The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, April 18, 2014 - 7
Can Wolverines overcome inconsistency at Purdue?
By BRAD WHIPPLE
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team's
inconsistency is catching up with
it and it's catching up fast.
games against at Purdue
Illinois last Matchup:
they lost their 16-20-1;
second straight Purdue 8-24
midweek game When: Friday-
on their own Sunday
field, this time Where:
against Eastern Alexander
which is last
in the Mid-
American Conference standings.
Michigan has been
unpredictable, and its cold
bats and unfocused defense
have prevented the team from
Bakich preaches his team's
sole goal is to win a Big Ten
Championship, and the
Wolverines will have to sweep
this weekend against Purdue if
they want to be back on track
toward the conference title - one
they haven't earned since 2008.
Friday, Michigan (6-6 Big
Ten, 16-20-1 overall) will begin
its three-game slate against the
Boilermakers (3-6, 8-24) in West
Lafayette. If the Wolverines can
clean up the inconsistencies,
they could take the series for
"We are way too
inconsistent right now, with
great performances, average
performances and then a bad
showing," said Michigan coach
Erik Bakich. "We need to be
trending upwards - we did
that against Illinois, and then
we have- a .setback against
"Our biggest opponent is
There have been too many
discrepancies across the board
for Michigan, and with the end
of the season looming, it's more
important than ever to clean up
First there is the pitching,
which started slow this year
and has taken baby steps toward
where itneeds tobe forreliability.
The Wolverines have
gotten their most consistent
performance on the mound from
sophomore left-hander Evan Hill,
who has put up an impressive 1.93
ERA in Big Ten play and will start
for Michigan in Friday's game.
Senior catcher Cole Martin will
be his batterymate, and together,
the two could form the defensive
resistance the Wolverines need to
build for a win. Fifth-year senior
Ben Ballentine should also make
an impact starting on Saturday.
But a stalwart defense can
only get Michigan so far in the
conference. This season, the
Wolverines' hit-or-miss offense
has been their downfall when
they are unable to string together
quality at-bats and rally behind
strong starting pitching - in
Friday's game against the Illini,
Hill allowed only one run but
Michigan was shut out, tallying
just six hits and leaving six
"Hopefully we can get back
on the horse and trend upwards
again this weekend," Bakich
said. "We need to stop having as
many setbacks along the way and
start playing our best baseball
as the season is progressing and
moving towards the second half
of conference play."
Wednesday against Eastern
Michigan, junior first baseman
Kyle Jusick was the only one
to make a dent in the Eagles'
defense with a two-run bomb to
right field, and Michigan's insipid
offense left 11 runners stranded
Fortunatelyfor the Wolverines,
the Boilermakers rank at the
bottom of almost every statistic
in the Big Ten and have no star
players that stand out, with only
Jordan Minch, Friday's starter, is
second in the conference with
"Purdue isn't going to give
us anything we haven't already
seen somewhere along the way,"
This weekend's series could
be the fresh start Michigan
needs. Purdue is certainly of
a lower caliber than what the
Wolverines have seen thus far
in conference play. With just
three conference series left in
the season, Michigan could hit
a turning point and head in the
right direction to becoming
But for that to happen, there's
no room for error and the
inconsistency must vanish.
LUNA ANNA ARCHEY/Daily
Ben Ballentine has been a reliable force on the mound for Michigan this season.
If the Wolverines don't win the "The goal is to be firing on all
series against the Boilermakers, cylinders here moving into late
they'll be going home empty- April, May and June," Bakich
handed at the end of the regular said. "We got to have more
season. consistency from top to bottom."
