Sara Groenewegen. After a 9-1 run rule drubbing and a blown 3-run lead early in the second game, it looked like Michigan's magical season was unravelling all too quickly.
Fortunately, something clicked in those Maize & Blue minds after that bad 2nd inning in Minnesota, and the Wolverines bounced back. They tied the game in the 3rd, and went on to win 9-4, following up that performance with an Easter Sunday run-rule blowout, returning the 9-1 favor that Minnesota had handed out that Friday.
From that point on, Michigan has not looked back. Since the loss to Minnesota, Michigan has won 20 straight games, including 13 via the run-rule and 2 no-hitters from sophomore stand-out Megan Betsa.
The end of the Big Ten season found the Wolverines in possession of an array of awards, headlined by Megan Betsa as the conference pitcher of the year and Carol Hutchins as the coach of the year. Multiple Wolverines found their way onto the 1st, 2nd, and defensive teams. Sierra Romero won the tournament MVP award and also the inaugural ESPNW national player of the year award as well (she is a finalist for the more prestigious player of the year award, which will be announced later). The brilliance of the team's performance earned Michigan the #3 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and the right to host a regional and, if they win through, a super-regional as well.
Three teams will be coming to Ann Arbor this weekend with their eyes on a trip to the super-regionals. We'll look at Oakland, the #4 seed in the region, first, since they're our Friday opponent, then at #2 seed California and #3 seed Pittsburgh after that.
[After the jump.]
For those who don't know the story...
Barrows asked Harbaugh how the experience affected him, and for once, the coach opened up. "In some ways, it's a little uncomfortable talking about it," he said. "The scripture says, 'Don't let your left hand know what your right hand's doing,' you know? On the other hand, it's so good. It's not only been a great experience for me but my friends that I want to tell people about it. I feel like I should share this. I'm lucky to participate and be surrounded by so much good."
Now, Harbaugh brings his friends down, and each person sponsors a child in the nearby town of Lima. People really need the help down there -- according to Barrows, 60 percent of the population lives in poverty, and 20 percent in extreme poverty.
The first time he went down, Harbaugh was wearing a University of San Diego shirt, which may be the reason the locals call him "Diego." He really isn't sure. All he knows is that he got the name on that first visit, when he was helping to build new houses.
"I was building the house and they would say, 'No, Diego, no,'" Harbaugh told Barrows, imitating someone hammering nails. "After a couple more days it was, 'Muy bien, Diego. Muy bien.'"
Are we having an mgobeach party? Is Brian getting the hookers? I'll bring the beer.
Okay, so what is your personal favorite sporting memory where you played in whatever game it was, or ran in the race, etc? Might be a 3rd grade kick ball game, little league baseball, some high school sport, whatever. Yes, this will call for a little bit of humble-brag but we're all cyber-buddies so its assumed that some of that goes with the territory.
^^^click for most the NBA teams
Per request of LSAClassof2000:
Mine is Woody Boyd, just because of the questions he always asked.
What about everyone else?
I will now show myself out the door....