Fourteen years ago, Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins led
her Wolverines into a crucial game against nationally ranked
Central Michigan and was concerned about how her team was going to
perform.

Michigan Softball
Thanks to advice from a friend 14 years ago, Michigan coach Carol Hutchins started her bizarre tradition. (DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily)

While talking to a friend about her nervousness, her friend
recommend throwing M&M’s to her players when they crossed
third base since it had brought her friend’s program
success.

Hutchins implemented the idea and the Wolverines swept the
series.

Now, a tradition that was started 14 years ago has become a
benchmark good-luck charm for the Wolverines.

The tradition has also become an important and enjoyable one for
the players.

“It’s sort of like an incentive to get to third
base,” senior captain Meghan Doe said. “It’s
definitely something to look forward to.”

Today, as the Wolverines (38-7) host Central Michigan in a
nonconference doubleheader, Hutchins will continue her ritual and
hope that the old trick is still effective in helping the team
win.

Although possessing a modest overall record of 21-11, the
Chippewas currently lead the Mid-American Conference with a 10-1
record. They also have a decorated history that is fairly
intimidating, including 10 MAC titles and 12 appearances at the
NCAA tournament.

“We have to be really serious about this game, although
it’s a nonconference one,” Doe said. “Central has
been a nationally ranked team in the past, so it will be good
competition for us.”

The Chippewas hope to extend their 10-game winning streak, which
includes a win against nonconference state rival Michigan State two
weeks ago and a three-game sweep against Northern Illinois over the
past weekend. The Chippewas handily beat their conference rival,
including a final-game blowout of 12-1.

Coach Margo Jonker heads Central’s team and has been with
the program for 25 years.

“(Jonker) is probably one of the best coaches in the
country,” Hutchins said. “She’s been coaching for
Central longer than I’ve been at Michigan, which is a really
long time.”

The Wolverines lead the all-time series against the Chippewas
(35-28), including a win last year. But Hutchins is hesitant to put
history on her side.

“This is going to be a very competitive
doubleheader,” Hutchins said. “This is not one we are
going to overlook, because they are a very tough team. We are going
to play the best we can.”

Hutchins has been preparing the team for the game by working on
being more defensive at the plate and staying mentally tough
throughout one of the hardest times in the season, due to the
team’s rigorous academic schedule.

Tomorrow, as Hutchins’s tradition of throwing
M&M’s enters its 14th year of existence, the Wolverines
hope that it brings about the same outcome that made it a ritual
for the team.

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