With dominance reminiscent of Florida Marlin Dontrelle Willis
during his rookie year, Michigan freshman pitcher Lorilyn Wilson
has taken opponents by storm this spring. Like Willis, success is
nothing new for her — she has pitched in the National
Championships every summer since 1997 and was a second-team high
school All-American last spring. It was just a matter of showing
coaches, teammates and fans at the next level what she is made
of.

Coming into this season, Wilson knew that she was joining a team
with two solid starters in sophomore Jennie Ritter and junior
Nicole Motycka. And the newcomer didn’t expect to see the
amount of action that she did during the nonconference season. But
when given a shot, Wilson jumped at the opportunity to prove
herself.

“The (nonconference) games definitely helped my
confidence,” Wilson said. “It also gave the coaches a
chance to see what I could do, because they had not really seen me
in game situations before.”

Undoubtedly, she left a good impression. Wilson has compiled a
perfect 6-0 record with an incredible 0.50 ERA. She has also struck
out 55 batters. Despite the impressive record she has compiled this
spring, Wilson will likely see less action during the young Big Ten
season.

Though her statistics this spring might not show it, the
transition from high school in Salem, Ore., was far from seamless.
Wilson was prepared to deal with the academic rigors of the
University — its academic reputation was one of the primary
reasons she chose Michigan.

The difficulty in her transition had to do with with her
pitching mechanics and a sort of culture shock off the field.

“I didn’t realize how different (Michigan)
is,” Wilson said. “Like the culture, just everything,
the way people dress, the weather. The weather is a huge
difference. It’s cold.”

Wilson is confident that she chose the right school and program
to pursue her education and softball career.

“(Michigan) had the combination of everything I
want,” Wilson said. “It’s a great school, I loved
all the girls on the team, and the coaches are outstanding. I
didn’t feel like any of the other schools that recruited me
matched what (Michigan) had to offer.”

Dealing with the on-field transition was a burden lessened by
teammates like Motycka and Ritter.

“When I got here in the fall, (the coaches) were changing
some of my fundamentals,” Wilson said. “It was
frustrating at first, but they were like, ‘We’ve all
been through it, you’re going to get worse before you get
better.’ That was a big help.”

By playing summer softball for so long, she has run into many
hitters that she will face in West Coast, nonconference games.

“Lots of the girls we have played already, like
(UCLA’s) freshmen, I’ve played against them
before,” Wilson said. “It’s neat. I’ve
played them in summer ball and now I am seeing them in
college.”

Her work ethic and patience has paid off thus far, but Wilson
contends she is far from her peak yet.

“It’s really good to get practice in games,”
Wilson said. “The more you play in games, the better you get.
The end of the season, in the past, is when I really hit my
stride.”

Wilson and the Wolverines are preparing for their Big Ten home
opener this weekend against Ohio State, a school that pursued
Wilson during her high school career.

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