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June 30, 2010 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-06-30

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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JAKE FROMM/Daily FILE PHOTO JAKE FROMM/Daily
Former rightfielder Angela Findlay graudated last season. Ex-Wolverine Samantha Findlay, pictured right, currenty plays softball for the Chicago Bandits. Angela Findlay changed positions as a Wolverine.
Findlay sisters create different identities at'U'

By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
Being the younger sibling is never
easy - especially when your older sib-
ling thrives on setting the bar high.
Now imagine how difficult it would
be if your older sister had smacked the
game-winning three-run home run
in the 2005 Women's College World
Series, bringing Michigan softball its
first national championship in the pro-
gram's history.
While Samantha Findlay will
always have that title-winning at bat
associated with her name, her younger
sister, senior Angela Findlay, has met
the challenge and wasted no time in
making a name of her own in the Mich-
igan program.
Angela admits that having her older
sister Samantha already playing at
Michigan "helped (her) out" once she
arrived, but make no mistake about it
- Angela paved her own path to Ann
Arbor.
The path she chose began with a
minor detour, as Angela was an infield-
er in high school but was recruited to
play in the outfield at the college level.
While she called the transition from
second base to right field a "difficult
adjustment," it is a position she has
played with pride for four years.
Angela's ability to adapt to any situ-
ation is just one of the reasons why
she was named Michigan's captain for
both her junior and senior seasons. But
leadership was something her older
sister Samantha had already taught her
a thing or two about.
Samantha served as captain of the
Wolverines during her senior season,
when Angela was a sophomore. While
both Findlay sisters have tallied time
as leaders, their approaches were not
identical.
"Angela leads by example," Saman-
tha said. "She does her job, and she

does it quietly by working hard every
day. She goes out and does what she
needs to do and she loves it.
"I think her biggest asset is that she
is just confident in (the captain's role)
and she likes to have fun. People look
up to her, and she is a leader that every-
body follows afterwards."
SOFTBALL RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Natives of Lockport, Ill., the Findlay
sisters have played softball since grade
school. But Angela's recent graduation
from Michigan and departure from
collegiate softball isn't the end of com-
petitive softball for the sisters - this
time they will both take the field as
members of the Chicago Bandits pro-
fessional softball team.
"Not many sisters and not many
siblings can say that they've played
softball with their sister at every level
possible," Samantha said. "We played
together in grade school, too. In high
school we won a state championship
together ... Not many people can say
that they've played with their siblings
for as long as I have.
"I think that it (has) definitely been
an honor, and we've become best
friends from it."
Being best friends and teammates
for as long as they can remember,
it isn't surprising that Angela and
Samantha chose the same college. But
while the sisters would be in college at
the same time for two years, Samantha
didn't want to heavily influence her sis-
ter's decision.
Samantha - a first baseman - went
on one visit before immediately com-
mitting to Michigan, but didn't want
her sister to feel like she was forced to
be a Wolverine.
"(Angela) was doing her recruiting
and I just told her it would be awesome
if we played together," Samantha said.
"But I said 'I want you to go to a school
where you think you want to go and

make an impact.'
"We've spent all our lives playing
together, but we are two differentplay-
ers. The biggest thing that I told her in
her decision was that I wasn't going to
be there for two years at Michigan and
had that been the choice that she want-
ed, that she would have to be there on
her own (after I graduated)."
But Michigan ended up being Ange-
la's choice and she had made peace
with the fact that she would be the only
Findlay in the program for her junior
and senior seasons.
"Obviously (Samantha) was here,
but it was something where my par-
ents and her, no one ever really said
anything once (Samantha) made her
decision to come to Michigan," Angela
said. "Samantha made her decision
and I was going to make mine no mat-
ter what."
COMPETITIVE FROM THE START
With Samantha already at Michigan
and ready to show her sister the ropes,
Angela immediately worked to take
her game to a competitive college level.
Settled into her new outfield position,
Angela hit a career high .367 and led
the team with 10 multi-RBI games as a
freshman in 2007.
Angela was named to the All-Big
Ten first team and to the National
Fastpitch Coaches Association All-
America third team, quickly proving
to her coaches and teammates that she
wasn't content to simply rest in Saman-
tha's shadow.
"(Angela) has never really lacked
for confidence," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "But her confidence has
really become better and better, even
when she's not having her best game.
When you watch Angela play, you don't
really see the difference between her
good games and bad games, in her
demeanor."
A sophomore in 2008, Angela was a

unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten
first team and named to the Academic
All-Big Ten team after hitting .426
during Big Ten conference play.
That same season, Angela showed
that she shared the same affinity for
late game, high-pressure situations as
her sister.
Angela led Michigan to victory in
the NCAA Super Regional opening
game by driving in the winning run
against Virginia Tech.
"(Samantha) and (Angela) are dif-
ferent as day and night," Hutchins said.
"But even though their style is differ-
ent, they are similar in their approach.
They are always about the 'next pitch.'
(They have) been so integral to our suc-
cess here over the years."
And Angela refused to let her foot
off the gas pedal as a junior. During her
first season as a captain, Angela was
again named to the Academic All-Big
Ten and All Big-Ten first teams and hit
a career-high 13 doubles.
Angela noted that her junior year
was one she will never forget, as
Michigan advanced to the WCWS for
the first time since her sister secured
the Wolverines' title in 2005. While
Michigan dropped out of national title
contention with a loss to Georgia, the
experience of playing in Oklahoma
City with such high stakes is one she
will take with her forever.
"Winning that game (in the NCAA
Super Regional) and getting to go to
the (Women's College) World Series...
that was what we all came here to do,
what people expected us to do," Angela
said.
"It took us a little bit longer than
most people expect, but we learned
a lot of things along the way ... We
learned that nobody gives you any-
thing, you have to earn everything."
As a senior, Angela used Hutchins'
'one pitch softball' mantra and the
experience of the WCWS to help her

arrive at a .350 batting average with 14
home runs and 53 RBI, and a .663'slug-
ging percentage.
"Regardless of how she starts, she
just keeps plugging away," Hutchins
said. "And this is a game where you
really have to preserve and work at
every pitch in the game.
"Mentally it's verytaxing, especially
over the grind of our season. I think
(Angela) has just gotten better and
better at that. She's one of the best I've
ever coached."
IT ISN'T OVER YET
Even though Samantha was no lon-
ger a member of the Michigan squad
during its 2009 WCWS run, Samantha
was available to help her sister dur-
ing all four years of Angela's collegiate
softball career.
The bond that the Findlay sisters
shared both on-and-off the field helped
them cement both their names into
Michigan softball history.
"I know for me personally, I defi-
nitely look up to (Angela)," Samantha
said. "I know not many people think
that you're going to look to your young-
er sibling for confidence, but I look to
her because she has been around me
and the sport (for so long).
"She knows a lot about our games
and a lot about our swings, and I look
to her for confidence and guidance ...
She definitely has helped me when I'm
in a slump."
While Samantha and Angela Find-
lay willbe read about in softball record
books and talked about bytheir former
coaches and teammates at Michigan
for years to come, the duo looks to
continue their past successes in their
future professional softball careers.
on the field - this time as Bandits
- the sisters will once again help each
other reach their potential, as Angela,
in right field, will always have her sis-
ter's back at first base.

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