Michigan received a #10 National Seed for this weekend's NCAA Softball Tournament. In the Ann Arbor Regional is Western Michigan, Notre Dame and Kentucky.
The Softball tourney uses a double elimination format, which in my opinion, is the fairest because if a team has a bad hair day, they can still come back and win.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) has chosen JT, Ashley Lane, Amanda Chidester and Bree Evans as First Team Selections.
Western Michigan University Broncos (25-28, 14-6 MAC). WMU received an automatic bid by winning the MAC softball title It is the first title since 2003. WMU came from behind and took 2 from the Ohio Bobcats for the title.
WMU has 4 players that made all-conference; Courtney Rousseau, Kayla Houston, Gracie Barstad, and MVP - Pitcher Meredith Whitney.
WMU did not shy away from competition. They played 5 ranked teams; then #10 ASU (L 17-0), then #6 Oklahoma (L 5-0), then #5 Alabama (L 6-1), then #16 Mizzou (twice)
(L 6-1) and (L 10-0) and of course #2 Michigan (L 6-1).
They had some embarrassing losses. They lost to the College of Charleston (5-3), and to Central Connecticut (5-3). They had a few quality wins against Notre Dame (3-2) and Loyola-Marymount (4-3).
In the game against us, MAC MVP M Whitney was the WMU pitcher. We jumped all over her. Colie and Ashley had 3 hit apiece. Stephanie and Hilary split the pitching duties.
Summary: WMU have not seen JT yet this year, they will regret it too as JT pitches a 6 inning mercy rule win. Blue Dragon will have to dig deep into the archives to find a suitable post.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (45-9, 19-1 Big East) ND received an At-Large Bid to the Tourney, ND finished 1st in the regular season and was #1 seed in the conference tournament. However, #5 seed Louisville knocked ND out of the tourney by a score of 6-0 in the semi-finals. Syracuse would eventually defeat Louisville for the Conference Championship.
The NFCA named their All Great Lakes team and Senior catcher Alexia Clay, senior outfielder Sadie Pitzenberger, junior outfielder Alexa Maldonado and junior infielder Dani Miller were each named to the first team.
ND played a few ranked teams: Oklahoma (W 2-1), Alabama (L 4-1), Washington (L 7-4) and Michigan (L 9-4). Oklahoma is NDs only quality win. ND has two embarrassing loses against Long wood (L 2-0) and Western Michigan (L 3-2).
Summary: ND can win if they hit on all cylinders. ND biggest weakness is the lack of pitching. They have to outscore their opponents. They just cannot hang in a double elimination tournament.
University of Kentucky Wildcats (36-14, 14-9 SEC) received an At-Large Bid to the Tourney by finishing 4th in the SEC East.
Kentucky is a streaky team. They lose to ranked Stanford 4-2, but takes 2 out of 3 from Tennessee and 3 straight from Florida. KU had 2 embarrassing losses to Memphis (L 3-2) and South Carolina (L 4-3)
Summary: Kentucky has the pitching to go the distance in Rachel Riley. She can flat out pitch. They have shown that they can beat anyone at any time. But they will certainly have to bring their "A" game to beat JT and Michigan.
I predict UK and Michigan in the finals with a big M victory