14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 16, 1998
Tammy Mika - here digging her way out of the batter's box - and the rest of the Wolverines will try to improve today upon
a four-hit offensive performance in Tuesday's loss to Michigan State.
Unusual Situation for M'
By Rick Freeman
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes, the best lessons are
the toughest to take.
And the lesson Michigan's softball
team learned yesterday at the hands
of the Spartans was a particularly
Michigan lost its first game since
March 7 when it fell to Michigan
State, 7-4, on Tuesday. After trailing
44. the Wolverines produced a
Softball Melissa Gentile
C'om'menary launched a
~ -~ -~----- almost to
Jenison I eldhouse, looming in the
distance beyond the left-field fence,
the game was tied.
Tvpical Michigan softball. The No.
2 team in the country seemed as
t hough it couldn't he denied. It
looked as if it were only a matter of
tinme until they scratched out that
flat the Spartans stood their
1round, and when they came to the
plate in the top of the sixth, they took
back their lead right from under the
Yes, the top of the inning.
Doubleheaders in softball switch the
home teams for the nightcap. Not
that it mattered any for the
Volerines. Their five-error perfor-
mance transcended such triflings like
the nominal home or away designa-
Regardless, it was the Michigan
State fight song that blared when the
went ahead as Tiffany Yeager scored
on a Carrie Carpenter single to right.
Instead of the Wolverines breaking
green-and-white hearts by slowly
advancing runners around the bases,
it wv as the Spartans who found a way
to scratch out a run.
I hen another.
Each rutn brought the entire team
out of the du;gout to celebrate behind
And when Michigan State pitcher
Stephanie Noffsinger struck out
Michigan's Stacev Judd to end the
game, the Spartan leapt into the air
and her teammates ran out to sur-
All the Wolverines could do was
stand silentlv and watch.
()r was it?
Michiman centerfielder Tammy
Mika, vxlo had done so well in the
first game w ith three hits and two
runs batted in, contributed only an
error in the second tame.
And, in that first game, she came
Sara Griffin didn't commit any errors against Michigan State this weekend, but
teammates did while she was on the mound.
By Evan Braunstein
Daily Sports Writcr
Everything was going so well for
the Michigan softball team. Riding a
17-game win streak after Tuesday's
victory over Michigan State in the
first game of a doubleheader, the
No. 2 Wolverines (35-4 overall, 12-1
Big Ten) looked unstoppable. They
had swept both of their conference
series against Ohio State and
Minnesota, and hadn't lost a Big Ten
game since April 13, 1997.
But it all came to an end in
Tuesday's nightcap against the
Spartans. In the 7-4 loss, the
Wolverines committed five errors
and managed just four hits.
"We did not play well," Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins said. "In the
past, we've been able to get away
with not playing our best and still
win because we're a great team. But
when you make so many mistakes
and only get four hits, you can't
expect to win."
Now, the Wolverines look to begin
another streak, as they take Western
Michigan today in a 3 p.m. double-
header at Alumni Field. Today marks
just the third homestand since the
start of the season for the
"I'm really happy to be home, and
I know the kids feel the same way,"
Hutchins said. "Being on the road
really takes its toll, both mentally
Playing at Alumni Field usually
spells victory for the Wolverines-
as they have a .732 winning percent-
age in the 16 years they have been
Despite the less-than-stellar per-
formance in the loss to the Spartans,
Hutchins has confidence that her
Who: Michigan vs.::
Where: Alumni Field
WVhen: a p.m. (DH-)
Notables: the Wolverines
find themselves in an
unfamiliar position when
they host this afternoon's
doubleheader- trying to
stop a losing streak (even
if it is only a one-game
Complicating matters is
the fact that Division I
player of the week Sara
Griffin is not scheduled to
pitch for the Wolverines in
either game. Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins said
Griffin "needs the rest".
Jamie Gillies and Marie
Barda will pitch instead.:
b o u n c e
of a good
team is how
she said. "I
test for the
will be han-
G ri f f i n,
three-win, 17-strikeout performance
against Minnesota last weekend,
Griffin is the backbone of tiis
Michigan team and has been a key
player in all of its victories.