With her brother in mind, Schueler carries 'M'
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through her v'
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But it was t
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didn't wear it be
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wishing he w
knew he really
of that and it'
on her mind, ar
Anna is wher
Thanks to Hei
to work thro
life. Which is
has become all
family, which i
was going to Ch
or playing in t
two siblings we
over the games
two years oh
tagging along i
they were playi
games like tha
wiffieball in the
was always the
first one to pick
me to join his
on the sideline
sister on at
events, and he
the field. Henry
but played base
But when He
grade he bega
lower leg and
time, the famil
just a normal
and took Henr
After multiple t'
of 2006, he
with a rare sa
HEW KIPNIS "I remember when my dad
orts Writer told my brother and I," Anna
said. "You don't really believe it
hman midfielder is actually happening. I was in
stood on the field sixth grade when I found out he
r the first game had cancer and it was hard for me
women's lacrosse to comprehend what the situation
tement rushed really was. I don't think it really
eins. Standing by hit me until freshman year of
s' sides, wearing high school."
on her uniform On March 9, 2007, his 14th
same in program birthday, he began his pre-
was experiencing transplant therapy in Milwaukee
Michigan athletes at the Children's Hospital of
Wisconsin, more than 80 miles
:he No. 9 on her from their home in Chicago, Ill.
as stronger. She One week later, he underwent a
cause her favorite bone marrow transplant.
thete wore the "Because he was treated
wore it because in Wisconsin it was constant
vorite people did transporting," Anna said.
ed away - Henry "Obviously it was extremely
other. difficult, but whenever we would
ts and I were come to the hospital he was
as there but we always in good spirits and happy
was there," Anna to see us."
No. 9 reminds us Whenever Anna would visit
was an extremely her brother he was laughing, and
if she treated him like he was
has her brother sick, he would get mad at her and
nd he's the reason tell her to stop acting like that.
e she is today. There was a time when Anna
nry, she's learned had strep throat and couldn't be
ugh the loss of near him. However, Henry didn't
why she's the mind and went over to her room
to work through to take care of her.
s' first season in After 41 days in the hospital,
ry, where losing Henry was discharged and
too common. returned to school to graduate
with his class in June of 2007.
*** Forty-one was also the jersey
number that he was given in
family is a sports football when he was younger
s where Anna and and he wore No. 9 for baseball.
most. Whether it The numbers carried hope for
icago Cubs games Henry and his family, and just a
he backyard, the few months out of the hospital,
re able to connect he was wearingthat No. 9 again.
they loved. Henry, After a full summer of
der than Anna, recovering, the Schueler family
ed his little sister received unfortunate news. His
n whatever game leukemia had unexpectedly
ng. relapsed and he would have to
included me in begin chemotherapy treatments
it because I was again. Once Henry completed
girl playing,"Anna his initial re-induction program,
it was football, he developed a fungal infection,
a risk not
"If we lose it is compromised
not a big deal Henry.
and a lot worse both the
can happen." mucor fungal
also excelled on and underwent a second bone
loved all sports, marrow transfusion from the
ball and football same anonymous donor. Only a
few months after his relapse the
nry was in eighth infection progressed to his brain,
n to experience causing massive intracranial
hip pain. At the bleeding, and in December, Henry
y assumed it was passed away.
football injury "Looking back I cannot believe
y in for an MRL he was only 14 years old," Anna
ests in November said. "I cannot even imagine what
was diagnosed he must of gone through but he
ubtype of acute was always mature and strong
'ukemia, or ALL. about it.
"He knew he was going to
fight to the best of his abilities
and he did and he beat cancer.
It was not cancer but the fungal
infection that ended up taking
Anna missed her brother's
presence immensely after
his death. Henry was mature
and courageous in the face of
overwhelming odds and refused
well try it, and if I didn't like it I
could always fall back to playing
softball in high school."
The switch from softball to
lacrosse wasn't an easy one, but
she was willing to accept the
challenge of learning a new sport.
Anna's athleticism and
determination helped her pick up
the game and because of all the
time she spent in the backyard
playing sports with her brother,
she was able to pick it up quickly.
Coaches and friends patiently
at Loyola and when it came to
lacrosse I picked No. 9because itis
my way of representing that he is
always with me whenever I play."
By her sophomore year, she
began to stand out in lacrosse,
tallying 16 goals, nine assists and
scooping 19 ground balls in 23
games, helping her team to an
Illinois state championship. In
her next two seasons, Anna only
improved. She finished her senior
season with All-Conference,
All-State and U.S. Lacrosse All-
team lost its first eight games of
the season, she very easily could
have given up on the season. She
could have called it quits and
waited for the new season and
new recruits to arrive.
