The Michigan softball team is a perennial powerhouse — reloading constantly with no such thing as a rebuilding year. After all, the program hasn’t had a losing season in its 33-year existence.

This year is no different. The tools are there for a postseason run, but before that can happen, Michigan must overcome a treacherous Big Ten schedule filled with teams foaming at the mouth to get a shot at the Wolverines.

“Just being Michigan, there is always a target on your back no matter where you go,” senior hurler Jordan Taylor said. “There’s definitely a target during Big Tens.”

Even with a very talented roster, a lot will need to go right for Michigan (2-0 Big Ten, 31-2 overall) to win its fourth straight conference crown. Here’s a breakdown of Michigan’s star hitters and pitchers, both of whom are needed to be outstanding in order to contend for a national title.

THE BATS: Michigan knows how to manufacture runs. And though Big Ten pitchers may not allow the Wolverines to score at will like they did against non-conference foes, Michigan has the hitting to keep up every game.

It starts with senior first baseman Dorian Shaw. Shaw reaches base roughly 60 percent of the time, touching them all frequently. She also leads the team with 11 home runs and is in hot pursuit of the all-time Michigan record, a total held by Samantha Findlay.

She has enjoyed a tremendous career as a Wolverine, winning a Big Ten title in each of her seasons. There have also been plentiful individual accolades for Shaw — she has been a member of all-conference teams and was an All-American last year.

With such a big bat in the heart of the Michigan order, the option of issuing Shaw a free pass certainly weighs on the mind of opposing coaches. But after seeing who stands in the on-deck circle, this thought is usually erased.

Junior utility player Amanda Chidester slugs at a rate not far from Shaw and is also a home-run threat. Hitting in the cleanup spot, Chidester has provided a spark for the Wolverines at the most opportune times. Last weekend in Evanston, her grand slam triggered a comeback win over Northwestern. This clutch hitting is exactly the type of hitting that could lead Michigan to some late-game heroics and a magical season.

THE ARMS: The Michigan pitching staff is anchored by Taylor who is, arguably, the best in the country. But the other half of the starting pitching tandem plays just as crucial a role in the Wolverines’ success.

When the season ends, Taylor will be passing the ace title to sophomore Stephanie Speierman who, like her predecessor, has been brilliant so far this season. And it bodes well for Michigan that Speierman has been there to share the load. Keeping Taylor in early-season form come the postseason has been a priority for coach Carol Hutchins.

“We want Taylor as fresh as she can be when it’s May,” Hutchins said. “(Speierman) continues to get better.”

But in last weekend’s sweep of the Wildcats, Speierman didn’t make an appearance. Rather, Taylor shouldered the weight, setting a perfect example for Speierman who is expected to be called upon frequently during Big Ten games.

“I chatted with Speierman (Tuesday),” Hutchins said. “I said, ‘That’s not going to be the norm. It’s not going to be Taylor pitching every Big Ten game.’ ”

Both hurlers seem extremely confident, averaging slightly more than one run surrendered per game. Hits have been tough to come by against the pair, but that doesn’t mean they feel triumphant yet.

“We haven’t quite dominated like this before, so everybody’s gunning for us but we’re always ready for it,” Taylor said. “We don’t take any opponent for granted.”

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