Hutchins, however, is opting to
rest Griffin so she will be ready for
the three-game series against
Northwestern this weekend. Taking
the mound today will be Jamie
Gillies and Marie Barda, both of
whom pit ched in the loss to
While she is not overlooking
today's games against Western,
Hutchins said the conference gatles
this weekend take precedence.
"We need to get ready for
Northwestern, and I really feel that
Griffin needs the rest." she said.
"Also, giving Jamie and Marie soie
work will help them get ready for
the weekend. We are going to need
all three of them to pitch."
Gillies brings a 9-2 record to the
mound while Barda is 4-2.
While not quite at the level o I
Griffin, both pitchers have ERAs
under 3.00 and pitched well in the
Wolverine's last non-confercnce
In the doubleheader against
Central Michigan April 7. Gillies
gave up one earned run while Barda
shut out the Chippewas in a one-hit
within a softball's width of scoring a
run as well. In the fifth inning,
Carrie Carpenter, Mika's counterpart
in center, threw her out at the plate
by the slimmest of margins. Mika
made a nifty move to try and reach
around Michigan State catcher
Margaret Hollis. But Carpenter's
throw was dead-eye accurate and the
score stayed tied until the fifth
But what might have been in the
first game never came to be in the
In fact, it just got worse.
After the second game, Mika
stared at her cleats as she traced cir-
cles in the dirt with them. She
chewed on her lower lip and it was a
long time before she spoke.
"We're gonna learn from it," she
Some people stumble through life,
missing all the subtle little signs, the
lesson in nearly everything.
Especially things that hurt.'Some
people shrug it off. And learn from
Good teams do, too.
Some teams will let an insides-
churner like Tuesday's get to them.
They'll take their mistake to heart,
and forget that the mistakes were
aberrations. They'll let the mistakes
And some will try to take what
they can from their failure, take a
lesson, and use it to motivate them-
Maybe this is just what hey
ed. A loss to sharpen their focu
which, shortstop Rebecca Tut
noted, might have worn a little d"
during their 17-game win streak,
"It's not like we were just cruisin
but ...," Tune said.
Tune explained how she and h
teammates are "so used to maki
the play," that when they don't its
bit of a shock.
But when they do, she said,'f
miscue is quickly forgotten.
Nothing was usual about Tuesda
In Michigan State's three-run fift
Tune and first baseman Traci Cor
booted grounders. The gaffe w
Conrad's first of the season. Tui
followed with another in the six
and then it was Melisa Taylor's
as she inexplicably lifted her
over Jacqueline Hall's routine. tw
Pam Kosanke rounded out t
erring by sailing a throw to first ha
well over Conrad's head.
But cruising time was over, a
learning time had just begun.
And today's game will be the fi
time they'll be tested, to see wl
they've learned. But it's not M
they're never allowed to make.
This test is open book.
There is no curve.
who was recently named the1
Division I player of the week
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What dumb jocks?
Who says athletes don't study?
Oh, we do not.
In fact, we salute the 38 Michigan stu-
dent-athletes who didn't forget about
the books during the winter months.
The following athletes earned academ-
ic all-Big Ten honors in swimming, div-
ing, wrestling and gymnastics.
Kerri Hale swimming Raymond Papa swimming
Adam Hattersley gymnastics Bryan Pascoe gymnastics
Leslie Hawley swimming Andrew Potts swimming
Ethan Johnson gymnastics John Reich swimming
Kimberly Johnson swimming Linda Riker swimming
Jennifer Kurth swimming Nathan Shepard diving
Lauren LaBranche gymnastics Shannon Shakespeare swimming
Bill Lacure wrestling Lisa Simes gymnastics
Chris Laskowski swimming David Stephens swimming
Edwin Ledgard gymnastics Jill Unikel diving
Kate Nellans gymnastics Tanja Wenzel swimming
Shelly Olivadoti swimming Jay Zawacki swimming
Catherine O'Neill swimming
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