well that's just, like, your opinion, man
South Bend Wolverine
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|2 weeks 1 day ago||People always underestimate||
People always underestimate what a garbage athletic department MSU has. They are obviously in a major period of ascendancy in their two biggest sports, but after that ... woof. They continue to voluntarily employ Tom Anastos in a position that is so manifestly above his competence that it beggars belief, firebombing a storied program with a great heritage in the process. Their softball coach is the definition of mediocrity, and has been credibly accused (though, to be fair, not legally convicted) of deliberately having her players physically abused by the coaching staff. They are a low-standards outfit that is content to accept failure in every endeavor so long as football & b-ball continue to look good. All the more reason for Harbaugh to put them back in their place!
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Thought this was going to||
Thought this was going to contain a link to a sweepstakes where you get to go on the satellite camp tour with Harbaugh next year.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Back to back perfectos to win||
Back to back perfectos to win a championship - that's the kind of mean-streak, winning mentality that we can always use in Ann Arbor. Would love to see her put on a repeat performance of that in the WCWS someday. :)
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Those next couple years||
Those next couple years definitely give some area for concern. Not panic, of course, but we'll need to see Blanco and/or Crockett show a lot more than we've seen yet if we're going to have the staff we want for the tournament. One ace is great, but one of the biggest differences between this year and last was when Betsa struggled against OU, there was no Haylie Wagner to turn to like there was in 2015. Blanco has it in her, and Crockett may well have it also, but it hasn't showed up on the field yet. Will breathe easier once I see one or both of those two throw some quality innings.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Solid info, thanks! As||
Solid info, thanks! As expected, numbers not quite as comically dominant against elite national competition, but an ERA of 1.12 against national competition is very impressive indeed. Great to hear that she's already working with an arsenal of different pitches, instead of just relying on one or two all the time. That will serve her well at the next level.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Nice - that is definitely||
Nice - that is definitely what we like to hear. :) Any stats on her travel ball games?
|5 weeks 3 days ago||If the Susalla analogy holds||
If the Susalla analogy holds up, then that would be very good news indeed. Took Kelsey a couple of years to become a regular contributer, but finished her career with 2 excellent seasons. Wouldn't mind having another one of those.
Given her track/CC background, it seems likely that Hoogenraad could see the field early in a Mary Sbonek sort of role as a base-running specialist. That could get her into some games while her bat catches up to D-I pitching.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||It's true that the third||
It's true that the third division of Michigan HS softball is not exactly murderer's row. I would like it if we could get some more details about how she does with her travel ball team, but haven't seen too much in that department yet. That would be a better gauge of how quickly she'll transition to the college level.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||More details on Beaubien's||
More details on Beaubien's perfecto: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/high-school/2016/06/17/michigan-...
|5 weeks 3 days ago||So is Beaubien. She won't be||
So is Beaubien. She won't be on campus for us next season.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Can't wait for her to hit||
Can't wait for her to hit campus. She'll be stepping into some pretty big shoes, succeeding Betsa & walking into a staff without a clear-cut ace. She may end up being a 4-year ace if she can transition to the D-I level effectively.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Gotta think Bonnie Tholl is||
Gotta think Bonnie Tholl is the heir apparent for sure, unless something strange happens. Should get at least 10-15 good years with her as the top woman after Hutch steps down, which could be anywhere from 5-15 years from now, depending on our continued success & Hutch's desires/health.
That would provide a nice amount of time for Romero to have an awesome, extended playing career, get into coaching as an assistant (here or elsewhere) and then succeed Tholl as the softball Harbaugh (only hopefully w/o the period of bleh beforehand). Highly speculative, I know, and I don't know if she even wants to go into coaching. The thought of Michigan softball being in the hands of Hutch-Tholl-Romero for the next 50 years, though, is pretty enticing. Plus, then Sierra could rectify the injustice of never winning the WCWS as a player.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Although seeing Romero on||
Although seeing Romero on Alumni Field wearing another uniform would be a pretty surreal sight, I'd definitely be going if I were in town. I've come to appreciate the sport of softball so much, even beyond just loving the Michigan team, I really wish that NPF were a bigger deal. I know it'll never crack the major sports, but if there could just be a smattering of games on TV throughout the summer, I'd enjoy that a lot. Glad to see Michigan partnering with USSSA Pride to promote the game.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Wow. When I graduated from||
Wow. When I graduated from SHS, all we got was a former principal. Not going to lie, the jealousy factor is pretty high here. :)
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Great post, I'll definitely||
Great post, I'll definitely be bookmarking this for reference. Not to tip my hand, but this won't be the last chance we have on this site to remember Romero's great career. :)
|7 weeks 2 days ago||To the redshirt question,||
To the redshirt question, non-medical redshirts have been very rare at Michigan in my time watching softball - having a hard time thinking of even one, actually. Certainly must have been a case where we had a clear-cut top 2 options, and the others were a significant step back.
Regarding the point about returning players, it's definitely an open question. I pegged 2015 as a season where we would be a solid team, but unlikely to get a top-8 seed due to our massive offensive losses. We lost a .400 hitter in Colie Sappingfield, a .369 hitter in Lindsay, and two more hitters solidly in the .300s in Taylor Hasselbach & Caitlin Blanchard. I questioned how we would replace those numbers, and was of course delighted to have those questions answered over the course of the season.
