Orientation Edition 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
From Page 32
both teams to break the 1-1 tie in
the 10th, it was freshman Samantha
Findlay who.finally sealed the deal.
Stepping up to the plate with
runners on first and second and two
outs, Findlay took a 1-1 fastball from
UCLA pitcher Anjelica Seldon deep
over the leftfield wall. A swarm of
elated teammates met her at the
plate as she, along with Tiffany
Haas and Alessandra Giampaolo,
scored to give Michigan a 4-1 lead.
"I tried to keep my head down on
the ball because I had been pulling
it out earlier," Findlay said. "I kept
my head in and then looked up and
saw it go out."
It was also Findlay who gave
Michigan (65-7) the opportunity to
play for the title in extra innings.
With the bases loaded and no one
out in the sixth inning, Findlay
roped a single into right field. That
run was the lone run the Wolver-
ines could muster in the inning, as
Seldon and the Bruins pulled off
a Houdini-like escape. Following
Findlay was senior Nicole Motycka,
who hit a line drive right down the
third-base line. The ball found the
mitt of UCLA third baseman Andrea
Duran, who then doubled up Giam-
paolo, who broke from third base
early. Seldon then got junior Grace
Leutele to strike out looking with a
pitch that caught the outside corner
of the plate.
"I think that stopping the bleed-
ing that inning - that we did today
and hadn't done yesterday - gave
our team a lot of confidence," Bru-
in's first baseman Lisa Dodd said.
UCLA (40-20) had already estab-
lished momentum and looked to be
in control of the game after jumping
ahead in the second inning. With
the bases empty and two outs, Dodd,
UCLA's No. 8 hitter, took a 0-1 pitch
from Michigan starter junior Jennie
Ritter over the leftfield fence.
After Michigan tied the game,
the best chance for UCLA to seal its
third consecutive national cham-
pionship came in the ninth inning.
Kristen Dedmon blooped a leadoff
double, and subsequently moved to
third base on a Krista Colburn bunt.
Ritter then walked Dodd on four
straight pitches. Ritter rebounded
by getting Ashley Herrera to pop
out. Duran - who was 2-for-3 on
the night coming to the plate - was
intentionally walked. Ritter escaped
the inning after Tara Henry hit a
sharp grounder to Leutele, who
threw it to an outstretched Findlay
to secure the third out.
Ritter improved her season
record to 38-4. She allowed four hits
and five walks, striking out four in
the process. Findlay's three hits and
four RBI's on the night propelled her
to Most Outstanding Player honors
for the series. She ended the tourna-
ment with a .409 batting average,
with nine hits and eight RBIs - both
tops for the series. Findlay, Ritter,
senior Jessica Merchant and junior
Stephanie Bercaw were named to
the All-Tournament team.
."It's just a great team and I
couldn't have asked for a better
team to play for," Findlay said. "I
would take this team over any indi-
vidual awards, because this team
has meant the world to me."
The final out was recorded in the
bottom of the 10th when Ritter got
Dedmon to pop the ball up. Mer-
chant and Leutele both went for the
ball, but Merchant came away with
it. The dugout cleared and mobbed
Ritter in the middle of the field -
except for Merchant, who ran over
and tackled Findlay.
The win gave Michigan its first
ever national championship in soft-
ball, and was only the second for a
women's program. It is the 52nd
overall championship by a Michigan
varsity program. Michigan's victory
also marks the first time ateam east
of the Mississippi River has won a
national championship in softball.
Samantha Findlay earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2005 WCWS.