Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Older Girl Softball News

The front page of the major Oregonian newspaper featured a sports story that wasn't about steriods or fan behavior or off-the-field legal was about softball, with a beautiful photograph simply illustrating true sportsmanship.

The headline reads "Opponents Carry Injured Hitter Around the Bases to Ensure Her First-Ever Home Run"

I caught wind of this event a couple of days ago and was excited to get the paper this a.m. and see it as the top story on the front page!

Here's the setup:

"Central (Washington) entered Saturday's doubleheader one game behind Western Oregon in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference race. At stake was a bid to the NCAA's Division II playoffs. Western won the first game 8-1, extending its winning streak to 10 games. Central desperately needed the second game to keep its postseason hopes alive. "

In the second inning, Western's Sara Tucholsky of Forest Grove "did something she had never done before -- even in batting practice. The career .153 hitter smashed the next pitch over the center field fence for an apparent three-run home run. "


As she sprinted to First Base, she missed the bag, and injured herself returning to the base.


"Our first-base coach was telling me I had to crawl back to first base. 'I can't touch you,' she said, 'or you'll be out. I can't help you.' " she told Brian Meehan of the Oregonian.

"Tucholsky, to the horror of teammates and spectators, crawled through the dirt and the pain back to first. "

"Western coach Pam Knox rushed onto the field and talked to the umpires near the pitcher's mound. The umpires said Knox could place a substitute runner at first. Tucholsky would be credited with a single and two RBIs, but her home run would be erased. "

Can you imagine?

So, get this:

"The umpires said nothing in the rule book precluded help from the opposition. (Mallory) Holtman asked her teammate junior shortstop and honors program student Liz Wallace of Florence, Mont., to lend a hand. The (Central Washington) teammates walked over and picked up Tucholsky and resumed the home-run walk, pausing at each base to allow Tucholsky to touch the bag with her uninjured leg. "

Oh yeah:

"Western Oregon won the game 4-2 and extinguished Central Washington's playoff hopes."

And read this out loud to your daughters or teammates:

"In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much," Holtman said. "It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain and she deserved a home run. . . . "

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Softball @ its Best!

I caught the second half of an excellent high school softball game last night at a nearby suburban Portland high school. Both teams featured future collegiate players, and former Little Leaguers who had played in the LLSoftball World Series several years ago.

It was a great game, featuring strong pitching and good defense. Jesuit HS defeated Westview HS, 1-0 on WVHS's home field. It was actually a clear day, and not too breezy...finally, some softball weather! I was hoping to see more younger players hanging out in the stands, but they were probably finally getting in a full practice or game themselves...

In spite of the Oregon weather, we are lucky to have opportunities to watch high-level softball in these parts. For example, the USA Softball Team is making a Portland stop on their Bound for Beijing tour on July 8. Reserve tickets are now sold-out for the game, but general admission are still available. Why not make it a team outing? How often do you get the chance to watch Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott, Jessica Mendoza...(the list goes on) in person?

But before summer ball, we still have a good deal of the high school season to follow, as well as all of your own Little League schedules... Good luck, play hard, have fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Talk About an Inspiration!

All I can say is wow...

Think about spending your softball career as a "left-handed" hitter, and later training yourself to be a switch-hitter, even though you were born without a left hand...

A USA Today article highlights collegiate softball player Shay Oberg, a junior at Montana State - Billings, who has done just that: "One-Handed Slugger Oberg Powers Over Obstacles"

Ms. Oberg, an outstanding outfielder, has three home runs on the season.

She is also a former Riverside Little League softball player!

Go Yellow Jackets!