SB Future Bright

Submitted by MGoSoftball on December 4th, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Now that the FB regular season is over, I wanted to let the board know about a few things happening on the Softball team.  IMO this team will bring us the next National Championship.

1) The team scrimmaged against National Pro Fastpitch All-Star team on 06OCT12.  Former M Star and current M coach Nikki Nemitz pitched for NPF.  The Varsity team took it to them and had a walk-off, 3-2 win.  Sara Driesenga was the winning pitcher.  Newcomer Sierra Romero was the hero at the plate by going 3 for 3 with a 2 run homer in the 5th to tie the game.  Then in the bottom of the 7th, M worked the bases loaded when Ashley Lane drew a game-winning base on balls.

NPF travels around the country playing various NCAA teams and has a 60-4 record in the past three years.  Out of 22 games played this year, NPF lost 3 games: us, UL-Lafayette (5-4) and Okalhoma (5-3).This is the first real test for the Varsity team.

2) Coach signed 3 very good standouts recently.  I will profile them in separate "Hello" posts.

3) The Board of Directors approved a multi-million dollar improvement project to Alumni Field.  We have very good facilities however they are not "World Class".  The improvement will take us to the top.  Tennessee has the best overall facilities IMO and this should catch and maybe even surpass Tennessee.  This will help recruiting, along with the FB and BB successes.  We should have a NC within 5 years (aggressive I know).

The 2013 schedule begins 08FEB13 in Tampa Florida for the USF Tourney.

The future continues to look bright.  Coach Hutch is certainly the best in the game, as she re-loads every single year.  This, along with the new projects, your "game-day" experience will be much better.




December 4th, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

Keilani Ricketts coming back for an Oklahoma team only losing three seniors (two of which were pitchers behind her) they have to be up there. Same goes for a very, very good Alabama team with all-everything Jackie Traina returing with zero departing seniors. I'm assuming some big Pac representation near the top of the polls and possibly Hawaii at ten or twelve or so, although their two pitchers (sisters, both with ridiculous stats) got exposed pretty badly against top tier competition in the tournament last season.

M should have a good season, but they need more consistent hitting and at least the normal freshman to sophomore development at the pitcher spot to be elite nationally, at least from my recollection of their 2011-2012 season.

Edit: I'd expect Cal to be a player nationally this season, too. They return two of the best players in the NCAA, including their pitcher. The downside is that they lose a third All-American and have a crazy amount of freshman (although that's not always as big of a deal for a softball team).


December 4th, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

you certainly know your softball.  How is Megangoblue?

I agree Oklahoma is probably the team to beat.  They were a young team last season.  This coming season is theirs to lose.  Alabama should be right there too but I am not a huge fan of Traina.  As I pointed out during the NCAA Tournament, Traina throws far to many balls (non-strikes).  She gets lucky because aggressive hitters go after them.  When she is forced to pitch strikes, she typically loses.

So in this case Ricketts >> Traina IMO.  Oklahoma wins another NC.

Now for my sleepers.  UL-Lafayette came out of no where.  They beat us too.  They are a young team as well and they just beat NPF team.  Keep this team in your top 10.

Another sleeper is Tennessee.  They are back after a couple of years of the post-Monica blues. The other sleeper is Louisville.  They are a small, attacking type team that can get some pop when they need it.

On a personal note: keep an eye on Valpo.  I am friends with the coach (Jordan Stevens) and know him well.  He was born and raised in Marysville, Michigan.  I coached against him for several years.  Jordan is a HUGE Michigan fan and attends many football games (undercover of course). If everyone remembers, he got his team a #4 seed last year.  Now he just couldnt get much out of his team in the Tourney but he will continue to do well.

In the B1G, it really is a crap shoot.  This past season was a case of "good is bad and bad is good" (except for M of course).  I look for Nebraska to challenge us.  I know this is not much of a stretch as N is typically in the hunt.  Wisckey and Minny came out of no where last year.  I would be surprised if they repeat last year's success.

And per usual, look for Little Sister to round out the bottom of the barrel.  They have some decent players as I know many of them personally from summer tournaments over the years.  Spartina just cant seem to land that top notch pitcher that they need.


