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May 21, 2007 - Image 13

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-05-21

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Monday, May 21, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

sports@michigandaily.com
734-764-8585

MICHIGAN 7, OREGON STATE 0

Blue
heads to
Supers,
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
Three up, three down can be either a
good or bad thing for a softball team.
It was the best possible outcome for
Michigan this weekend
The Wolverines won all three of
their games in the Ann Arbor Regional,
capped off by a 7-0 victory over Oregon
State in the final. Now the NCAA Tour-
nament No. 9 seed is on its way out of
Ann Arbor and down south to Waco,
Texas, where Michigan will face No. 8
seed Baylor in a Super Regional.
"The kids, I think, rose to the chal-
lenge this weekend," Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins said.
As the importance of each game
increases, Michigan is coming togeth-
er as a team, operating as a well-oiled
machine. The Wolverines' confidence
is visibly increasing as well.
"Our kids, they came to play,"
Hutchins said. "They went after it.
They played the kind of softball that I
want to see them continue to play."
Senior Tiffany Worthy put it simply.
"I'mjust determined not toget beat,"
said Worthy, who had 3 hits and 5 RBI
on the weekend. "I don't want to get
beat."
And while Michigan's offense cer-
tainly contributes to the peaking play
of the Wolverines, they are making
their fourth straight Super Regional
appearance thanks to senior Lorilyn
Wilson's pitching.
Hutchins gave Wilson the ball, ask-
ing her to lead the team through the
Regional, despite splitting starts with
freshman Nikki Nemitz for the major-
ity of the year. This is the first time
since Michigan's frigid March series
with Northwestern a Wolverine pitcher

Hutchins's hands-
off strategy works

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
Senior pitcher Lorilyn
Wilson began to cry as she
hugged her teammates fol-
lowingthe Wolverine softball
team's Regional victory yes-
terday. All the while, Michi-
gan coach Carol Hutchins
looked on with an approving
grin.
"I was so happy because
we won, but sad because it's
the last time we'll ever get
to play a game here," Wilson
said.
Not long ago a happy end-
ing for Wilson in Ann Arbor
wouldn't have seemed pos-
sible.
Just 15 days earlier, the
Wolverines lost7-0 to a medi-
ocre Michigan State squad.
Wilson was roughed up for
four earned runs in three
innings.
"I was very concerned at
that point that we didn't want
to play any more," Hutchins
said.
As she did each week-
end to that point, Hutchins
started both Wilson and
freshman Nikki Nemitz in
the Big Ten Tournament the
following weekend. Wilson
shutout Illinois in the opener
and Nemitz struggled against
Northwestern.
So this weekend, Hutchins
decided it was time for Mich-
igan softball to become the
Lorilyn Wilson show.
"I always knew Hutchins
had confidence in me," Wil-
son said. "In the past seasons,
it's been whether I've had it
in myself. And then this year,
I just had to grow up and be
like 'Lorilyn, bitethe ... bullet.
Just do what you do. You've

just got to go out there and
play like you have no time to
waver.' "
The other part of
Hutchins's postseason plan
is to take more of a hands-off
approach.
Even though Michigan's
starting lineup features four
freshmen, Hutchins let her
players take care of their own
business.
"The game was in their
hands allweekend,"Hutchins
said. "I didn't do one thing
out there except cheer for
them."
The first-year batters com-
bined to hit .297 with eight
RBI and six runs in the three
games this weekend.
And against Louisville
Saturday, freshman pitcher
Nikki Nemitz relieved Wil-
son with the bases loaded
and just one out in the sixth
inning. The southpaw retired
the next two hitters and
allowed just a harmless lead-
off single in the seventh to
pick up the save.
But that kind of produc-
tion comes as no surprise to
the Wolverines' seasoned
veterans.
"They're not really fresh-
men anymore," senior catch-
er Tiffany Worthy saidbefore
the tournament. "School's
over and they're sophomores
now. I don't really think of
them as freshmen. They've
played more games than
some seniors have."
There was one last key
adjustment Hutchins made.
Entering the Regional, the
Wolverines had hit just one
home run in their previous
nine games. So, Hutchins had
the team doing a half-swing
See SOFTBALL, Page 14

Senior Lorilyn Wilson took a big leap in roving out of Jennie Ritter's shadow this weekend.
made consecutive starts ina weekend. she will."
And she took the ball confidently, While Wilson may be more focused
getting the win in each of Michigan's than before, limiting Oregon State to
games over the weekend. Over three two hits after its 17-run performance
starts and 19.1 innings, Wilson surren- Saturday against Eastern Michigan
dered just three runs on six hits. Some- and Louisville, Michigan's offense
times prone to inconsistency, Wilson made it significantly easier for her by
(26 strikeouts, one walk) shed that skin giving Wilson a lead in each game by
and shined in her role replacing Jennie the second inning.
Ritter, who led the Wolverines in the The Wolverine offense averaged
past two postseasons. more than five runs and eight hits while
"I think, without a doubt, to get becoming one of the nation's final 16
through a tournament, to get through teams. Freshman third baseman Mag-
a Regional tournament and to get gie Viefhaus (.545 weekend batting
through the Super Regional, you have average) secured Michigan's insur-
got to have a go-to pitcher and that was mountable first-inning lead against
Lorilyn this weekend," Hutchins said. Oregon State with a grand slam to put
And others noticed, too. the team up by five.
"I think she's extremely capable of "I think when they have confidence
carrying this team," Louisville coach in themselves, they play the kind of
Sandy Pearsall said. "Honestly, she is a softball they are capable of," Hutchins
kid who could take them a long way. So said. "I believe (we) can win it next
if she can stay focused through a game, weekend."

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