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Posted on Thu, May 16, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Record setting freshman Sierra Romero leads powerful Michigan softball team into NCAA Regional

By Pete Cunningham


Michigan freshman Sierra Romero has surprised even herself with her hitting prowess in her first go around.

Courtney Sacco | file photo

Sierra Romero didn’t come to Michigan expecting to lead the team in home runs as a freshman. When she arrived in Ann Arbor, it wasn’t one of her goals to set the single season home run record for the softball team in her first go around.

Maybe being Big Ten freshman of the year was looked at as a possibility, but Big Ten player of the year, a finalist for national player of the year? As a freshman?

No way.

“My hitting. I didn’t come here expecting to do as good as I’ve been doing. I just came here to do what I can,” said Romero, who ended the regular season with 22 home runs, one more than the previous record, which four other Wolverines players have accomplished since 2005. “It wasn’t something that I had in mind, but it happened and it’s great.

“I’ve been working on my hitting, so it’s been nice for it all to just work out.”

Michigan coach Carol “Hutch” Hutchins knew Romero was the type of player who could make an impact right away, immediately moving senior captain Amy Knapp to from shortstop to third base to make the infield as strong as possible. But Romero’s production at the plate has exceeded even Hutchins’ lofty expectations.

But one of the reason’s Romero has been able to have success at the plate is because there’s really nowhere for opposing pitchers to go. Even when they pitch around - or at - her, waiting for them down the lineup are all-Big Ten selections Ashley Lane and Caitlin Blanchard, who have .385 and .399 averages, respectively.

“Romero’s had a great freshman year for us, but the key to that is having hitters behind her because otherwise people can just pitch around her,” Hutchins said. “The fact that Blanchard and Ashley Lane have done such a great job all year, whether it’s power or just putting the ball in play and just capitalizing, they’ve done great.”


Freshman Sierra Romero, left, and senior Ashley Lane are one of the most dangerous offensive combinations in the country.

Daniel Brenner | file photo

“It is unfortunate for opposing pitchers because we do have so much depth in our lineup,” said Lane. “I really don’t feel like they have room to pitch around anyone.”

If not for Romero’s stellar freshman campaign, it would likely be Lane on conference and national player of the year lists after hitting 16 home runs with 52 RBIs.

Lane will finish her career at Michigan as one of the all-time leaders in several offensive categories, but is happy to take a backseat as the team powers forward with the second most productive offense in the country.

“I’m just as excited for her accomplishments as I am for my own...I don’t look at it as taking a backseat, I just look at it as exciting that she’s on my team, thank God,” Lane said. “That really hasn’t been a concern of mine. I’m not one to be in the spotlight anyway.”

Despite her success and comfort level between the lines, Romero is still a freshman, looking forward to her first postseason as only a newcomer can.

“I grew up watching (the NCAA Tournament) on TV and I can’t believe that I’ll actually be playing in it,” Romero said.

Michigan will play Valparaiso in its opening game of the regional round of the NCAA Tournament at Alumni Field on Friday (7 p.m., ESPN3). For information visit

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

Congratulations to the lady wolverines on a distinguished year of softball. That said, I must note that the Michigan softball team seemed to peak in the early-to-mid conference schedule. Then at the end of the season they had difficulties. After winning the first 19 conference games (and 22 total games in a row) the lady wolverines dropped two-out-of-three games in a series with Nebraska. Then they took the three remaining season games from Northwestern before struggling to beat Ohio State and losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan had trouble hitting both Alex DiDomenico of Ohio State and Haylie Wagner of Nebraska. Meanwhile Michigan's hot offense went cold and the defense had problems as well. Should Michigan's less-than-stellar performance in the last few games be blamed on fatigue? Will the wolverines be well-rested for the start of the NCAA tournament against Valparaiso at 7PM on Friday at the Wilpon Complex? I sure hope so. And I hope that Sierra Romero can regain her hitting prowess.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 2:14 a.m.

Quite right! And what bothers me is that I knew it even when I wrote differently. Thanks for the correction.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.

Tatum Edwards (2013 B1G Pitcher of the Year) pitches for Nebraska. Wagner is our pitcher along with Sara Driesenga.


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

These ladies rock. Go Blue!