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Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Roundup

NEWS:
  • Florida Atlantic head coach Joan Joyce celebrated her 800th career win with a victory over Florida A&M on Friday.
  • NPF: The Dallas Charge have signed former Texas Tech outfielder Mikey Kenney; former Texas shortstop Taylor Thom; and former BYU and PA Rebellion outfielder Angeline Quiocho to free-agent contracts.
  • Congratulations to UConn head coach Jen McIntyre on her first career victory.
  • In this week's installment of Odd Softball Happenings, James Madison outfielder Hannah Hayes ended the Dukes' game against Lipscomb in run-rule, walk-off fashion... with an inside-the-park grand slam. Thanks to a missed diving catch, Hayes' fly ball turned into a bases-clearing and game-ending home run.
  • D2: UMSL (University of Missouri-St. Louis) pitcher Hannah Perryman became the program's all-time wins leader with her 59th career victory on Sunday.
  • Northwestern State slugger Cassandra Barefield set the program's new career home run mark with her 39th career roundtripper on Friday.
  • Virginia Tech head coach Scot Thomas celebrated his 700th career victory with a win over East Carolina on Saturday.
  • Congratulations to former Auburn shortstop Lauren Guzman on her wedding this weekend!
  • Fresno State's Brenna Moss sets the program's career stolen base record with her 87th swiped bag on Saturday.
  • WORTH READING: Notre Dame great Laura Winter and her father Kirt both penned excellent pieces for the xbandsports.com website. Find Kirt's article here and Laura's here.
  • Congratulations to this week's members of the No-No Express- 
    • Courtney Mirabella, NC State (7.0 IP, 10 SO, vs. Dayton)
    • Katie Donovan, Utah (5.0 IP, 6 SO, vs. Nevada)
    • Courtney Brandt, Stetson (5.0 IP, 2 SO, vs. Morgan State)
    • Mikaela Aiken, Virginia Tech (5.0 IP, 7 SO, vs. Seton Hall)
    • Kylie Kleinschmidt/Christina Biggerstaff, Georgia Tech (5.0 IP, 10 SO, vs. Savannah State)
    • Kelly Heinz, Virginia Tech (5.0 IP, 6 SO, vs. Seton Hall)


LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN HOME RUN TRACKER:


PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Florida State ace Lacey Waldrop hugs a billboard featuring... Lacey Waldrop? (Pic cred: @FSU_CoachSnider on Twitter)


VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Check out this throwback video from espnU, "For the Love of the Game" featuring former FSU pitcher Monica Perry.


PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK:
  • Jessica Griffin, Stetson - Griffin's Hatters had an unusual series, a four-game set against Morgan State. With an insane .769 batting average on the weekend, Griffin reached base in ten out of her thirteen at-bats. Of those ten, six were for extra bases and three went over the wall. She collected twelve RBIs in total, as well
  • Katie Kelley, UMKC - Kelley spread the offensive love, clubbing a single home run in each of her team's four games over the weekend. She registered an incredible .786 batting average in those games, and collected eight RBI for good measure.
  • Kendall Wiley, Texas State - Wiley had a great weekend, but more specifically, she had a great Saturday! In a game her Bobcats ended up losing, Wiley did her part for the victory effort, clubbing three home runs and driving home four of her team's five runs. Her weekend stat line read .435/6/12.
  • Christina Biggerstaff, Georgia Tech - Biggerstaff, a freshman, shared credit for two no-hitters this weekend (one mentioned above), though she really deserves nearly all of the praise for both. With appearances in four of the Ramblin' Wreck's five games this weekend, Biggerstaff registered 10.2 hitless, scoreless innings before giving up five hits in a seven-inning shutout victory on Sunday. Her final stats for the weekend read 17.2 innings pitched, five hits, zero runs, five walks, and thirty-two strikeouts.
  • Christina Hamilton, Louisiana-Lafayette - After a stellar All-American campaign in 2014, uncertainty surrounded Hamilton entering the '15 campaign. An injury with unknown severity held her out of competition completely for the first two weeks of the year. But when his team needed a reviving to halt the Iowa offense in their tracks Friday, Michael Lotief handed the ball to Hamilton. 5.2 innings later, the Cajuns were victorious. The Hawkeyes had only reached base four times and had not scored another run, and Hamilton was back to being the bespectacled star that some wondered if she would return to be. Following her season debut weekend, Hamilton sports a 3-0 record, a 0.54 ERA, and opponents hit just .113 against her. Is it still a bit premature to call her fully "back"? Perhaps, but another weekend like this and the pre-injury first-team All-American talks will revive in full force.


MY TAKE:
Outside of the Women's College World Series, the Mary Nutter Classic is without a doubt the best college softball tournament of the season. Year in and year out, many of the top teams in the nation journey to Palm Springs to face off against the best competition they may face until the postseason. Where else will you see top-25 teams taking on each other at least a dozen times in a single weekend?

Yet, despite the top-notch competition and incredible game play, if you're not in Palm Springs, you're stuck following stats online and Twitter feeds for live updates.

Oh, you saw ESPN cameras there, you say? Their top broadcasters were in attendance, too? No, surely you're mistaken. Would ESPN seriously have all of the necessary pieces to broadcast softball games present and accounted for and then not put a single game on the airwaves?

Apparently so.

Despite the presence of Jessica Mendoza, Holly Rowe, Leah Amico, ESPNW's excellent softball writer Graham Hays and others in Palm Springs, not a single softball game graced the airwaves. That's simply ridiculous.

I'm not saying that softball should have been front and center on ESPN and ESPN2 all weekend long. [Would that have been marvelous? Sure, but it's simply, unfortunately not going to happen.] I'm not even saying that all of the games should have been broadcast. But to not broadcast ANY of them is unacceptable.

Six teams that participated in the Women's College World Series in the last two years played in Palm Springs this year. A total of six games featuring head-to-head matchups of current top-thirteen teams took place. OU's Lauren Chamberlain is eleven home runs away from the all-time record, an achievement that could have grown much closer to reality this weekend. Yet ESPN didn't see fit to air a single game, not even as an online-only broadcast on espn3.com or WatchESPN?

I, like many others, appreciate what ESPN does for the sport of softball - without the 'Worldwide Leader', very few softball games of any kind would be shown. The extended coverage of the postseason is great, and we've seen some broadcasting stars (see: Scarborough, Amanda) rise to the top of their game because of it. But gratitude for what is provided does not extend to skipping over egregiously-missed opportunities. The lack of broadcast coverage this weekend falls into that category.

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