so much for that
As I mentioned yesterday, Coach Hutch landed 3 outstanding players in this year's recruitment. One of those players is Megan Betsa, a pitcher from the Union Grove Wolverines located in McDonough Ga.
Megan is a 5-8 pitcher. Not much is available about Megan because the Wolverines are not your typical State PowerHouse softball team. As a matter of fact, the Wolverines won their first Georgia State Championship primarily due to Megan's arm.
I was able to garner some data on Megan. She has an over-powering fastball (A-la Traina) and an off speed pitch that drops off the table (A-la Ricketts). This is a wonderful combination to have. Stephanie Spierman graduates this spring so we certainly need a third pitcher for 2014.
The Mothership says, "She led McDonough to the state championship this fall, marking the first title in school history. A three-time all-state and all-region selection, Betsa set a single-season record with 464 strikeouts as a senior. She finished her career with 1,349 strikeouts and nabbed Pitcher of the Year honors for the state of Georgia as a freshman and a junior."
Megan has a real good stick as well. She had some big knocks in the State Championship tourney.
Welcome Megan to the family. It will be an easy transformation from high school named Wolverines to us. Good luck in your collegiate career. Please make sure you bring snow boots and a snow shovel. You are welcome to visit us on the blog anytime and I hope you like football and basketball because we have World Class teams.
Again, welcome Megan. We are a better team with you on the team and Go Blue!!!
Now that the FB regular season is over, I wanted to let the board know about a few things happening on the Softball team. IMO this team will bring us the next National Championship.
1) The team scrimmaged against National Pro Fastpitch All-Star team on 06OCT12. Former M Star and current M coach Nikki Nemitz pitched for NPF. The Varsity team took it to them and had a walk-off, 3-2 win. Sara Driesenga was the winning pitcher. Newcomer Sierra Romero was the hero at the plate by going 3 for 3 with a 2 run homer in the 5th to tie the game. Then in the bottom of the 7th, M worked the bases loaded when Ashley Lane drew a game-winning base on balls.
NPF travels around the country playing various NCAA teams and has a 60-4 record in the past three years. Out of 22 games played this year, NPF lost 3 games: us, UL-Lafayette (5-4) and Okalhoma (5-3).This is the first real test for the Varsity team.
2) Coach signed 3 very good standouts recently. I will profile them in separate "Hello" posts.
3) The Board of Directors approved a multi-million dollar improvement project to Alumni Field. We have very good facilities however they are not "World Class". The improvement will take us to the top. Tennessee has the best overall facilities IMO and this should catch and maybe even surpass Tennessee. This will help recruiting, along with the FB and BB successes. We should have a NC within 5 years (aggressive I know).
The 2013 schedule begins 08FEB13 in Tampa Florida for the USF Tourney.
The future continues to look bright. Coach Hutch is certainly the best in the game, as she re-loads every single year. This, along with the new projects, your "game-day" experience will be much better.
SOFTBALL. That's right, its almost softball season. Michigan Softball opens the 2012 season on 10FEB12 in Baton Rouge in the LSU Tourney.
This year will be an interesting year for the ladies. We lose some serious senior leadership in Jordan Taylor and Dorian Shaw. Replacing just one of these would be difficult enough, let alone both. Coach Hutch will certainly have her hands full.
The good news is that although we lost the best pitcher in Michigan history (IMHO), Jr. Stephanie should be able to step in and perform to Michigan Standards. Now Jordan's shoes are very large, Stephanie did a good (not great) job last year. Her numbers were very similar to Jordan's; however it appreared that Stephanie struggled with stamina and needed help in some big games.
Jordan pitched 241.1 innings, her record was 31-5, and pitched 30 complete games. Stephanie pitched in 122.2 innings, her record was 18-1, and pitched in 6 complete games. Her stats are acceptable because she was learning and growing. Now its her time so shine and I think she will be just fine.
The other loss is Dorian. Coach Huch will probably give Sophomore Mandy Gardner an opportunity to play first base. Mandy is 6' and has better range than Dorian. Last year Mandy hit only .083 in 15 games. But I have seen her take BP a few times and let me tell you; she is going to be just fine.
Now for the positives; my All-American choice Ashley Lane is back for her junior year. She led the team in HR, Slg % and was a close second in RBIs. She was thrown into the starting 2nd baseman's position after the injury to Stephanie Kirkpatrick. Lane struggled early last year on defense but settled in very nicely. She will only improve.
Another positive is the return of Stephanie Kirkpatrick. She blew out her knee early in the season during a freaky play. She had surgery in March and was walking just fine in May. Stephanie has awesome range, is quick as a jack rabbit and can hit for power and average.
Nicole Sappingfield's knee injury late in the season was a major blow to us. It was obvious that we missed her speed on the basepaths late and during the playoffs. She was walking on it in the regionals but I dont know if she had surgery or not.
Bree Evans is back for her senior year. This young lady is a real treat to watch. She reminds me of the story about Babe Ruth calling his shot. Well Bree calls her own shot every single pitch. The entire world knows she is going to slap, and I think this game-plan has been translated in over 10 languages. No one can get her out consistantly as she scoots down the line. Bree probably leads the nation in infield hits, including 1 infield double that I witnessed.
Amanda Chidester will be a beast this year. She exploded into elite status with last year's transition to 3B when Kirkpatrick when down. Chiddy has much room to grow as well; with off-season workouts, expect a few more bombs at Alumni Field.
Keep an eye on incoming freshmen Haley Wagnar (LHP-CA) and Sara Driesenga (RHP-Grand Rapids Mi). Both of these young ladies should factor in our successearly should Stephanie stumble a little.