However, she thought back
to her brother - the grit and
determination she witnessed
of him on the playing field and
in the hospital - and with that
motivation she scored three hat
tricks against Winthrop, Penn
State and UC Davis, helping the
program to its first-ever win.
She was named the American
Lacrosse Conference Rookie of
the Week twice and now she
leads the team with 28 points,
consistingof21goals and7 assists.
"She was very deserving of
that award," Ulehla said. "Anna
is one of our hardest workers and
in those games she came up big
Though she leads the team in
statistical categories, she still has
a lot to learn due to her late start.
one thing she has really been
working on is her non-dominant
hand. In softball,she always batted
right-handed, and in basketball
she mostly used her dominant
hand to dribble. Thishas hindered
Anna's growth in learning how to
be a dual-handed threat to prevent
defenders from taking anything
away from her game.
Not only has she improved
her play on the field, but also her
leadership skills. In September,
the team voted five players to
a leadership council and Anna
was voted onto it despite her
"When she says something
people listen," Ulehla said. "She
is the type of player that can have
a real impact on a program but it
has got to go beyond just setting
an example. She has to go beyond
her own comfort zone, and she
has recognized that she needs to
be more vocal, more of a leader
in all different areas, not just
by example. "
Anna has excelled on the field
because she has continued to
push through any adversity. She
pushed through the adversity
of learning a new sport her
freshman year of high school
and now she has pushed her way
through learning how to play at
a consistent Division I level her
freshman year of college. With
her dedication she has helped the
team find recent success winning
its last two games.
"With my brother's passing I
am beginning to learn more and
understand that things like this
unfortunately do happen," Anna
said. "The thing I took away from
it is to put life in perspective. In
a game, I know that if we lose it
is not a big deal and a lot worse
To Anna, competing at the
highest level is what's become
important. It's what her brother
had taught her, and it's what
Ulehla will count on when she
sends No. 9 onto the field.
Freshman midfielder Anna Scheuler switched from softball to lacrosse in high school before coming to Michigan.
to give up. When her brother
passed, Anna decided to learn
from his ways and changed her
game on the field. She decided
that she'd compete at her highest
give up. His passing motivated
Anna to be more competitive and
push her through any adversity
that came her way.
Before her freshman year, she'd
always played basketball in the
winter and softball in the spring,
however, she chose to transition
from softball to lacrosse. Going
into her freshman year of high
school, she had never cradled
a ball or taken a shot on goal.
It wasn't until a family friend
convinced her to give the sport a
try that she decided she was up
for the challenge.
"I think my family was a little
sad about me switching at first
because we are a firm baseball
family," Anna said. "It was a
new sport and I felt I might as
taught her the necessary skills,
and she was able to push through
the frustration to make the varsity
team by her sophomore season, a
rarity at the Loyola Academy.
According to Michigan coach
Jennifer Ulehla, basketball
players very easily make the
transition between the two
sports due to similarities between
defensive concepts and offensive
movements. Anna, a three-time
varsity letter winner in basketball
and one of 25 basketball players
selected to the ESPN Chicago All-
Area team, fit that mold and was
able to convert sports in no time.
During her sophomore season
on the basketball team when she
was picking a jersey number, No.
41 was one of the few remaining
for her to choose, and her brother
immediately came to mind.
"I decided it was time I started
remembering my brother while
I play so I picked 41," Anna said.
"I wore it for the rest of my time
American honors after scoring
60 goals and leading Loyola to its
fifth straight state title.
When Ulehla started recruiting
Anna she could tell she was a little
rough around the edges because
she was new to the game, but
her athleticism and personality
confirmed Ulehla's belief that she
was perfect for the program.
"Once I got to knowher and her
family it was a real no-brainer,"
Ulehla said. "She not only lives her
life with such a strong character,
but obviously on top of that she
has such a competitive spirit that
I knew that I could really take her
under my wing and help develop
her into one of the best lacrosse
players in the country."
Michigan has had its ups and
downs in its first year, but Ulehla
has helped as Anna has taken the
new program by storm. After the