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Monday, May 21, 2012

Softball End of Season Thoughts


-Sandy Walker commentary on softball season

-Reader submitted articles begins on Fridays in June ! 

(Our columnist Sandy Walker takes the wheel today to discuss Louisville softball. Enjoy!)

Softball fans who I joined on the “berm” this weekend can testify to the great environment and sociability of the relaxed environment.   Outfielder fans willingly trade the conveniences of adjacent concession stands, restrooms and seating which doesn’t need to be carried in on our backs for the feel of a casual and festive picnic atmosphere which includes kids and dogs.

 Our only request is for a scoreboard, even a teeny tiny one which Timmy the Intern can maintain. Maybe like the one the women had for basketball not that long ago where a team manager would flip over the numbers after each score.  The Cadillac version would give us the score, the inning, pitch count and maybe even the player at bats name.  We are not asking for much, just enough to know the status of the game.

With the addition of a couple of additional wins against Michigan and 10 less degrees of heat, this weekend would have been absolutely perfect.  Coach Pearsall

 made it very clear in Sunday’s post game press conference that the remaining squad has a deeply engrained memory of this weekend’s outcome which will carry forward and through to next year’s super regionals. 

Those of you who either watched the games from home (isn’t it wild that ESPN is televising a Louisville team outside of football or basketball which also happens to be a woman’s sport) or totally missed seeing them absolutely need to make a commitment to not only attend next year but bring at least one friend and be a part of breaking the new attendance record of > 3500 fans.

Officer Stacey's many duties of this weekend was to protect Coach Pearsall's dog Summitt so coach could focus on the game while knowing that her pup was safe and well cared for while she was needing doggy day care.

A visibly upset Senior Pitcher Tori Collins answered reporter’s questions after Sunday’s loss.    During the tournament she battled physical adversity and as she had promised, did what a senior does, which was to go out giving the team and school all that she had.

Tori could very well be the softball equivalent of what Angel was to basketball and may later become recognized as the ambassador who served as a springboard for new fans taking note of the sport as a record number of spectators attended last weekend’s games.

A rule change which was first in effect this year played a significant role in the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan loss. Until this year a batter must make an effort to move out of the way from a ball which is pitched.  This year no such effort is required.  Louisville’s first tournament loss came as the result of a batter who not only did not make an effort to move out of the way of the ball but who was hit as she actually slightly jutted her arm and shoulder towards the ball.  What would have been a called ball last year resulted this  year in a walk forced score which ended the game.  Someone needs to take another look at how that change is working out for others as it hasn’t been too great for U of L as later a 2nd batter again not only did not move out of the way but actually  moved into a pitch for a called walk.

Speaking of rule changes:
Coach Pearsall handled her post game media response to a clearly bad game changing call, in the expected professional manner.  She responded to inquiries by indicating that things even out but after an ESPN replay clearly showed a Michigan runner sliding into third as out but called safe, one has to question the need for some form of instant replay coming to softball.  

Before naysayers dismiss the thought:
How about replays only being available during end of season tournaments and only to be used a maximum of 2 times per game per team, by specific request of the coach.  As with basketball and football, the evidence would have to be clear and convincing.  Think back to past years when folks said replay had no place in football or basketball games where now we see the benefits.   As technology continues to improve and to cost less, the prospect of replays coming to additional sports is inevitable.  Otherwise the seasons of some teams will continue to end earlier than they should have and others will continue on beyond the placement they earned.  Thoughts anyone?


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  1. Good report, Sandy! We wondered what was up with that picture of the dog...


  2. The idea of instant replay is a good one, but it would needed to be an across the board for all games. Since most schools don't have televised softball games, it would be hard to enact. I like the idea that a coach form the Atlantic Coast Conference came up with a couple of years ago.

    Calls that are considered reviewable by a coach would be reviewed by three member, on the site, committee that is made up of a representative (member of the coaching staff) from each team and the home plate umpire (unless it involves a call made by the home plate umpire, then you go to the third base umpire). Majority rules. Each head coach would have a challenge flag that they would toss onto the field, before the next play, to indicate they wanted a review. Coaches would have three challenges per seven inning game.

    The idea never made it out of discussion stage, but it seems like a good idea.

    Joe Hill

  3. Get over it Cardinal fans. You beat UK three times this year. What else could u possibly want.

    -Rick's Porcini Booth

  4. Great article, Sandy! The softball program at Louisville would benefit greatly if they move to the BIG 12.

    Father Jim

  5. Which starting softball Cardinals are returning?

    1. It'd be easier to list who isn't coming back...but here the list and what year they'll be in the 2013 season

      1B Alicja Wolny (Sr.)
      2b Katie Keller (Jr)
      SS Whitney Arion (So)
      3B Katelyn Mann (Sr)
      INF Kayla Soles (So)
      LF Jennifer Esteban (Sr)
      CF Jordan Trimble (Jr)

      Hannah Kiyohara (Jr) returns also and will try to lock down right field.

      Pitchers Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell are back also.

      Impressive, huh?


    2. Oops, forgot catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod and designated player/catcher Taner Fowler !
      Even more impressive...



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