Seventh inning. Bases loaded. Two outs. A national championship on the line.
Tera Blanco and the Firecrackers — a travel team coached by her dad, Jeff — were playing for the U-16 national title. Blanco, then a high school freshman, had pitched a nine-inning complete game the day before to send her team to the finals.
Blanco was the best pitcher on the team, but it was another girl’s turn to start. Instead, she was the designated player. But Jeff told his daughter to be ready. If trouble struck, they would need her.
They say running is a solitary sport, but that was never more true for fifth-year senior Haley Meier than it was Friday.
Instead of racing with her entire team there to cheer her on, Meier took her mark for her heat in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships with just a small contingency of teammates present, while the rest of the Michigan women’s track and field team watched back in Ann Arbor.
That’s the curse of being one of the best — qualifying for the national championships is not a team effort. It means every race is just you and the track.
That’s the number of consecutive trips to the plate that resulted in hits for junior second baseman Faith Canfield. Over the course of 11 at-bats during the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., last weekend, Canfield nearly doubled her season hit total and, in the process, raised her batting average over 100 points. In 11 at-bats, Canfield went on a streak that earned her Big Ten Player of the Week and the Louisville Slugger DI National Player of the Week.