Monday, June 07, 2010


Rather serendipitously, I have been able to watch the Women's College World Series (NCAA Softball) on ESPN2 for much of the weekend, and am currently holed up in a hotel room watching the first of the two-out-of-three matches that Arizona and UCLA will now play.  Suitably, with two innings to play, they are tied, and each team is being led by its money pitcher of the year.
How the tournament works on the weekend is really wacky and just great as a spectator sport; several teams are all part of a double-elimination to get down to the two teams who play the final I am now utterly enjoying.  For a fan this is amazing as softball is being played all day long for two days, just with teams being changed! UCLA cruised through that phase but Arizona lost a match early and had to fight tooth and nail to survive.  This tournament creates crazy things - yesterday, Arizona found itself playing Tennessee late in the day, and an Arizona win would earn them the right to play Tennessee again shortly thereafter to survive.  As they did!
These student athletes are impressive, far beyond just their physical skills as great softball players.  Many of the UCLA women have to write exams tomorrow!  This during the day before their evening match.  The Arizona pitcher is a frosh!  The UCLA pitcher is not just a great pitcher but hit over .500 this season and is hitting around .800 in this tournament so far!
Sometimes the most enjoyable things in life are simply unexpected.
UPDATE: What a softball match.  UCLA got a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth and I was conceding this match to them.  Now Arizona has come back and we are tied in the top of the seventh.  Wow!

UPDATE 2: Arizona got those runs from a home run, and the next Arizona batter hits one as well so Arizona now lead in the top of the seventh.  I feel a bit sad - UCLA`s pitcher Megan Langefeld, who has the great hitting record I mentioned above, has been fighting painful blisters on her pitching hand as well as a pair of hangnails, and I did wonder if she could last.  She is up to 135 pitches now, and leaving the mound.  And that softball pitching looks a lot more demanding than the baseball pitch.  What I wonder is whether Langefeld stays in the game - ahh, she will now be the first baseman. 
UPDATE 3: Unbelievable!  UCLA score one in the bottom of the seventh.  And the tragedy it is because of a fly ball right on the seam of the territories of two outfielders, both of whom flinch.  One more and they win.  That amazing Arizona frosh pitcher ends the uprising (there have been great stories about her terrible triumph over some awful health problems).  Extra innings!
I decided to watch this match rather than go out and now feel utterly justified!
UPDATE 4: What justice!  Langenfeld wins it by homering!  What a tough kid!  I will have to miss the end of tomorrow`s game. Rats!!


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