to play football, not to play trumpet
The SB Team opens the Regional Tourney today at 6pm at Alumni Field vs. Oakland. It is televised on ESPNU. The first game is Cal vs. Pitt and the score is 4-2 Cal in the 2nd. This game is shaping up to be a good one.
Look for the Coach Hutch and Team to score early and often with a huge win, possibly a mercy-rule win. If we win tonight, we will play at 4pm tomorrow. Expect Megan (Betsa) to be in the circle this evening as she has certainly won the starting pitcher's position; although I would not be surprised if Coach Hutch gave the Senior Haylie (Wagner) the start to honor her contributions to the team.
In other Regional Action, there are no real "shockers" as yet. Here are the games that have already been completed. Kentucky defeated Northwestern 5-4. UCF beat South Carolina 4-1. Texas A&M over Lehigh 2-1. Washington took it to USC Upstate 4-1. It was NC State over Fordham 12-5. North Dakota St. over Fresno State 4-0.
It is hard to believe but the Softball season is nearly half way completed. We have finished the first segment of the schedule which is primarily weekend tournaments. The second segment of the schedule is the home series with Kent State then the start of the Big Ten Season.
We are currently 22-3 with loses to #1 Florida (twice) and #22 ASU. We are 7-3 over ranked teams, with wins against #3 Alabama (twice), #6 Florida State (twice), #9 Baylor and #21 ASU (twice).
We are ranked #3 this week in the Coaches Poll although we are tied with LSU, who are undefeated along with #1 Florida. Florida remained #1, and Oregon remained #2. We dropped to #4 in the USA Softball poll primarily due to the loss to ASU this past weekend.
Here are some of the team statistics and the national rank (in parentheses)
Batting Average: .345 (20th)
Home runs per game: 1.76 HR/G (4th)
OB %: .448 (13th)
Runs per game: 7.84 (15th)
Slugging %: .619 (5th)
Team ERA: 1.62 (10th)
One area of the game that we are certainly down as compared with previous years is overall team speed. We do not rank high in any of the typical "speed" catagories such as stolen bases, double per game and triples per game. This is a departure for Coach Hutch as she has always had great overall team speed. However, with the offense we have, the team speed is not as important because the timely hitting does enough damage.
We have a player that rank nationally in some important categories. Romo ranks in the top of 6 categories (10 games min).
B/A: 545 (6th)
Slugging %: 1.109% (4th)
OB %: .705 (2nd)
RBIs: 30 (20th)
Runs/game: 1.28 (8th)
HRs: 9 (T-6th)
As you can see, our offense is centered around Romo. The good thing is our 4, 5 and 6 hitters are good enough to bring her in as evidenced by Romo's Runs/Game statistic. If opposing teams choose to pitch to her, great. She will handle her business. If they choose to walk her, great. We have hitters behind her to bring her in.
I just hope more people realize what a very special player we have in Romo. We have not seen the likes of her in over a decade.
In the Individual pitching catagories, we have players in the following:
Ks per 7 innings (10 App min): Megan; 8.5 (32nd)
ERA (20 Inns min): Sara; .78 (9th)
BB per 7 Innings (10 App min): Haylie; 1.24 (17th)
It is great to see all three pitchers rank nationally. This is our core moving into the Big Ten season. Our bats will not be hot in every single game; however, we have 3 awsome pitchers that will keep us in games. This will lead to wins in tight games.
Overall a very good first half of the season. The first loss to Florida was tough to take, then the loss to ASU was heartbreaking. However, we had some very good wins that could have went the other way as well.
My prediction is we will lose one game each to Minny, Maryland and maybe PSU for a 27-3 second half record (20-3 B1G). This puts us at an overall record of 49-6. We will remain in the top 8 and host a Regional and then the Super Regional.
My prediction for the Regional (#3 Seed): Central Michigan (MAC Champ), Notre Dame (ACC Runner Up) and my dark-horse for Champion of the Horizon League: Oakland University.
The Super Regional will be at Alumni Field against La-Lafayette (#14 Seed).
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.