Junior Sara Groenewegen, the Gophers pitching-hitting machine, was not named the Big Ten player of the year this season.
Sierra Romero of Michigan was. Groenewegen won the award last season.
And Groenewegen wasn't named the conference pitcher of the year.
That major postseason honor went to Michigan's Megan Betsa. Groenewegen got that award two years ago when she was also picked Big Ten freshman of the year.
But on Saturday, the Gopher from White Rock, British Columbia, earned a pretty big honor herself. She was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Big Ten softball tournament in College Station, Pa.
It was a no-doubter. It could not have been anybody else.
In the final two days of the tournament, Groenewegen won three games, pitching every inning, 24 in all.
She beat Illinois 2-0 on a one-hitter in Friday's quarterfinals.
She hit a three-run homer in the incredibly long first semifinal Saturday -- which was broken up with almost a one-hour rain delay after the fourth inning -- and ended with the Gophers beating good-hitting Northwestern 8-4. She got her 300th strikeout of the season near the end of that game that took nearly four hours.
And, then, for the capper, Groenewegen beat No. 2 Michigan 4-3 in 10 innings. It took 3 hours, 40 minutes.
She threw almost 300 pitches Saturday, but got the job done: 125 pitches vs. Wildcats, 158 vs. Wolverines
Minnesota won its second Big Ten tournament title in two years -- and third in school history. The first came in 1999, the second in 2014 with a 3-2 win over Michigan.
"A lot of people outside of Minnesota softball don’t believe we can do it,” Groenewegen said in a postgame interview on the Big Ten Network, “and they don’t believe we can be in the top-25 in this country, and I think this proves right there that we can compete with anyone in the country.”
Romero hit a solo homer off Groenewegen in the top of the first inning but Minnesota answered in the bottom when leadoff hitter Sam Macken walked and came around to score on a wild pitch.
The title game quickly turned into a pitchers' duel between Metsa and Groenewegen.
Metsa went nine innings. She was more stingy on hits, giving up only three and striking out 10. But she had control problems, walking eight and hitting two batters.
Groenewegen, in her 10 innings, gave up two earned runs, nine hits and two walks. She struck out 11.
"Sara Groenewegen just laid it all on the line," Gophers coach Jessica Allister said. "This is one of the gutsiest performances I have seen."
"This means so much to us," said Groenewegen, who cried and laughed in the postgame celebration.
The teams each scored a run in the third and another in the sixth, and then it was the bottom of the 10th.
Michigan put in senior Sara Driesenga to pitch. She got a quick strikeout. But then No. 8 hitter Sydney Dwyer singled to right, the opposite field, and stole second. Sydney Fabian got on base on an error by the third baseman.
Then after a force out at third for the second out, Danielle Parlich came up with runners at first and second. Her sharp grounder went off the leg of the shortstop into center field. It was the second error of the inning and fourth of the game for Michigan.
Fabian rounded third and ran toward home and slid. The throw from the center fielder was high and to the left of home plate, allowing Fabian to slide in under the tag.
Allister described the Gophers in one word: "Resilient -- that was a tough game."
Notes: Macken and Houlihan of the Gophers also were named to the all-tournament team along with Groenewegen.
This was the first extra inning championship game.
Michigan is 46-5 now, the Gophers 41-12.
The NCAA selection show will be at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.