The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 65 of 83

Allen Park, Mich., the Alumni Field crowd said goodbye to Bree Evans, the outfielder from Bloomington, Calif.; Stephanie Kirkpatrick, a third baseman out of Plainfield, Ill.; and Hilary Payne, a pitcher out of Plym- outh, Mich. Payne threw the final inning, shut- ting down the Boilermakers to close out the day. "I hate Senior Day," an emotional Hutchins noted. "I hate that I know it's almost over. This is a really great class." It's a class that hits the road for the In addition to Chidester, a native of first time in the NCAA regionals. At 39-15, the No. 22 Wolverines headed to the Louisville Regional, taking on 29-28 Kentucky in the tournament opener May 18. The other teams in the regional were No. 15 Louisville (53-3) and Valparaiso (42-17). Hutchins felt long before the end of the season her team wouldn't be hosting a regional, and prepared accordingly. "I told the kids a couple of weeks Senior infielder Amanda Chidester batted .354 with nine home runs and a team-high 44 RBI to ago, so they could quit trying so hard to win so we could be home," she explained. "I said, 'You just play, and wherever we go, who cares? We've seen people come onto this field and leave with a trophy, so let's go onto somebody else's field and win one." Hutchins embraced the challenge, help U-M maintain its conference supremacy and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS and expected her players to do likewise. "I like my team," she said. "They're going to have to play well to win anything, just like they had to play well to be in the position they're in. teau on a mountain, overlooking a valley populated by 11 other programs. The Wolverines delivered a reminder of that fact this year, racking up a fifth straight Big Ten title even amid a season marked by challenges. A pair of freshman pitchers helped the Wolverines to an When it comes to Big Ten softball, Michigan lives in a cha- unprecedented winning streak when it comes to champion- ships, and the 15th title in the history of the program. Here's a look at how the championships have been allocated in three decades of Big Ten softball: Big Ten Softball Championships Team Michigan Iowa Northwestern Indiana Minnesota Ohio State Big Ten Titles 15 4 4 3 2 2 more than one championship in a row, capturing back-to- back titles in 1984 and 1985. Before its present unprece- dented streak, the Wolverines had won back-to-back cham- pionships four times. U-M head coach Carol Hutchins always focuses on the Northwestern is the only other Big Ten team to have won 66 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2012 They don't have to play perfect. They just have to go into the tournament and attack other teams. We can't be tentative. "The pressure is not on us. The good news is, we're not supposed to win. We're going to be the underdog, and I can't wait to play that part." ❏ Michigan Reinforces Its Ownership Of Big Ten Softball here and now, meaning her players weren't even aware of the history they were making in winning a fifth straight title. "I did not know that, " admitted. "It's awesome. I'm glad I was a part of it. It goes to Hutch — she pushes us every single day to be the best we can be, and that's what we have to strive for. Nothing less. "There are really no words for it," freshman pitcher Haylie Wagner added. "It's such a great experience to be able to come in here at Alumni Field and win a Big Ten champion- ship in my first year. To do it for the seniors, it's really great. Meanwhile, Hutchins made it clear the title means plenty " for this team, this year. "You ask any coach in our department, and you ask any coach in our conference — any championship is special," she said. "You have to go through all the ups and downs of a season. You have to play at the beginning, you have to play in the middle and you have to play at the end. When things don't go your way, you have to bounce back. It's very special. care about. When I retire, I can reflect on that kind of stuff. I want to keep playing. " — John Borton As for the history involved, Hutchins can wait to contemplate. "It means we have practice Monday, " " she said. "That's all we " senior first baseman Amanda Chidester

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - June-July 2012