Alex Storako, Meghan Beaubien Want Michigan Back At WCWS
Since coming together in 2019, Michigan's Alex Storako and Meghan Beaubien have developed into two of the best pitchers in the country, creating one of the top pitching rotations in all of college softball.
While similar in accomplishments and accolades since the duo stepped into the circle for the Wolverines, the two are different in their pitching styles, yet highly effective for Michigan.
"We're definitely opposites on the field, as well as off the field, but we get along really well," Storako said. "A lot of people talk about how we complement each other on the field, righty, lefty, east-to-west pitcher, north-to-south pitcher, but we bring a lot of good energy to the bullpen and try to have fun."
Since Storako's freshman season in 2019, the two have both earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and won a combined 130 games. Last season, the staff posted the lowest ERA in the country (1.23).
"I think we just did a really good job focusing on doing our job and taking things one inning at a time," Beaubien said. "We just execute one pitch and then another pitch, and know if we weren't getting it done. the other one was right there and they would get it done. I think that gave us a lot of confidence."
Storako went 22-3 with a 1.05 ERA and 270 strikeouts in 2021, becoming the unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. Beaubien posted a 16-5 record with a 1.24 ERA and struck out 202 batters.
Entering their fourth year together, Storako said that since they know each other so well, they don't communicate as much during games about giving each other suggestions. They like to give each other their space.
Beaubien added that while throwing batting practice, the two enjoy discussing how they would pitch to their teammates to gain another perspective on attacking hitters.
"Sometimes, if neither of us is pitching at the time, we will sit in the dugout and watch our own hitters and talk about pitch by pitch exactly what we would be throwing them," Beaubien said. "One, it's kind of fun, but two, just talking through that stuff helps us both see things differently and maybe be less predictable in what we want to throw."
While in the circle, the mindset is to do their part to put their team in the best position possible to win a game. For Storako, having a one-pitch focus and adapting to the potential changes hitters made was a significant part of why she was successful last season.
"Just working on my spin," Storako said. "That's my go-to with my pitching, and why I've been so successful is just being able to work my spin and being able to spin the ball through the zone and really develop those swing and misses to benefit me."
Storako adds her most significant growth in her game in the last three years was her mindset. With COVID-19 shutting down the 2020 season, players had to train at home and some even had to throw on cement in the snow. She adds that throwing in those conditions helped her adapt to any condition and throw just as well as in the Big Ten weather climate.
Due to the shutdown, seniors like Beaubien had a choice to come back for another year. For her, that decision was an easy one to make.
Near the end of their collegiate careers, the two want to help mentor the younger pitchers on the team so they can step in when their time comes. Beaubien adds that the experiences those younger pitchers get this year will hopefully help them to develop quickly.
As the Wolverines get back in the swing of things this fall, the star pitchers want to help Michigan return to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2016. With the return of the Big Ten Tournament in 2022, Beaubien has extra motivation—to be an All-American once again and show the nation how good the Big Ten is.
"I think the Big Ten doesn't get a lot of credit as a conference as a whole," Beaubien said. "In the past years when I was coming through high school, and since I've been here, I think the conference gets better and better every year. Nobody is an assumed victory. Nobody is an assumed series win. You have to perform to win."