I agree. I started watching Gophers softball in 2014. Have enjoyed their fine rise since then. But there seem to be too many near misses. The Gophers poor showing in the 2015 BIG tournament was regrettable. In 2019 BIG schedule makers essentially gave MI the BIG title. in 2021 the Gophers lost the BIG title by losing games to teams like Maryland, Purdue, Iowa, etc., which was kinda inexcusable. I agree that continuity of MI's coaching staff is the difference, slim though the difference is. Right now those younger coaches like Winn and Richardson need to hit the recruiting road big-time and bring in real elite talent like Lindaman & Brandner to bolster the team. If they don't find such talent, the near misses will continue. I think college coaching is about 10% coaching & 90% recruiting. Let's hope the Gophers can keep improving. They're already pretty darned good.Many times I have written that in my opinion Gopher softball is all about the Big Ten - all that NCAA stuff at the end of the year is just Gravy. Obviously I would have preferred the Gophers won the B1G this year... but a strong second place to Michigan is not too bad at all considering.
Considering what? I watched the 2014 and 2016 video reply on the BTN this weekend and I was reminded that since 2017 (the last time we beat Michigan in the regular season race) we have prematurely lost Jess Allister, Jessica Merchent, Kendyl Lindaman, Hope Brandner, Jamie Trachsel and Katie Reitkovich from our roster and coaching staff.
Have Michigan’s super seniors had to deal with any significant coaching or star player losses at all? And yet, for every 4 games the Gophrs played this year, they will have won about 3 of them.
Not bad at all! Go Gophers.
First I thought it was really stupendous DenHartog hit a HR off the TOP of the scoreboard yesterday. But now I wonder: Is there a reason someone else who knocks a hole in the wall of a bldg at NW and then sends a ball towering OVER the scoreboard at PSU has had so few at-bats this season? Anyway, here's hoping 1) the MI series taught the Gophers some things, 2) they can get win nr 30 today, and 3) they can peek and put up a good showing in the NCAAs.
A puzzling team. They had every chance to break today's game open, but apparently not the desire. Sometimes the on-field appearance seems to be one of not caring. They can sweep NW at NW, but turn around and lose games to 2nd division teams & PSU is the worst. When's the last time MI lost to a bottom feeder team? MI's secret to winning the BIG is never losing to teams they should beat. As for the MN coaching decisions, if Pease coudn't pitch today, why not start Dueck? There are more than 2 pitchers on the roster.Any either public or inside information on the Autumn Pease situation. I didn’t watch the game yesterday but her innings are way down over these past couple weeks. Why?
If the coaches were "managing" their players & not worrying about winning today's game, why did they start Fiser for the 3rd game in 3 days? That ploy made no sense at all.Obviously the Gopher coaches felt that the game today would not impact their seeding... I hope they were right.
They “managed” Jensen by not risking injury to her at all. I hope they “managed” Pease to avoid overstrain on her arm; as opposed to an underlying injury.
Would it be nice to play a big number of second stringers and still win against Conference teams? Of course. But alas... parity.
Next year will be something different for sure. I am a little worried. But until then we have just a few more games with Partain (what a player!) and Fiser and Kemmetmueller, Brandt and Gill. So we might as well enjoy next week as entertainment the best we can.
If the coaches were "managing" their players & not worrying about winning today's game, why did they start Fiser for the 3rd game in 3 days? That ploy made no sense at all.
Clearly, Ritter doesn’t think Jones and Hollifield are where they need to be or they would get some innings. Ritter seemed to think Fiser gave them the best chance to win or she wouldn’t have started her. I think with pitching it’s relatively easy to tell if a player has what it takes to compete - drive, focus, consistency, unflappability. Batting is a different animal. Sometimes a player can crush the ball in BP but is stymied in games. Or they look unorthodox at the plate but for some reason they have success in games. We may never know with some of these girls, but we DEFINITELY know with others that they are not contributors. At least not this season. Denson with 50 AB and only got on base .161. Many on this forum have talked about Brandt with the low avg, but she had DOUBLE the OBP of Denson AND she’s a top notch fielder. Also better OBP than Lindner and Dray.It’s the Pease question that is the question. I assume they wanted to rest Pease but so would love to know for sure.
While I was excited to see what Jones and Hollifiled could add in the circle this year; clearly Ritter is not confident at all that they can throw consistent strikes or maybe throw at D1 velocity or something. So that leaves Dueck. I assume Ritter didn’t think Dueck could hold her strength for 7 innings and 100 plus pitches and therefore needed Fiser to chew up some early innings today.
