Michigan softball is unranked. It hasn't defeated a ranked team, it's yet to dominate an entire tournament and it's lost more games than it's won.
The Wolverines have hit a total of two runs in four games against ranked opponents and scored three runs or fewer in over half of their games.
Last weekend, Michigan left the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, La. with three losses in five games, and it wasn't happy. The team let up seven runs in one contest against an unranked Stanford team, complicating the pitching staff’s previously perceived reliability.
The Wolverines left the third week of the season as coach Carol Hutchins’ first losing team this far into a season in 35 years. After a start like that, how could they be happy?
Michigan is in uncharted territory, and it’s time to own up to it.
After weeks of “mental lapses,” “lack of focus” and other mental problems plaguing the Wolverines — as players have said — it’s worth looking at why the team can’t seem to click mentally. If the problem really lies in lack of focus, then why can’t Michigan get on its game? When they do, they blow by teams, play tough against ranked opponents and perform well offensively and defensively against difficult schedules. So why is mental acuity so hard for the Wolverines to find, and how will they live up to the potential we’ve seen in bits and pieces of games?
Players weren’t made available this week to answer those questions.
We’ve seen the chemistry in short stints. Michigan trounced South Florida and Illinois State in the USF Opening Weekend Invitational, held No. 9 Louisiana State to a close 1-2 loss last weekend and carries over much of the talent from last year in its upperclassmen. We know how the Wolverines are capable of playing, and they know it too, as players have said several times. But something isn’t clicking with the softball team, and we’ve seen it so far this season.
Last weekend, sophomore left-hander Meghan Beaubien said she didn’t have the right mindset or clear head to throw well, and that she corrected that mindset for her no-hitter in the California State-Northridge game. Beaubien threw one of her best games of the season that day. But the problem lies in the fact that she, and many of her teammates, can’t emulate those performances every game.
We all know that Michigan softball hasn’t had the start it wants, and we all know that something is wrong, so now it’s up to the Wolverines to let us know why.