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A couple of weekends ago I went to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to visit one of my best friends and watch the University of Michigan softball team take on Michigan State and Northwestern. I saw four games and quickly fell in love with the Michigan softball program.

 

They play amazing softball. They have one of the most legendary coaching staffs in the game. The Wolverines have a rich tradition that they revere and make a point to celebrate. This season they opened and dedicated one of the nicest softball stadiums in the nation. They have a loyal, fun fan base of which I am glad to now be a part.

 

The Wolverines crushed Michigan State in the two games I watched. Two grand slams, several home runs and a mercy-rule ending. It was one of the most potent offensive displays I have ever seen.

 

The two games against Northwestern were quite the opposite. Low scoring, decided by one run and the teams split. Not only hard-fought duels between top-20 teams and conference rivals, but the outcome was to decide who took the Big Ten conference lead and, therefore, who would host the conference tournament. I took this video below of Michigan coming back in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the second game and maintain their share of the lead conference standings—it was intense:

 




Since the standings were still tied at the end of regular season and their respective run differentials were also equal, a coin toss would decide which co-conference champ would host the Big Ten tournament. Northwestern won the toss and is hosting the tournament that opens today.

 

I have a lot of respect for Northwestern’s program having competed against them several times in the cross-town rivalry at Loyola Chicago. But this weekend I’ll be pulling for No. 2 Michigan to pull out the win over top-seeded Northwestern. Go Blue!

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