Now that Peppers is in the fold; we can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on winning our next National Championship. The SB Championship run starts today and ends at Oklahoma City in June. Michigan’s most successful coach leads Team 37 on the field today for the 2014 Softball Opening Day. Team Captains are Sr. Nicole Sappingfield and Sr. Katie Luetkens
Coach Hutch has much to be thankful for as Team 37 brings back a host of talented players that will win the Big Ten and earn a trip back to Oklahoma City in June. The lineup will not change much this year as compared to last.
Gone is the Powerhouse 2B, Ashley Lane. Her power and leadership will certainly be missed. Ashley was in the 4 or 5-hole most of her career. Also gone is 3B Amy Knapp. Amy’s defense at the hot corner will be very difficult to replace.
I had the opportunity to watch a few fall games and the ladies look hungry. In the game against Eastern, Colie went yard, yes Colie can you believe it? The other returning starters have gained valuable experience.
The greatest improvement will be in the in the circle. Jr. Haley Wagner is returning 100% healthy and Jr. Sara Driesenga is still throwing B-B’s. Newcomer Megan Besta throws just as hard as the starters so we have three bona-fide starters. Barring something freaky occurring, Megan will be in the pen most of the season while Hayley and Sara share the spotlight.
Another player that is destined to have a break-out year is Sierra Lawrence . She went long twice against Eastern and she looked like she beefed up over the summer. Hutch has a very good summer workout program and Sierra certainly benefited from it.
Last year’s Freshman Sensation and All-Universe SS Sierra Romeo should continue her stellar career. Although I cannot imagine that she will have the same type of season that she did last year. I hope she does; however, if she comes back with 90% of her 2013 production, we will be golden.
The key player in my opinion will be Jr. C Lauren Sweet. Lauren had a slow start last year and really did not get going until the last 1/3 of the season. She ended the season with .236, 10 home runs and 34 RBI. When we needed her the most, Lauren went deep and long against Cal in the Regionals, which was key. Lauren needs start the season much better than last year.
Overall, Team 37 is better than last year’s team. This year will be fun to watch during the NCS as well as winning another Big Ten Title. My prediction is 51-4 (21-2 B1G), and #6 Seed, hosting the Regionals and SuperRegionals on our way back to the Promised land. Hopefully there will be no F5 tornados buzzing around like we had last year.
Go Coach Hutch, Go Team 37 and Go Blue
The softball team split their two games today in the Citris Classic in Orlando Florida. The first game against LSU, we could not overcome some big LSU innings and lost 14-6. In the second game we defeated James Madison University
Against LSU, Sierra Romero was the big gun. She went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Lyndsay went 2 for 4 and Colie went 2 for 5. Sara was the losing pitcher. She was bounced after only 2 innings of work. She gave up 3 ER on 6 hits. She had 1 K and 0 BB.
Sara just had a bad start. It happens and it is a part of the game. It could have been that double bean buritto she ate for dinner last night or something else. Coach Hutch is "riding the hot horse". Stephanie came in a pitched an inning and Alice closed it out. It was just not our day in the circle. That's ok. Make the adjustments and move on, nothing to see here.
In the second game against James Madison U, Sara got back on that horse and rode it like its hot. She pitched a gem in the 9-1, 6 inning Mercy-rule win. Sara scattered 4 hits from the 22 batters faced. She had 10Ks and 0BB.
Sierra Romero had the hot bat in the second game as well. She went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Ashley Lane went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.Jacklyn Crummy went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Overall, a good but not great day today. LSU is a very good team and with Haylie out, statistics say Sara was bound to have a "bad" start with all the innings she has pitched. Great Job Sara. Keep up the great work.
The SB team won its third game of the NFCA Tourney today by defeating UC Davis 6-0 in Clearwater, Florida. The weather is 79F and mostly sunny.
Sara Driesenga was the hero today by pitching 5 innings of near-perfect ball. She held UCD to only 1 hit. She had 4 Ks and 0 BB but 2 HBP. Stephanie Spierman came in for the last 2 innings and pitched just as well by giving up no hits, 2 BB and 0 Ks.
Senior Jacklyn Crummy from Macomb Dakota was the winner with the bat. She went 2 for 2 and scored 2 runs. She also stole 2 bases. Lyndsay, Colie and Sierra R. each scored runs today.
Coach Hutch was able to get a new face into the game today. Introducing Freshman Mary Sbonek. She HAILS from Southgate Anderson High School where she led the Titans as a 3-year letter winner in the OF. Today was her second apprearance for Coach Hutch. Mary is a LSA student. She has a 3.39 sec time from H-1B which is very nice.
Welcome to the Michigan Family Mary. We are proud that you chose us. We hope you have success on the field but more importantly great success in the classroom.
The Softball Ball Team; #15 in both polls, defeated a very good #12 U-L Lafayette today in the NFCA Tourney in Clearwater Florida; 3-1 The weather today is mostly sunny and 82F.