Overall, this will be a team of adjustment. If we can get settled in early; look out. If we get a slow start, we could have a little trouble. Lets not forget the goal: Win the B1G.
In a few days, I will provide a Big Ten Preview as well as introducing two more high-end recruits to the Michigan Family. GO BLUE
Well, the days are getting shorter, the kids are all back into school, the air is crisp and the colors are starting to change. That means two things: Football and Softball.
The M Softball team began its quest for a National Title this past weekend by playing in a Fall Ball Tourney in Traverse City. For those who dont follow SB, Fall-Ball is an opportunity to get a look at your kids in real time action. Its awesome to practice but Fall-Ball is where all the sins are revealed.
It also gets the Freshmen, (RHP Sara Driesenga, LHP Haylie Wagner and C Lauren Sweet) an opportunity to show the coaches what they can do and hopefully earn some playing time in the spring.
Fall-Ball lays the foundation for the winter practices. Every element of a batters swing will be analyzed over the next few days. This will spring board into the practice sessions.
This is our only time to improve. The warm weather teams have a HUGE advantage because they can play ball all winter. We dont have that luxury because we cant travel because of class.
Michigan played ND, WMU, CMU and SVSU in a round robin format. We picked up a 5-0 win vs WMU, 8-0 win vs SVSU and a 6-1 win over CMU. Traverse City is wonderful this time of year and I planned on going up there to watch the girls. However, I decided at the last minute to entertain some family at the Big House against EMU, so I dont have box scores yet.
Congrats to all the ladies and keep up the hard work.
Coach Hutch remains the only coach east of the Mississippi River to win the NC. This occured this year because ASU bitch-slapped Florida in the WS Finals, 2 games to none.
Florida was the dark horse in this race. The finished first in the SEC East Division and received a #2 seed in the SEC tournamant but lost to LSU in the semi-finals. Alabama went on to beat LSU in the SEC Finals. Florida got revenge when they met up with Alabama in the WS Semi-finals and took 2 games in the double elimination style tournament.
ASU Fr Pitcher Dallas Escobedo was dominate all season long. Although, we beat ASU and Esconbedo (1-0) on 17MAR11 at the Judi Garman Classic.
Michigan, as most know, lost to KY in the Ann Arbor Regional. KY was a very fast and rather small team that manufactured runs. KY lost to California in the regionals 2 games to 1.
The team will have a few weeks off before starting fall practices in August. Fall ball begins in September and usually consists of a few home games and 1 away tournament.
Bring on the colored leaves
While watching the women's softball team today I started reading about Carol Hutchins and realized that not only was she from Lansing, but she used to play softball and basketball for Michigan State. I started wondering how she feels now and how she stuck around so many years... how did MSU not lure such a wonderful coach back to her original turf? Well, I found an article from The Michigan Daily that answered my questions and made me lover Carol Hutchins even more than I already did. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.
MAKING THE TRADITION YOUR OWN
Carol Hutchins used to be a Spartan. And every year, someone makes sure she doesn’t forget that.
“To this day, the week of the Michigan State game, people ask me who I’m rooting for. And I’m just appalled,” she says, sitting in an office with a giant, stuffed wolverine on top of the bookshelf. “I always tell them, I always root for Michigan State to come in second.
“But I’m just appalled people ask that question. To me, it’s a stupid question.”
She gestures to her navy blue warm-ups.
“Clearly. I’m blue. What part of me looks green?”
It’s a dumb question because it would be like asking if Bo Schembechler had still cheered for Miami (Ohio) over Michigan. Hutchins, a two-sport Michigan State student-athlete, has invested 26 years building a program from the ground up in Ann Arbor. It doesn’t matter if you come here from the outside, she says. The real issue is whether you take ownership of the tradition.
And she uses a example from East Lansing to prove that point.
“Years ago, Nick Saban was the football coach up there,” she says, referring to the nomadic coach who, in the past 10 years, has coached at Michigan State, Louisiana State, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and Alabama. “And I used to say to my former colleagues and friends, that’s the difference between a Michigan Man. Because Lloyd Carr would never bolt to go to some other university, because he’s at the greatest university on the planet.
“The people who are at Michigan believe that Michigan’s the place to be, and embrace that and live it.”
Ron Kramer says that the Wolverine tradition is different than other schools, simply because it has been canonized more than any other. And Hutchins does her part to make sure her Michigan Women realize they are stepping stones in that Michigan legacy.
She talks to her freshmen at the beginning of each year about the honor of wearing the block ‘M’. She requires new team members to write a research paper about the Michigan softball players who wore their jersey number before them.
And if her athletes won’t cherish the importance of the tradition, Hutchins eventually gives them an ultimatum. You don’t just get to wear the block ‘M.’ You’re not entitled to it just because you worked hard in high school.
For those reasons — even with the 2005 National Championship on her coaching résumé — her favorite story from her time in Ann Arbor isn’t during a game.
It was after Stephanie Bercaw hit a two-run, game-winning homer to push Michigan into that year’s Women’s College World Series finals.
“Everybody thinks all these athletes are on full rides, but this kid was on like, not very much, and out-of-state tuition is enormous,” Hutchins says of the Wooster, Ohio native. “But … she came here and hit a home run that put us into the national finals. And on the podium at this press conference, they asked her, ‘Is this the greatest moment of your life?’
“And she said, ‘No. The day I got to sign a scholarship to go to Michigan was the greatest day of my life.’ ”
And congrats to UM pounding Purdue today!