A couple of items on tonight's softball agenda...
The website for the World University Softball Championships being held in Taiwan reports the following result (with a little editing on my part of typographical symbols that went awry):
On a hot summer afternoon with 98 F/37 C, Chinese Taipei (4-0) and USA (4-0) played a hot game. This game attracted a full crowd to cheer up for the home team. All the players performed very well. Chinese Taipei's amazing defense stopped America's offense. Chinese Taipei defeated USA with 4-2 victory.
USA showed their guts to lead the game in the first inning by a single and double stolen bases. In the bottom of 1st, two triples and America's one error made Chinese Taipei come back by leading one run. In the later innings, while one team played hard to gain more runs with strong offense, and the other team played harder to defend. The second baseman, Tzu-Hui Pan, and short stop, Chiu-Ching Lee of Chinese Taipei even made beautiful sliding catch to cease America's aggressive offense...
Chinese Taipei won all of the 5 games in the preliminary, USA was 4-1. Two teams will rematch again in the play-off tomorrow at 1 pm.
(To access the full story yourself, for now at least, you need to click on the 2006/07/20 heading on the tournament site, even though it says "The 2nd World University Softball Championship," instead of the usual listing of the countries that played in a particular game and the score.)
If the same format were being used in the WUSC as in the recently concluded World Cup of national teams in Oklahoma City, then Chinese Taipei and the US, as the two top teams in pool play, would meet directly again in the championship game. As described in this USA Softball press release, however, the system is somewhat different. Stay tuned...
Right now, as I write, a National Pro Fastpitch game featuring Texas at Connecticut is being shown on ESPN 2. This is the first NPF telecast I've seen this season. There are only two players I recognize in tonight's game from recent college seasons.
One is Jessica Merchant, whose last act as a collegiate athlete was to snatch an infield fly off the bat of a UCLA hitter to secure Michigan's 2005 NCAA Women's College World Series title.
The other is Raquel (Rocky) Spencer, who just completed her college career at Texas A&M. This past season, Spencer got a hit when Texas pitcher Cat Osterman was one out away from yet another no-hitter (Osterman finished her college career with 20 no-hitters).
The USA national team still has the World Championships to play, in late August. The NPF regular season appears to run for about another month, so I don't know if any national team players will be able to play any games in NPF. Andrea Duran, a national team member who completed her UCLA career this past season, has already appeared briefly for Connecticut this season, as shown here.