Michigan Wolverine Softball: Looking Back at BTT — Part III


Michigan Softball Posted at 4:00pm — -5/12/2015

Michigan Wolverine Softball: Looking Back at BTT — Part III

So, Michigan is now rolling having also mercy-ruled Penn State 16-1 on Friday afternoon. Penn State did not exactly win the league lottery of good luck having the misfortune of playing Michigan four times in a one-week span.

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Nebraska entered the championship game having beat a hot, home-standing Ohio State squad and enduring a prolonged battle with the aforementioned hard-fighting Iowa team. Nebraska, like Michigan, is a big inning team. Many on media sites stated that Nebraska had the best offense in the Big Ten. For certain, it is formidable. As mentioned, the Huskers have strong one and two hole hitters and players that can leave the yard throughout the lineup. Both of Nebraska’s front-line pitchers, Cassie McClure and Kaylen Jablonski, bring sufficient heat and throw plenty of challenging changeups.

The big question Chill and I pondered was who would take the mound /circle for Michigan in the title game- Megan Betsa or Haylie Wagner? Betsa had thrown well but Wagner had more big moment experience and was more rested. Wagner got the start.

Michigan Wolverines
Michigan Wolverines /

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan was the visitor in the title game and went down rather easily in inning one. Leadoff hitter Sierra Lawrence hit a mild fly, hammer hitter Sierra Romero pulled a hard ground ball straight into the third baseman’s glove, and three-hole hitter, Kelly Christner, meekly grounded to the pitcher. No reason for worry, Michigan and all teams frequently face an empty first inning. In the circle, Haylie Wagner was bringing it. A tough battle with leadoff hitter Stokes ended with a strikeout on a high fastball and the next two hitters were retired by fielders and the game had the look of two bigball teams that may need smallball to win.

That indeed came to pass in Michigan’s second inning. Kelly Susalla walked and Lauren Sweet laid down a very short bunt that ended up with no coverage at first base. With a situation of runners at first and second and no one out in a scoreless game, the Nebraska coaching staff held a defensive meeting to insure no repeat miscue. But the bunt never came as fireball third baseman Lindsey Montemarano ripped a shot off the diving glove of the Nebraska third baseman. She really pulled through on the inside swing. The result was the first run of the game. Later, Tera Blanco fought through the count and received a changeup and timed it up for a sacrifice fly to left field to make the score 2-0. Giving a hitter down in the line up a pitch that can be handled is somewhat of a gift instead of going for the power strikeout with runners on base. Whatever, this worked out in Michigan’s favor.

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  • Nebraska was not overmatched and started to hit the ball hard. Sierra Lawrence made a big play at the fence to halt a potential rally and shortstop Abby Ramirez used superb technique (circling footwork in the hole) to be in position to make strong throws to barely (maybe) throw out Nebraska hitters.

    In the fifth, Michigan grouped some of the few hits of the contest to create an opportunity for Sierra Romero to finalize the game, the tournament, and the choice of Most Valuable Player. Romero, in the hole with a 1-2 count, hit a dinger that made the score 6-0. Wagner kept working and the countdown of outs for Nebraska dwindled to just one. Nebraska held a short rally to score a lone run, and then fittingly a grounder back to Wagner ended the game.

    The several hundred Michigan softball supporters in attendance celebrated the 6-1 final, even at the late hour,

    Coach Hutch knows the next round of battles will be more intense and the competition tougher. That will be something to play out next week. For now, enjoy what this team has done.

    Next up, a more microscopic look at the make up of this team.

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    Written by GBMWolverine Writer/Staff — Chris Hill and Doc4Blu

    Go Blue — Wear Maize!