When Hannah Carson broke through the center field wall in one of the first innings in the fifth inning, it wasn’t just the start of a bunch of runs that led to the Michigan softball team 19 deciding in North Carolina on Tuesday night. It was also the culmination of a bunch of home runs that Wolverines – especially the senior Kecher – have amassed over the past five days.
Carson’s solo kick became her third long ball of the trip, joining her homers with three and two rounds in both wins against North Kentucky over the weekend. It also resulted in eight strikes and extended the RBI series to seven games in a row.
These figures lead to many offensive productions for Michigan, a new reality after the drought at the start of the season. This leaves Carson as the face of the recent surge, an appropriate role given how she mimics the comfort the team has been looking for from the whole batting order.
“(I) stay calm behind the plate and I know that if I don’t do it, someone else will,” Carson said. “That mood helped me relax and just contribute to the team.”
There has been no such contribution until recently. In his six games before that trip, Carson found extra bases just once out of three shots, and it was the double in the last game of the segment that started the RBI series. In this game, she also counted her fourth shooting of the season and has yet to fall victim to her fifth.
The cool team mindset described by Carson is characterized by how much his results contrast with the thinking of pressing the results that so hurt her and Wolverine just a few weeks ago.
“I think in the beginning we tried very hard to just see the results and not work on our process and enjoy it,” Carson said. “So just staying in the moment and playing on one field has been the biggest improvement in the last couple of days and compared to the start of the season.”
Of course, Carson’s position implies that while her leadership on the plate was crucial, it is a certain minority of the time and effort she puts in for it.
Although she has played a central role in the 40 shots her team has received in the last three games, on the other hand in these innings, Carson has shown mirror leadership by wearing a winged catcher helmet. The senior maintained an ideal nomination percentage during those matches and scored 23 points in deliveries.
This leadership in the field has found a central place in Michigan’s recent victory. Five-year-old left-hander Megan Bobien threw her fourth lockout of the season despite only striking out one, and that was made possible by a solid performance on the field.
“I could be biased, but I think she had a lot of statements that were right there, but just didn’t get calls, and our defense really picked us up,” Carson said. “I think knowing if your defense can lift you up that way, it provides confidence to the pitcher so they can just be free and give up whatever they want.”
Regardless of the many roles required by the softball team, the search for comfort was largely the journey that all Wolverines have made since their first inning in 2022.
And with the cool handling of hot strips dictated by veterans like Carson, Michigan can use those results as a true northern compass for continued success.