Ashley Lane delivered the game winning hit by going long. She knocked in Caitlyn Blanchard, who was on base due to a HBP. Amy Knapp drove in the 3rd run with a line drive to RF and driving in Sierra Lawerence who reached base on an error. We had only 3 hits total but that was enough for the W.
Sara was the winning pitcher by going the distance. She gave up 1 unearned run on 4 hits. She walked 1 and struck out 3.
We took advantage of 2 Ragin-Cajuns errors. It is nice to see the ladies getting key hits and playing good defense. Sara has been lights out thus far this year.
Coach Hutch is still juggling the line up. She has Lauren and Ashley hitting in the 7 and 8 slots. She also has Caitlyn playing 1B and Nicole playing RF. These are interesting moves by Coach. It seems to be paying dividends.
This week's poll has us at #15 for both USA Today and ESPN. The only real difference between the two polls is USA Today has Alabama #1 whereas the ESPN has Oklahoma #1.
2nd GAME TODAY
The team scored 4 runs in the top of the 7th for a 7-4 lead then Illinois State managed to work the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th and they scored 3 runs to tie the game. It is now in the 8th Inning.
Caitlyn Blanchard drove in 2 runs in the top of the 7th inning in a 4-run inning. She connected on the first pitch while bases were loaded. We led most of the day but Illinois St scored 2 in the bottom of the 6th to take the lead before the 7 inning free-for-all.
Sara is currently 3 for 4 with a run scored and 2 RBIs to help her cause. Caitlyn is going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Ashley Lane is 4 for 4. Nicole is 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Sierra Lawerence is 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Kelsey Susalla is 1 for 4 with an RBI and a Run scored.
UM pulls out the win in the 10th innings on a homer by Sierra Romero with 1 on, 11-9.
The Softball Team took two games in the final day of the FAU Tourney. We mercied UMASS 13-2 in the first game. The second game was a little closer with the good guys winning 4-2 against FAU.
The lovely ladies in Blue scored all 13 runs in the bottom of the first. Two Freshman stepped up and took control; that was Kelsey Susella and Sierra Lawerence. Kelsey went 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs and a run scored. Sierra also went 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs and a run scored. Kelsey had a 2-run dinger while Sierra had a bases loaded triple. Overall we ended up with 11 hits.
Sara Driesenga was the winning pitcher. She allowed 1 hot over 2 innings; she struck out 4 and walked none. Stephanie Spierman and Alice Fitzpatrick both pitched well in relief.
In the second game vs FAU, Sara Driesenga was the hero. She hit a grand slam in the 5th inning to help her cause. Caitlin Blanchard went 3 for 4 and Lyndsay Doyle went 2 for 4.
Sara was the winning pitcher giving up only 2 ER while striking out 4 and walking 1.
Overall another good (but not great) performance. The Freshman are really contributing and Sara is really pitching well. Stephanine and Alice are pitching in very well (pun intended). Sara probably could carry the load at this point in the season but that would deminish her effectiveness at the plate. Sara is too valuable a hitter to just keep her in the circle.
Coach Hutch is doing a masterful job with the rotation considering Haylie's boo-boo. Coach has put her trust in the Freshman and they have delivered. Next weekend's tourney will be a little tougher with UL-Lafayette and UC-Davis on the schedule.
Great Job ladies. A special thanks to the Freshmen for their contributions thus far. We are going to need all-hands-on-deck as we meander through the pre-conference schedule. We should get Haylie back soon so that will be a blessing.
Im sorry for posting so late but I just got back into town from the BB game and a few Scottish Ales at Ashley's. I was having trouble connecting while at Crisler today.
The Softball Team headed to Boca Raton this weekend to play in the annual Owl Classic Tourney. Overall the ladies had a good day by splitting the two games. In the first game they mercied Florida Atlantic University 10-2 in 5 innings. In the second game they lost a close one to Long Island Universidy 2-1. The afternoon temperature was 72 degrees and not a cloud in sight.
Sara Driesenga was the hero in the first game vs our old friend and former Wolverine, Mandy Gardner. Sara went 2 for 2 with 5 RBIs and a run scored from a HR. Ashley Lane also hit a dinger. Sara was the winning pitcher by scattering 3 hits. She gave up 1 ER with 1 BB and 4 Ks. Great job Sara.
In the second game, the defense committed 3 errors in the 2-1 lose against LIU. Amy Knapp had the big gun by going 2 for 2 with a run scored. We ended up with 6 hits. Alice Fitzpatrick was the starting pitcher and took the loss. She pitched 2 innings and gave up both ERs. Sara came in and shut it down the rest of the game.
It is nice to see Coach Hutch give Alice some innings against quality opponents. This loss certainly hurts but the benefit to Alice and her growth certainly will benefit the team in years to come. We just could not string enough hits together to push across a few more runs.
Haylie Wagner is nursing a "boo-boo" and did not see any action. She is anxious to get out there, Im sure.