By JACK VANASSCHE, Staff Writer
The University of Michigan-Dearborn softball team had recovered from their tiring Arizona trip and were eager to start conference play. They had an Indiana Tech team in their sights, and an itch to get on the diamond. But Michigan weather had other plans.
The Wolverines were supposed to kick off conference play on April 2 against the Indiana Tech Warriors, but the game was called off due to inclement weather. So far this April, eight games have been cancelled for the Wolverines, leaving them with no conference experience to date.
Wolverine senior Nikki Payne described how the team has felt following the washouts.
“It’s been a bit frustrating, because we’re all ready to be outside on the dirt and grass so we can actually play,” Payne said. “But that’s Michigan weather for you — we’ll sit tight a few hours and watch it change.”
Hopefully Mother Nature allows the Wolverines to sneak in their next scheduled games, which are sure to be special.
Wednesday, UM-Dearborn is scheduled to take on Lourdes for a doubleheader at Alumni Field on the Ann Arbor campus.
Alumni Field has been used by the Wolverines of Ann Arbor since 1982. It has hosted 14 NCAA regional tournaments. For the first time in nearly three years, it will host the Wolverines of Dearborn.
On April 26, 2013, UM-Dearborn took the field against conference rival Davenport. Payne was just a freshman, but the memory hasn’t faded a bit.
“It’s a surreal experience stepping on that field for the first time. It’s a gorgeous field and just knowing some fantastic players, like Amanda Chidester and Jordan Taylor, called it home is enough to make it exciting,” Payne said.
Sophomore Jordan Ewald will be playing on Alumni Field for the first time with UM-Dearborn. “I’m excited to actually be able to play a game first off,” she said, “but I’m also very excited to be playing on such a nice field and to set the stage for our season.”
Alumni Field’s 1,800 seat grandstand and impressive scoreboard are sure to excite the team that typically plays their home games at Ladywood High School. Should the second game get a little late into the evening, the Wolverines will play under the lights.
Last season, the Wolverines split their season series with Lourdes. The Wolverines cruised to an 11-1 beat-down in game one, but dropped game two by one run. Their meeting Wednesday will be the first chance for either squad to gain ground in the conference this season.
Even with all of the excitement surrounding the special game, the upperclassmen will not let the team forget what they are really there for.
“The most exciting part for me is that we’re going to kick off our season in terms of league play at such a well-known field,” Payne said. “It’s a different field, not a different game. We want to go in and make a statement, and being at that field will just be icing on the cake.”