Now that the season is over and we are all disappointed with how it ended, let us review the season and maybe this will ease your broken heart. In the tournament, the lack of hitting was our downfall not the lack of pitching. We made a few errors but not enough to change the direction of the game. The UK pitcher was nothing special but we just could not seem to get the bats going.
The season started out well. We were on a roll. We beat Zona, ASU, and ND. It seemed like a trip to the WS was our destiny. Then the Big 10 schedule hit. We had a 4 or 5 game slump and hardly beat some bad teams. We lost to Indiana, at home, which we should have won. Hutch had the girls take extra BP for the entire week and that seemed to help because the rest of the Big 10 season was awesome. In particular, the double mercy rule wins over tosu and Lil’ sister made us proud. It looked like we peaked too early; because as soon as the tournament started, our bats went cold again.
The opening day roster was significantly differently than the final game roster. The two major changes were due to injury to Stephanie Kirkpatrick and Nicole Sappingfield. The season would have ended different had these injuries not occurred.
Overall the 2011 season was a success despite this year was a “rebuilding” year. We started the season out of the Top 10 and slowly climbed our way to the #1 ranking before losing the very next weekend. Here are my awards to the players:
My choice for “Wolverine of the Year (MVP)”: Jordan Taylor. JT became Michigan’s all-time leader in wins and strikeouts. This is remarkable considering Hutch uses the platoon system in the regular season. Had JT pitched in more of the Big 10 games, she would have shattered both records. JT finished with a 31-5 record with a 1.51 ERA.
My choice for “Leadership Award”: Amanda Chidester. Chiddy led the team in RBIs (75) and BA (.423). She was selected as the 2011 Big 10 Player of the Year. She was a beast since moving to 3rdbase after the injury to Stephanie. Chiddy was the most vocal person on the team. She never got down and was always the first one to lead the team in cheers.
My choice for “Power Award”: Ashley Lane. Ashley came out of nowhere to lead the team in just about every power-hitting category at one point or another during the season, including several grand slam home runs. She finished a team high 18 HRs, and Slugging % and second in RBIs (71). She was my selection for All-American but fell just short; probably due to her high strike out count. Usually high strikeouts are not a problem but Ashley took too many called 3rdstrikes.
My choice for “Golden Glove and Co-Spark Plug”: Bree Evans. Bree is a prototype lead off hitter. She led the team in hits (86) and also had a 19 game hit streak. She was awesome in Center Field as well posting a perfect 1.000 fielding % out of 37 tries.
My choice for “Co-Spark Plug”: Nicole Sappingfield. Colie is another prototype lead off hitter. She bats from the left side and has speed too. She broke the school record of a 20 game hit streak.
Other player notes:
Stephanie Spiereman is the number 2 pitcher and could be a number 1 on most pitching staffs. She does not have the speed nor control of JT but she is fun to watch nonetheless. Spidey is only a sophomore so she will get better with her control.
Dorian Shaw started the season with a bang. She was leading the team in HRs and RBIs. Then when the team hit a slump at the start of the Big 10 season, Dorian just could not get it going again. Hutch moved her down in the line-up to shake things up, and it did not seem to help much.
Amy Knapp stepped in to play SS when Kirkpatrick was injured. She did a wonderful job. Her fielding percentage was a team 3rdat .965.
Lyndsay Doyle was thrust into the #2 spot and playing LF when Colie twisted her knee. She did a very good job and had a hot bat the final 6 games, batting over .400. It sure was nice to see her step it up.
Sr. Alycia Ryan, Sr. Marley Powers and Fr. Caitlin Blanchard all played well. Caitlin was the DP until Kirkpatrick’s injury force Amy to SS and Chiddy from catcher to 3rdbase.
Next years line up:
- Bree Evans CF
- Colie Sappingfield LF
- Ashley Lane 2B
- Amanda Chidester 3B
- Stephanie Kirkpatrick SS
- Lyndsay Doyle RF
- Caitlin Blanchard C
- Mandy Gardner 1B
- Amy Knapp DP
I will be posting profiles of the incoming freshmen later in the week. We have an awesome recruiting class that should improve the team as compared to this year. I know it is difficult to lose a power pitcher in JT but next year will be better.
Thanks to all the Seniors for your dedication to the school we love.