Runner-up Michigan proud of its 'family'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Oklahoma City — Michigan coach Carol Hutchins and senior pitcher Haylie Wagner said after falling to Florida in the deciding game of the softball national championship that the loss does not define the Wolverines' season.

They finished as the national runner-up with a 60-8 record after the 4-1 defeat Wednesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

"We played our hearts out, and we played with the heart and soul we've been playing with for the past few weeks," Wagner said.

Sierra Romero, the team's standout second baseman and finalist for national player of the year, will be a senior next year. She said the returning players will take plenty from getting this close to winning it all.

"I'm proud of this team," Romero said. "They've taught me so much as a player. We've stuck together through some hard times, and we've pushed through it. No matter what, we were a family. I couldn't be more proud of them."

They talked all season about being a family and developing trust in one another.

"I love them," Tera Blanco said. "They're my family. Period."

Pitcher Megan Betsa will be a junior next season and said they will rebound from this.

"It's tough to lose the last game," Betsa said. "The returners are going to come back and we're going to work really hard for next year. All the thanks in the world to the seniors. We couldn't ask for anything more."

Series honors

Michigan edged Florida in the World Series — the Wolverines had five players make the All-Tournament team, while the Gators had four.

Of course, one of Florida's players was Lauren Haeger, who pitched beautifully in the final game to help the Gators to their second straight national championship. Haeger was voted the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

The Michigan players are: Haylie Wagner, Kelsey Susalla, Sierra Romero, Kelly Christner and Abby Ramirez.