Notes from the NCAA Softball Regional in Waco, Texas
Well, the NCAA committee and every softball fan gets their dream match up for Saturday afternoon… Baylor and LSU. I don’t know how much Yvette Girouard and Glenn Moore are excited about it… but it’s all the fans of both schools have been hoping for. Maybe most of them were hoping for it in the Finals on Sunday, but this was the logical spot for them to meet and win or lose, it’s entirely possible, unless someone in this field really steps it up Saturday night, they will meet again with the trip on the line Sunday.
Just when you thought old fashioned, pitcher dominated softball was gone, here comes the Waco Regional. Seven of the first eight games were shutouts, there was 16-inning, 1-0 marathon in which the Baylor pitcher, Cristin Vitetk, struck out an NCAA Tournament record 28 batters against North Carolina. Mind you, that was in the first game of the tournament and took nearly four hours and many in the press box thought the five-game day was starting off to be an all-day and all-night affair. But the pitching theme continued and the games went 1:33, 1:36 and 1:39 the rest of the first round to allow the elimination nightcap to begin only an amazing 45 minutes late. That trend continued on Friday as the high scoring games remained in check for the time being.
Can someone get the phone number for the Getterman’s family for whom Getterman softball Stadium is named after? You never know, maybe Skip Bertman can convince them another softball stadium named after them wouldn’t be a bad thing. Getterman Stadium is just part of an athletic complex that includes a nicely landscaped plaza that leads to Baylor Ballpark and the soccer and tennis complex. Some 1,500 feet over the left field stands is the Ferrell Center where the basketball teams do battle. The football stadium is the only thing not on the campus, located some four or five miles away. Interestingly enough, in these days of naming rights, just inside the baseball park is what is called ‘Founders Wall’ with the names of several prominent donors to the baseball park who to paraphrase the writing on the wall, gave significant contributions with the understanding that forever the baseball stadium would be known as Baylor Ballpark.
You may not have caught it, but Centenary in Shreveport was making its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in the softball tournament and had to face top-national seed Arizona Thursday night and had a 1-0 lead through 5 1/2 innings. According to accounts of the game, the Ladies in an attempt to slow the slap-hitting stars of Arizona, would move their centerfielder to second base, putting five infielders across and then moved their right field to left center and dared Arizona to hit to the opposite field and apparently they couldn’t. Arizona finally got a home run in the sixth and a run in the bottom of the seventh to escape, 2-1, but one of the nation’s smallest Division I schools certainly made an interesting debut.
It’s ironic, but three tournament MVPs have toed the circle in the first eight games of the tournament and Kristin Schmidt of LSU has beaten both of them. First it was Sarah Pauly of Texas A&M Corpus Christi who won the Big South MVP on Thursday and today it was Megan Meyer, the MVP of the Big East Tournament. Schmidt, of course, is the two-time MVP of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Speaking of Schmidt, she continues to be at their best and right now, she is helping to carry this team to what they hope will be their ultimate goal… a trip to Oklahoma City. The batting average has fallen off some 17 points since the start of the SEC Tournament, but the defense, Schmidt’s pitching (with a little help from Emily Turner) and some timely offensive plays continue to be good enough for LSU. It certainly hasn’t hurt LSU right now that this is a pitcher’s tournament, but it’s going to be an interesting couple of days to see what magic the Tigers can pull out of their hat. That’s the one thing that hasn’t happened for this team in a long time… one of those improbable shouldn’t have happened last inning wins that for a while seemed to be a part of the LSU system in the earlier years of the program.
So here’s the skinny: LSU and Baylor meet first thing Saturday with the winner going to the championship round on Sunday. The loser has to come back at 7 and best the winner of the 4:30 elimination game in an elimination game of their own and then that winner has to beat the team left standing twice on Sunday. No matter how it plays how in the opening game Saturday, my best is LSU and Baylor Sunday standing toe to toe for a chance to go to Oklahoma City. Hope you’ll join us on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and on the LSUsports.net web site for all the action.