Alex Storako pitches the ball and watches it fly towards the batter.
After losing in the NCAA Regional, Alex Storako won't return to Michigan. Anna Fuder/Daily.  Buy this photo.

After the Michigan softball team’s 2022 season reached its end at the Orlando Regional, its core group of seniors have begun to reveal their plans for the future.

The first domino fell on Tuesday afternoon, when senior right-hander Alex Storako expressed the gratitude she has for her career as a Wolverine in an Instagram post saying goodbye.

Storako established her place in Michigan softball history as an elite pitcher through the three complete seasons across her four years in Ann Arbor. She was a two-time first team all-Big Ten and NFCA Great Lakes region recipient and the unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year as a junior in 2021. 

During her standout junior year, Storako set the program’s single-game record with 22 strikeouts in a win at Michigan State. The outing headlined her nation-leading strikeout-per-seven-innings average of 12.9, and illustrated her substantial role in the Wolverines’ second regular season Big Ten title of her career.

This past season, Storako appeared in 38 games — 29 of which she started in the circle. In 200.1 innings pitched, she struck out 300 batters — her career-high — and maintained a 1.71 ERA and a 25-8 record.

Storako’s go-to rise ball and kick spin is nationally recognized today, but coming up as a pitcher, her skills went somewhat unnoticed early on. A Frankfort, Illinois native, Storako didn’t receive big-time offers until her junior season at Lincoln-Way East High School.

With fifth-year left-hander Meghan Beaubien’s collegiate career coming to a definitive end, Storako — who had an additional year of eligibility — seemed primed to become the singular veteran of the Wolverines’ pitching staff next season. Instead, Michigan will have to lean on its up-and-coming talents in freshman right-handers Lauren Derkowski and Annabelle Widra, who have already contributed through a combined 36 appearances and six starts.

Though Storako’s next destination is unknown, she is likely looking to write a new chapter in her final year of eligibility. Despite all of the individual accolades and the talent that surrounded her in her four years at Michigan, the Wolverines fell short of a Super Regional in all three tournament appearances.

Regardless of where Storako ends up, one thing is clear: Her announcement marks a transition to a new era of Michigan softball. While the lack of postseason success remains a pressing issue, a large incoming class will provide opportunities to try to change that. 

But without Storako, the Wolverines have a large void to fill if they hope to turn things around.