Baseball great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.”
The same applies to softball.
Timid all week, the No. 5 Michigan softball team dropped its Alumni Field-debut against Iowa, 2-1 today.
The Wolverines’ hesitation showed early when sophomore Maggie Viefhaus threw a routine ball to first base in the dirt in the first inning. And on just the third batter of the game, sophomore pitcher Nikki Nemitz allowed a towering homer to right field to score both runners.
The pitching and fielding shaped up thereafter, but the Michigan offense struggled to string much together.
In four of seven innings, the Wolverines got the lead-off man on base, but just scored once.
“We didn’t swing,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “We didn’t really attack the ball.”
Against Hawkeye Brittany Weil, the Wolverines mostly often popped out early. But after making an adjustment to hit the ball on the ground, they created their first real threat in the sixth inning.
Samantha and Angela Findlay started the sixth with two shallow hits to left field. But after quickly producing two outs, Michigan could only salvage one run brought in by freshman Dorian Shaw.
The Wolverines rallied again in the seventh. Started by sophomore Teddi Ewing, who went 2-for-3 for the day, the Findlay sisters joined her on the base-paths. But with two outs, Weil struck out Viefhaus to record the final out. Weil had three of her six strikeouts in the inning.
Despite Michigan executing the game plan against Weil pretty well, it never really took much of the offensive attack according to Hutchins.
“I told (my players), ‘You play timid, you don’t win,’ ” Hutchins said.
Michigan can’t afford to come out timid again tomorrow as it faces an even better pitcher in sophomore Amanda Zust, who boasts a 0.93 ERA.
“They need to come to battle,” Hutchins said. “It’s a battle. Michigan-Iowa is a battle.”