I GET IT
The Michigan Softball team won the final game of the Houston Hilton Invitational Tourney today. They beat the Ohio Bobcats 16-3 in the 6 inning mercy rule game. Game time temperature was 72 F.
Stephanie Speierman was in the circle today and pitched 5 innings, allowed 5 hits and 2 earned runs. She struck out 5 and walked 2. JT came in the final inning in relief.
The offense scored 16 runs on 9 hits but took advantage of 17 Bobcat walks and had only 5 Ks. Dorian Shaw led the way going 2 for 3 with 2 BB and 4 RBIs and scoring both times she reached base. Ashley Lane went 1 for 2 with 3 BB and 2 RBIs while scoring 2 runs.
For the young, five game season, the Lady Wolverines have a batting average of .377, with an OBP of .643. They have 38 BB and have 23 Ks. They outscored their opponents 59-11, with 2 mercy rule wins.
The pitching has been dominating with Sophmore Stephanie Speierman doing a great job as JT's back up. SS has an ERA of 2.18, gave up 9 BB and has 16Ks in 17 innings of work. JT has an ERA of 1.23, gave up 2 BB and has 19Ks in 16 innings of work.
SS seems to be a slow starter due to 9 BB. Typically a great pitcher will have 1 BB to every 2 Ks or better. I think Carol is doing a great job with the pitching rotation. She is allowing SS enough innings to master her pitches, while saving JT.
Next up for the ladies is the FAU Kickoff Classic next weekend in Bocca Raton Florida.. They play #47 Long Island, #70 Florida Atlantic, #64 Tulsa and #26 UMass.
The Michigan Women's Softball team had a wonderful opening day yesterday by claiming 2 wins. The Wolverines won the first game against Southern Illinois 19-5 in a 5 inning mercy rule victory. Senior Jordan Taylor was in the circle for the Wolverines for her first win of the season. She struck out six batters and allowing five hits -- all in the third inning -- and two earned runs. The Michigan offense exploded for 19 runs off of 19 hits led by sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane's three hits.
In the second game against host Houston, Sophomore RHP Stephanie Speierman made just her fourth collegiate start, allowing three hits and striking out three through four innings of work.Senior firstbaseman Dorian Shaw hit a three run homer in the third inning to lead the #11 ranked Wolverines.
We play again today at 10am EST against the Ohio Bobcats, and then against Stephen F. Austin in the second game at Noon EST in Houston.
We have a dominating team this year and should make it past the super regional this year. I think Hutch has the right mix again. So GO BLUE!!
[This started out as a board post, but obviously got way too long. Hope there are a few other folks as excited as me for a Michigan sport where we still own fools mercilessly!]
Other excited folks / Detroit News
Michigan's softball team returns to action this afternoon with a pair of games against Southern Illinois & Houston. As always, expectations are high at the start of the season for us, being one of the elite teams nationally, and still the only team East of the Mississippi to win a National Title.
Last year, UM won the Big Ten championship for the third year running, but the playoff run came to an end all too early in the super-regional, dashing hopes for a second National Championship. This year, Hutch and the team have been clear that the goals (Big Ten & National Titles) are the same as always.
Ranked #8/#11 in the preseason polls, the Wolverines will have a lot to do in order to climb those mountains. Last year, Michigan was led by a large senior class and steamrolled the competition for much of the year, invoking the mercy rule on 19 separate occasions, en route to a 49-8 (18-1 Big Ten) record.
Those seniors have gone however and the roster is packed with 7 freshmen looking to prove themselves. Other younger players like sophomore pitcher Stephanie Speierman will be called on to step up as well, with players like star pitcher Nikki Nemitz, power hitter Maggie Viefhaus, and others no longer in Ann Arbor.
Despite the youth, however, Michigan does not lack for senior leadership. Pitcher Jordan Taylor and first-base/power-hitter Dorian Shaw are both on the pre-season Player of the Year watchlist, and will need to take a leading role if this Michigan team is to succeed.
Last year, Dorian Shaw lead the way for Michigan in the home-run department, going deep 21 times. One of those shots broke the letter A on the now-rechristianed "lumni Field" scoreboard. And while Nemitz was the senior pitcher on staff, Taylor led the way for much of the year, going 26-4 with an ERA of 1.44. The highlight of her year came in April when, on the 10th she tossed 5 perfect innings as Michigan mercy-ruled Minnesota 9-0. Not two weeks later, Taylor was on the mount again, and once again was perfect through 5, as UM mercy-ruled PSU 8-0.
The Wolverines in softball are the sort of team that does not rebuild, but reloads. A strong class of freshman recruits lead by sure-fire All-Americans like Taylor and Shaw will be a tough matchup for any team they face. The seniors will be looking to put the stamp on some great careers with a fourth straight Big Ten Title and some National hardware as well, and the younger players will be looking to make names for themselves on one of college softball's biggest stages. Let's go BLUE!
So I caught the last half of Michigan's Taylor Jungman pitch against Team USA as the Futures Team lost 1-0. Now, the World Cup of Softball switches over to the Men's Slow Pitch Softball World Series. I'm serious. It exists. And there's not even beer allowed on the field. USA vs Canada. Uh... go America?
It also gets weirder. 11 players in the lineup.
As got some discussion on the super-regional thread, softball season ended a couple weeks too soon today, despite a furious late rally. The sense of disappointment in the stands was great, and I'm sure the team is feeling it even more.
Still, I won't accept the narrative that has this as a failed or wasted season. Yes, we expected and could have achieved much more. However, going 49-8 and winning a third straight Big Ten title is a damn fine year. A lot more folks are wishing they were us than are glad they aren't. A tough ending, but congratulations to the team on a great year - and may there be many more for Hutchins, the Bo of women's sports!
After dropping game one of the super regional to Tennessee 5-0, Michigan is in a bind today. We need to win both games in order to advance. Game one is at 4:30, and the if necessary game will be at 7. The first game will be on ESPNU, and if we push it to three games, the second will be on ESPN2.
Let's go Blue, this thing is far from over!