December 4th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

Happy that I'm able to stick around and bother her full time with grad classes at school with her. She's also looking like a decent to good hitter this year, so I'd expect her to DP and/or hit for herself when she pitches. Her team lost the best pitcher in program history, but that makes it look to me like she'll be allowed to get into a groove instead of getting benched over a kind of bad game against a very good mid major at the start of the season, so I'll be expecting a big year out of her on the mound.

The top job will be a challenge (I'd expect one and two to get all conference honors, and the one is probably pitcher of the year), but the third pitcher is a freshman who needs work to consistantly pitch at the level of her teammates, so I'd expect 135+ innings even for the number two. She got clocked earlier today after working some "heavy ball" program since fall ball ended, but I haven't seen her since practice so I'm not sure how that went.


December 4th, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

EMU and WMU at home, and I believe they go to Mount Pleasant. No MSU and no Michigan, obviously (UDM might be on the schedule as a home game). Hopefully Ann Arbor can host a regional this year to go along with her leading a conference championship season.


December 4th, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

How come you like softball so much?  Not saying I don't, I am just wondering.

I am a life-long (obsessive) Tigers fan, so I watch a lot of baseball.   But when the NCAA Softball tourney rolls around, I actually do enjoy watching it because the fast pace of the game and strategy involved (I don't know much, but I've observed slapper/Ichiro-type girls get on base then the power hitters try to drive them in).

Sorry for the random question, but considering your name and the fervor of your post it made me curious.

Hope you're right about the prediction at the beginning!  Go Blue!


December 4th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

My first interest in M softball was in 1983 when someone I knew (Mari Foster) went to M.  She was the starting pitcher for a few years and did a great job.  Of course this was before the internets and data was hard to get.  News spread by way of the phone line.  Coach Hutch with the help of some player's dads would chaulk the lines.

I am a lifelong baseball student.  I had two daughters and no sons.  So I thought that I might as well use my passion and knowledge of the game for good use.  So I started a travel SB team in my area with a 10U team.  I was able to keep the same set of girls together and they developed very nicely.  So when we were an 18U team, we were very good and then became State contenders, no State Championships though.  For 7 consecutive years, I took teams to the State Finals and finished no lower than 8th and no higher than 3rd.

I then coached my daughter's D1 college Club team for a few years.  I then took an early retirement.  Then a funny thing happened.  Some of the little sisters called me and asked me to coach them, which I agreed.  So I started fresh again with a 10U team a few years ago.  This team is now a 16U team and will probably finish in the Top 8 this year.

I have been to many summer tourneys where most of the better players participate.  It is fun to coach against a 16U pitcher, then in a few years, watch her on ESPN.

I am also a student (secretly) of Coach Hutch.  I dont think people realize how special she is.  She could coach anywhere at any level she wants; but she stays here.  That is dedication to the school and the program.  She is the winninest coach on campus.  Keep in mind she was the first SB coach to win a NC east of the Mississippi.  (Alabama was the second team last year).



December 4th, 2012 at 3:38 PM ^

Playing their first year of U10 this year. One of them started pitching last year (which I'm NOT thrilled about). They play soccer too, so I'm not having them do year round yet. I like the diversification as long as they can.
But her pitching looks very good to me, even taking the last few months off. We have a coach and she thinks the breaks are good. What do you think, coach?


December 4th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

Maryland has a historically good softball team--perhaps the second or third best program in the ACC (after Georgia Tech and maybe Florida State), in an interesting contrast with their baseball program.

Rutgers has a softball team.  They were middle-of-the-pack in the Big East, and will remain so in the Big Ten.

It will be interesting to see how they have 14 teams play in a conference that really only has 6 or 7 weekends with good enough weather to play regular-season softball games (plus 1 week for a conference tournament) before regionals start.



December 4th, 2012 at 3:17 PM ^

the ACC actually isn't a great softball conference, and Maryland has an okay history of success (never made it out of an NCAA Regional, only won one ACC tournament). Rutgers has never won a BE or A-10 title, and as far as I can tell has never made the tournament.

As far as softball goes, Jed Clampet followed the right advice: Californee is the place you oughta be. And Texas too, and some of the south, but mostly California. Michigan is probably a better recruiting territory than either of the new markets.