Megan Good showed what she was capable of on Saturday.
James Madison’s two-way star’s performance against the Michigan softball team was nothing short of herculean. She went head-to-head with Wolverines’ sophomore left-hander Meghan Beaubien and tossed 11 scoreless innings in a 12-inning marathon. The scoreless deadlock was broken by junior third baseman Madison Uden with a walk-off hit that advanced the Wolverines to the regional final.
“I thought our game on Saturday we just, we didn’t let it get to us,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “And if you let it get to us, it helps her.”
On Saturday, Beaubien was just a little bit better than Good. Still, Michigan learned how difficult it would be to produce runs against the right-hander. And come the regional final, they would have to face her once again.
With seven of the nine hitters in the Dukes’ lineup hitting above .300, relying on Beaubien to replicate her performance spelled disaster for the Wolverines. If Michigan hoped to find success again, it would need to capitalize on its opportunities with runners in scoring position.
On Monday, the scoring chances were few and far between. But they were there. Good threw all 14 innings in the circle for the Dukes and allowed only one run on 10 hits –– striking out 11 batters. In the first game Monday, though, she also walked three batters and hit two more.
The Wolverines had their best scoring opportunity in the top half of the fourth inning after falling down 1-0, courtesy of a solo home run in the previous frame. After freshman outfielder Lexie Blair drew a leadoff walk, senior first baseman Alex Sobczak was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Lou Allan drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Then, freshman catcher Hannah Carson popped out behind second base for the second out and junior outfielder Haley Hoogenraad grounded out to second base to end the inning.
The missed opportunity quickly came back to bite Michigan. James Madison shortstop Sarah Jubas led off the next inning with a home run to push the Dukes’ lead to 2-0.
After Good escaped the bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning, the Wolverines were unable to put anymore runners in scoring position.
“She just threw the ball really hard and kept moving it around,” said senior second baseman Faith Canfield. “We never really could get a good cut on it other than Alex (Sobczak).”
Added James Madison coach Loren LaPorte: “Well we changed it up today. I don’t know if you saw, but Megan put a drop ball in the mix. She threw it quite often, and it’s something that I don’t think that Michigan knew she had in her back pocket.”
In the second game Monday, the struggles continued for Michigan. It’s first chance came in the second inning after Sobczak hit a one-out double. A strikeout and a ground ball back to Good quickly dispelled the danger.
It looked as though the Wolverines would finally break through in the fourth after falling behind 1-0 off a solo shot from none other than Good in the previous inning. With freshman utility player Grace Chelemen standing on second base, Sobczak rifled a single into center field. The throw from the outfield was in time to tag Chelemen out at the plate, preserving James Madison’s lead. The Dukes scored a run in the following inning which ultimately put the game out of reach for Michigan.
“Timely hitting’s the name of the game in any game and especially in the postseason,” Hutchins said. “And they’re tough to come by on both sides. We just needed one more.”