"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Now with the Football season all but over (save #beat ohio), it is time to talk about our most recently successful varsity sport: Softball. National Signing Day is Friday so I will give the board a run-down of the latest verbal commitments that are expected to sign with us on Friday.
Coach Hutch seems to be focusing on power with this class in the mold of Chiddy and Ashley. We are expected to get 3 kids from Orange County, California along with the player profiled below.
First up is Aidan Falk. Aidan Hails from Rochester New York where she plays for Our Lady of Mercy. Her summer team is the elite Battery Lightning gold. She plays catcher and 1B, she bats and throws left. In her junior year, Aidan’s batting average is .556 and her on-base percentage was .682. Last year as a junior, Aidan was a Second-Team All-State selection. MaxPreps ranks her in the top 60 nationally.
Aidan received an offer from ND, amongst other smaller D1 schools. Welcome to the family Aidan. We are happy to have you. We hope your stay in AA is rewarding, your softball career is outstanding but more importantly; your education and studies bring enlightenment that only the Michigan Difference can bring.
Amanda Chidester exploded last year. She was an All-American selection. This year she is on the "Watch List" along with teammates Ashley Lane and Bree Evans. However, Chiddy has started a little slow during the first two games but she made up for all of that tonight.
Chiddy hit a walk-off HR to lead us to a 5-4 victory. She went 3 for 4 with 2 runs and 3 RBIs. This is almost mid-season form for her. I am so happy for her. Ashley Lane went 2 for 3 tonight as well.
Stephanie Spiereman was in the circle tonight and Caitlan Blanchard was her battery mate. Stephanie gave up 3 runs (2 ER) off 5 hits, 3 BB and 1K in 4.2 innings of work. Strike outs are not Stephanie's strong point. She is more of a low ball pitcher that gets hitters to ground out instead of over-powering hitters.
Haylie Wagner came in to calm things down as Stephanie got into a jam in the 5th inning. Haylie gave up 1 ER on 1 hit, 2 BB and 2K in 2.1 innings of work.
It is good to see Coach mix things up a little. The outfield is set with Bree sandwiched between Lindsay and Colie. These three also are at the top of the order with 1, 2 ,3 being Bree, Lindsay and Colie. I would not expect Coach to tinker much with this.
The real question is what to do at 1st base. We have so many options with Taylor and Mandy both capable of doing a good job. Then that leaves Ashley as DP. This is a good situation to have but it will take a few more games to settle in. Typically it takes about 8-10 games to get everything situated.
We finish up tomorrow in a non-league game against Penn State, who lost to La Tech and LSU thus far.
Congrats ladies on a 3-0 record. Dont worry about the close scores thus far, Coach is just tryint to figure out WHO we are first.
The USA Softball Association released its pre-season All-American Watch List recently. Michigan has 3 players on that list: Sr. Amanda Chidester, Sr. Bree Evans and Jr. Ashley Lane. This is a very impressive feat for a team located in the "Snowy North".
While Cal, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas lead the way among universities with three athlete representatives each, the Big 12 Conference and the Pacific-12 (Pac-12) Conference have six member schools represented. Northwestern (2) and Nebraska (1) are the only other B1G school that has players on the list.
Congrats to Chiddy, Bree and Ashley. You have made us all proud. Keep up the good work and we look forward to seeing you starting this Friday.