The Wolverine

August 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 45 of 145

BY MICHAEL SPATH O n May 16, with the start of Michigan's NCAA Cham- pionships run, sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero stepped into the batter's box against San Diego State as the toughest out in college softball. At the moment, the Murrieta, Calif., native was hitting .503 in her bid to become only the 18th player nationally in softball's 33 years as an NCAA sport to hit .500 for an entire season. Had the Wolverines bowed out in the first two days of the postseason, Romero would have likely joined that immortal group. But the Maize and Blue kept winning, thanks in large part to Romero; she would hit .400 over U-M's final eight games, and contribute nine RBI and score eight runs. She finished the season with a .491 average, ranking second nation- ally and first in Michigan history by 36 points over Melissa Taylor's .455 effort during the 2001 season. "Hitting .500 for most of the sea- son, I couldn't believe it," Romero said. "I didn't even know it was that high because I really don't look at my stats. I leave that to my parents, Michigan fans and coaches. "If I feel like I'm doing well, that's all that matters, but I avoid stats be- cause I don't want to start competing with myself or putting more pres- sure on myself. I really did my best to avoid paying attention and didn't even know I was hitting .500 until late in the season." Romero didn't just hit .491. She also clobbered 18 home runs (seventh in the U-M single-season annals), drove in 72 (third place), crossed the plate for 74 runs (first), and drew 66 walks (second all time). Romero was walked more than any batter in the nation, led the country in on-base percentage (.633) and finished fourth In Division I in runs scored per game. She was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second season in a row, becoming the fifth Wolverine in school history to garner the league's top accolade twice, and she is The Wolverine's choice as Michigan's Fe- male Athlete of the Year. After her successful freshman cam- paign, Romero could look to U-M's not-too-distant past for some valu- able lessons. In 2005, Samantha Findlay set the Michigan softball world on fire. The Big Ten Rookie of the Year slugged Ms. Incredible Softball's Sierra Romero Slugged Her Way To A Remarkable Season FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR SIERRA ROMERO

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