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 issues...it 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. "
"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. . . . "