On the one hand, you don't *replace* players like the Sierras, who were a once in a lifetime duo, and Susalla & Driesenga both brought a ton to the table as well. On the other, we've got a lot of great young players who have been biding there time. Who's going to be the next Kelsey Susalla or Kelly Christner to suddenly emerge into a big-time player? Time will tell.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||I'd be surprised if we ever||
I'd be surprised if we ever retire numbers while Hutch is the coach. There's an exercise she has all freshmen players go through where they write an essay about all the players who have worn their number in the past. I think she likes the way players wearing the numbers of the greats & feeling challenged to live up to that standard.
If we ever do retire numbers, Romo would be high on the list. Jennie Ritter as well.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Yeah, I am very much the same||
Yeah, I am very much the same way, WD. Obviously I love games with the Maize & Blue best of all, but it's just such a thrilling sport. Take everything good about baseball, get rid of everything that sucks, and some extra good things like rise balls & slap-hitters, and you've got yourself one heck of a sport. It'll be tough to watch the championship series this year b/c I feel so bad for our players who won't be able to be there, but in a typical year now I watch a big chunk of the WCWS and a number of other games throughout the year. One of my favorite softball memories is watching Keilani Ricketts' glittering performance in the 2013 WCWS (except the part where she beat us, I didn't like that bit) to lead OU to the title. Had nothing to do w/ UM specifically, it was just damn good softball.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||WD sums it up pretty well||
WD sums it up pretty well here. A few of my own thoughts:
I agree that we'll need more in the circle than just Betsa. Blanco is going to be a huge part of this team offensively, but we'll need her or Crockett to step up & provide a legit 2nd option as well. One of the big differences in the tourney between 2015 & 2016 was the lack of Haylie Wagner. When we went down early in our winner's bracket game in 2015, Wagner came in & slammed the door. This year, Betsa had to battle - she gave it her all, but it wasn't enough.
At the same time, I still think that, fundamentally, 2017 will be the year of the Betsa. Our O will be good, but it won't put up the gonzo stats it has for the last 2 years. We will go basically as far as Betsa's arm can take us. If she pitches like she did against LSU & FSU, we can go very far. If the OU performance reoccurs, we won't have the power to balance it out. She has all the tools in her toolbox, and hopefully she'll be healthy all year long. Question is, can she put it all together at once?
As for the other sore spot, catcher will be a pitched battle. Falk is a very replaceable incumbent. Sobczak had the job early on this year & lost it, so she'll be a real threat to win it back. Skvarce could factor in as well, esp. if the "rocket arm" MGoSoftball reported translates to the D-1 level. Inability to pick off runners was a big issue this year - we missed Sweet's rifle badly.
As for the other open spots, it's going to be a scrum. There are a lot of players (Panda Vargas, Faith Canfield, Taylor Swearingen, the losers of the catcher battle, freshmen) who have showed potential, but none have broken through to be consistent .300+ hitters, which is sort of the benchmark for being a quality contributer to a national contender. We've got a lot of bullets in the chamber, we just need a few to come through.
Finally, two big X factors - Kelly Christner & Aidan Falk. Both were brilliant in 2015, both took big steps back in 2016. Christner dropped around 75 points off her batting avg & 15 off her HR total, Falk dropped over 30 points, and hit one less long ball (#s are approximate b/c final season stats aren't posted yet). For Falk, perhaps the weight of learning a new position caught up to her. Christner is harder to explain. They will both be important parts of the 2017 batting order, so it's a big question whether they'll be able to recover their 2015 #s, or if they will continue to struggle, especially with the loss of all the powerful bats around them.
I'll have more to say in a few months when it's season preview time, but basically I see us as a legit contender for a national seed & Big Ten title. For us to be more than that, we'll need to hit on a few of these X-factor/wild card situations. It's definitely possible, but it will not be easy.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||That's what it's all about -||
That's what it's all about - family! Amazing the way these athletes bring people together. Hope your daughter is able to achieve her dream & pitch for Hutch (or maybe Tholl by that time) some day!
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Pop out ends the season. No||
Pop out ends the season. No point in concealing the disappointment here, but let's also remember that the disappointment comes from the amazingly high standard this team has set over the last 18 months. They've given us a lot of great times, and in the end, that's what I choose to remember most about them.
Thank you Romero. Thank you Lawrence. Thank you Susalla. Thank you Driesenga. You've all give us 4 (or 5) phenomenal years. Best of luck for the rest of your lives.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Pop-out on a bunt attempt by||
Pop-out on a bunt attempt by Monte. 1 out left in the season. Not a fan of the bunt call myself, but Hutch knows more than I do.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Falk gets us started with a||
Falk gets us started with a sharp single. 1 on, 1 out. Can we make something happen?
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Full count, and Blanco goes||
Full count, and Blanco goes down looking. 2 outs to stay alive.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Another K, and Michigan gets||
Another K, and Michigan gets one last chance. 3 outs to score 1 & keep the season alive. Betsa has been wonderful today, save for one rough inning. O needs to pick her up.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Betsa gets the K to start the||
Betsa gets the K to start the 6th. She was shaky last night, but has been an absolute warrior today.
As I type, she gets a fly-out for the 2nd out.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Meek ground out from Susalla,||
Meek ground out from Susalla, and the best chance to score goes begging. 3 outs to keep this season alive.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Fly-out from Christner. 2||
Fly-out from Christner. 2 on, 2 outs. Now or never, girls!
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Fittingly, Romero draws a||
Fittingly, Romero draws a walk in possibly her final AB. 2 on, 1 out as FSU deals the unintentional intentional walk. Now Christner needs to make them pay.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Sacrifice grounder for Silo||
Sacrifice grounder for Silo advances the runner. Romero comes up with a runner in scoring position and 1 out. Here's her chance to put her stamp on this WCWS.