While the Michigan softball team travelled to Seattle to compete in an NCAA tournament regional on Wednesday, the Big Ten released its conference award winners, and the list is full of Wolverines.
Junior outfielder Lexie Blair captured Player of the Year honors. Batting .411 and putting up an on base plus slugging percentage of 1.125, Blair led the Michigan offense through much of the season. She hit six home runs and scored 24 RBI in the Big Ten season.
Junior right-hander Alex Storako took home Pitcher of the Year, winning the award unanimously. She led the country in ERA for most of the season until troubles against Minnesota dropped her to sixth with a 0.88. Storako posted a record of 21-3, and broke Michigan’s strikeouts in a game record against Michigan State.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins earned her 18th Big Ten Coach of the Year award, guiding the Wolverines to a 36-6 record and a conference championship. She is currently the winningest coach in NCAA softball history.
Also earning first-team All-Big Ten honors, Blair and Storako joined senior first baseman Lou Allan, senior left-hander Meghan Beaubien, and senior third baseman Taylor Bump on that list. All five were instrumental in almost every Michigan victory. Allan and Bump hit 10 home runs in the regular season and Beaubien complemented Storako in the one-two pitching punch that led the nation in ERA. Beaubien also threw a perfect game in her last start.
Sophomore second baseman Julia Jimenez earned second-team honors as well, while Bump and senior shortstop Natalia Rodriguez earned spots on the All-Defensive team. After battling back from injury and pitching 15 innings this season, senior right-hander Sarah Schaefer represented the Wolverines on the sportsmanship awards list.
With individual hardware acquired, Michigan will look to add more in Seattle. Starting Friday, the Wolverines will get to prove their skills match up with the nation’s best.