It turns out the Michigan softball team has played some games lately.
But its weekend opponent wasn’t Iowa – instead, the Wolverines scrimmaged against themselves.
And, with today’s scheduled doubleheader versus Central Michigan pushed back to tomorrow due to snow, coach Carol Hutchins had the team do the same.
“We’re simply trying to create game situations for the team,” Hutchins said. “On Saturday, we basically had a scrimmage for our pitchers. They each pitched seven innings of competitive ball and were excellent, and we’re going to continue to do that until we get back on the field.”
When the Wolverines manage to get back on the field, Hutchins will be just two wins shy of 800 – a number reached by just 14 Division I coaches. Of the 798 wins she has, 775 have come with Michigan.
As is often the case when coaches reach milestones, senior captain Marissa Young expects everyone to be excited when it happens – everyone other than Hutchins that is.
“We haven’t talked about it at all,” Young said. “Hutch always tells us take it one game at a time, and not look ahead to things like that.
“It will be great to get it for her, but knowing Hutch, she’ll treat it as just another win. She’s just not the type of person to make a big deal out of it.”
According to Young, the team appreciates the fact that Hutchins focus is always on the team.
“Hutch is a great player’s coach,” Young said. “She really relates well to us. One thing I’ve really taken in from her is to never be satisfied. Now I’m always challenging myself, and it’s helped me a lot.”
During games Hutchins usually displays a steady, steely demeanor. With the team, she knows when to push them to improve and when to ease off and have some fun.
“When I think about how Hutch is different from other coaches I’ve had, I remember when we were approaching the Big Ten Tournament, and we were struggling badly with our hitting,” Young said. “Hutch went to a store and got some old fruit. When we saw her, we had no idea what she was doing. She had us take batting practice with the fruit. It loosened us up and the idea really worked because we went on to have a good finish to the season.”
The team has been scrimmaging to avoid any rustiness, but at the same time hasn’t enjoyed facing each other. To address that, Hutchins is trying to add games to the schedule.
“It’s been frustrating and disappointing, but if we let it affect us that would be unacceptable,” Hutchins said. “Since this isn’t the first time this has happened, I know my kids will handle this the right way. When we’re back on the field, I know they’ll be ready.”