Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Blue's inconsistency keeps it from WCWS
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
WACO, Texas - Wow. The
Michigan softball team was done
for after just one inning in its
Super Regional against Baylor.
The game was over when the
second batter of the game, Kirsten
Shortridge, sent one to the U-Haul
trucks beyond the fence in right-
field, putting Baylor up 2-0.
Freshman Nikki Nemitz had
been unhittable in Saturday's first
game, giving up just two hits in
Michigan's 3-0 winto tie the series.
But that armor Nemitz was wear-
ing was as good as "The Emperor's
New Clothes" in the second game,
which the Wolverines lost 4-0.
Baylor coach Glen Moore
thought Nemitz's arm stiffened
up in the break between the two
games, so blame should not be
placed at Nemitz's feet (or on her
arm). What is to blame is Michi-
gan's inconsistencythroughout the
season, which came back to haunt
the Wolverines this weekend.
Michigan's offense did a disap-
pearingact, but not in the good way
it reappeared in the second game of
the series, in which the Wolverines
had eight hits. But it didn't stay for
long - the hitters Michigan would
like to rely on weren't able to step
up. Michigan lacked what the Lady
Bears had - guaranteed offense
from one spot in the order.
Ashley Monceaux (.556 BA, five
RBI and six runs on the weekend)
set the tone for the Baylor offense.
Heading into next season, there is
no clear offensive leader for the
Wolverines. There are plenty of
candidates for the job - including
seniors-to-be Alessandra Giam-
paolo and Samantha Findlay - but
no one has emerged as that domi-
nant leader that can help ignite an
offense when its in a slump.
In the other half of the inning,
the pitching was not awful this
weekend. But Lorilyn Wilson's
unpredictability in the first game,
leading to a 9-0 Lady Bear run-
rule victory, altered the Wolverine
pitching rotation to the point that
Nemitz's young and limited pitch
arsenal was exposed.
Wilson stepped up in all three
games in the Regional last week-
end, yet her occasional poor
outings casted a shadow on her
pitching gems all season. And that
happened again this weekend,
making Michigan's road to the.
Freshman Nikki Nemitz was relied on heavily this weekend in Michigan's season-ending Super Regional loss to Baylor.
Women's College World Series a verines saw their inconsistency
walk on hot coals. reflected in their NCAA Tourna-
In a more indirect way, the Wol- mentseeding and draw. If Michigan
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WINNERS OF THE 2007 INTERCOLLEGIATE
GRAND CHAMPION: California State University San Marcos
PER CAPITA CLAssic: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
of Columbia University
WASTE MINIMIZATION: University of Texas at Austin
GORILLA PRIZE: Rutgers University
PAPER: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
CORRUGATED CARDBOARD: West Lost Angeles Community College
BOTTLES & CANS: Kalamazoo College
FOOD SERVICE ORGANICS: Rutgers University
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won more of the games that it was
expected to win - Liberty, Illinois,
Central Michigan, Minnesota and
Michigan State - then the Wol-
verines might have had a shot
at a higher seed and home field
advantage in the Super Region-
al, something Michigan coach
Carol Huchins could swing the
balance of a game, especially
considering how loud and sup-
portive the Baylor fans were at
There's the argument that
a team that starts as many as
five freshmen is expected to be
inconsistent. Fair enough - but
the inconsistency is expected
from the freshman, not anyone
else. Angela Findlay had the
team's second highest batting
average, Maggie Viefhaus went
9-for-19 in the Tournament and
Nemitz pitched brilliantly in her
first Tournament start.
The Wolverines have the tal-
ent and the ability - there's no
question about that. It's sim-
ply a matter of consistency and
maturity, which Baylor showed
by finally breaking through the
Super Regional round last week-
end for its first WCWS appear-
ance. Michigan didn't show
it, losing in its second straight
three-game Super Regional
series since its 2005 national