What other program in the nation's top 25 would allow itself to be routinely beaten by the likes of PSU on the eve of NCAAs? Or by other hapless teams the Gophers gave games to during the season with no apparent fire in their bellies. Here's hoping for some superstar recruits for next fall. If not.....
Fresno State softball took two of three in their season finale against San Diego State, but the hard work was taken care of last weekend.
The Bulldogs clinched the Mountain West regular-season championship, in doing so, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
They are heading back to the UCLA Regional, just like they did back in 2016. The Bruins are the second-ranked team in the country.
Minnesota and Long Beach round out the group.
The Dogs are set to face the Golden Gophers on Friday at 5 pm.
"Just very grateful, being able to keep playing with this team and taking it one foot at a time," says Hailey Dolcini. "You know, anything can happen. We beat Texas, who'd be UCLA last year, so I mean why not us in a sense and we're just ready to play this weekend."
"Just got to play every game like it's your last," says Miranda Rohleder. "I mean, why not us? Just go out and play as hard as we can and just play ball as we know how."
To make the celebration even sweeter, the Bulldogs would go on to sweep the postseason awards in the Mountain West, led by their two biggest stars.
Bulldogs' senior ace Hailey Dolcini was named the 2021 Pitcher of the Year for her dominance in the circle
Fresno State has won four out of the last six Pitcher of the Year awards.
She currently has an overall record of 21-4 and has been named to the USA Softball Collegiate Player Top 25 Finalist List.
Her 21 wins led the conference as she was truly in a league of her own.
She led the conference with a 1.01 E-R-A and over 166 innings pitched, Dolcini would lead the conference with 241 strikeouts.
Dolcini earned seven MW Pitcher of the Week awards this season and led the nation with 13 shutouts, including two perfect games to record the 16th and 17th perfect games in program history.
A freshman also put her stamp on the Mountain West on her way to a breakout season for the Bulldogs.
Outfielder Keahilele Mattson was named both the MW Player of the Year and the Co-Freshman of the Year.
Mattson became the backbone of the Bulldogs' offense in just her first season in a Fresno State jersey.
The freshman came alive in conference play, leading the Bulldogs in almost every offensive category.
She led the team in hits with a .426 batting average and recorded a hit in 32 games including 13 multi-hit games.
She currently leads the Mountain West in slugging percentage, RBIs, home runs and total bases.
Mattson is just the second Bulldog to be named Player of the Year and also the second to earn Freshman of the Year honors.
The Bulldogs are the first team to win back-to-back Freshman of the Year awards since San Diego State did so in 2012 and 2013
My point is: the glass is not yet full. MN strives to be the best team in the Big Ten, not one of the two best. However, MI wins the regular-season title almost every year bec they don't lose games to teams they should beat, and MN does, too often, as in 2021. Frustrating that MN finds no remedy for that situation. I'm only observing what I perceive on the field.Well, that is the glass-is-half-empty way to look at it.
The Gophets have had 8 years now where fans have been able to enjoy really competitive teams as one of the top two teams of the Big Ten. It has been very fun for me to follow them. I know that will not continue forever.
Are there any serious discussions happening in fast pitch softball as to rule changes to limit the impact pitching has on teams? Seems like with two great pitchers, you're set for a great season, and in the playoffs it can almost be just one pitcher that carries you. Something like limiting the number of innings for a pitcher during a series, or moving the mound back another couple of feet?The Big Ten's final stats show how dominant Michigan was, especially in pitching. They led the league in team batting average, ERA, and fielding. Their ERA was 1.05, and the next lowest was the Gophers at 2.10. Their pitchers gave up 45 earned runs; Minnesota gave up 83; and only one other team was under 100. They shut out their opponents 18 times; next highest was Northwestern with 10 (Gophers had 8). Michigan pitchers had 447 strikeouts; the next highest was Northwestern at 269 (Gophers had 241). Though the Gophers and Michigan gave up a similar number of walks (73 and 76, respectively) the Gophers' 24 wild pitches was the second highest (Nebraska had the most at 26); Michigan pitchers, incredibly, had 3 wild pitches for the season.
On the batting side, Michigan was at .306; Northwestern was 2nd in batting average at .289 (Gophers batted .248). The on-base percentage stats were much closer, with Northwestern #1 at .371, Michigan next at .367, and Minnesota 3rd at .364, with a big drop-off after that. The Gophers led in home runs with 47; Michigan was 2nd at 37. Michigan led in fewest strikeouts at 177, with Illinois at 194. Those were the only two teams under 200. The Gophers were 4th at 214. And the Gophers led in walks with 166; Wisconsin was 2nd at 115 (Michigan had 90).