Congrats, UM-Dearborn softball!

May 23, 2022

The Dearborn Wolverine softball team had a standout season — they won their first WHAC Tournament Championship and Softball Coach Vince Alessandrini was named best of the year.

Photo of the 2022 UM-Dearborn softball team winning the conference tournament

Dearborn Wolverine Audrey Asgarally looked over at her coach. Softball Coach Vince Alessandrini signed for the pinch-running senior to steal second base.

The next batter, junior Jaclyn Clark slammed the ball into the outfield. As soon as Asgarally saw the bat and ball connect — she flew off of second base, rounded third and slid into home. “When Jaclyn hit the ball to the right field, my job was to score no matter what,” Asgarally said.

And with that, the UM-Dearborn softball team — with a score of 2-1 — won their first Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Tournament Championship.

“This is the first time in UM-Dearborn’s history that the softball team has made it to Regionals, making it the most memorable softball game of my career,” Asgarally said of the May 9 game. “Having the opportunity to score the winning run that put us through to Regionals is a moment I will always remember as a part of my college career.”

The WHAC tournament championship game versus Aquinas College was intense, and a great way to celebrate a standout season. Pitcher Lanie Ellinger, a senior, said the team worked incredibly hard, demonstrated perseverance and overcame adversity following pandemic-related hiatuses.

“It is such an honor to hold the school’s first WHAC championship title,” Ellinger said. “Our team just loves each other so much and are so committed to one another. But most importantly, we experienced this amazing opportunity together.”

Traveling to Georgia, the team did not advance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics  Tournament. Their season concluded with a 3-0 loss to the Georgia Gwinnett College Grizzlies, after a successful  30-13 Dearborn Wolverine season.

Photo of Coach Vince Alessandrini

The players said their strength comes from their camaraderie — and from their coach. Coach Alessandrini earned the title of 2022 WHAC Coach of the Year.

“Coach Vince is simply one of the best and smartest coaches I have ever played for in my career in softball. He believes in every one of us and preaches family 24/7,” Ellinger said.

Several of the team members say Alessandrini, who is in his sixth season with the Wolverines, stresses the importance of supporting each other on and off the field — and makes room for fun. The team has their dance circles before games and loudly cheers from the bench.

Asgarally said she’s played softball since she was young. She said, looking back, it’s gone by fast. And she’s glad her senior season ended with a close-knit team led by an incredible coach. Even though her collegiate softball career is over, the bonds she’s forged on campus will be with her indefinitely.

“I would like to tell my fellow athletes to enjoy every moment you have playing your sport. Always remember to leave everything on the field, court, track, or whatever setting you're in because those are the moments you will carry with you for the rest of your life.”

Article by Rudra Mehta.