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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Here are the photos I took at the Columbus, Ohio regional, as I alluded to in a recent posting (you can click on the photos to enlarge them). Above, Cal State Fullerton's players (who ultimately won the regional) and Virginia Tech's engage in the traditional team handshakes, upon the Hokies' elimination in the Saturday late game.

The first of Saturday's three games pitted the host Ohio State Buckeyes against Virginia Tech.

Here, the Buckeyes' Lauren Daykin bats, while Liz Caputo awaits her turn.

With Ohio State seemingly cruising along with a 2-0 lead over the Hokies, things got a little tighter in the top of the sixth. Buckeye ace Jamee Juarez came on in relief and, despite some threats by Va Tech, OSU won 2-1, with Juarez getting the save.

A key play occurred, in fact, with the first batter Juarez faced, Hokie catcher Kelsey Hoffman. With runners on first and second, Hoffman hit a fly to right that was tailing off toward the foul line. Whether the ball landed in fair or foul territory was a matter of dispute (see the Hokie Sports article on the game), but the umpire called it foul.

The Va Tech first-base coach, shown arguing with the ump in the above picture, was ejected (the coach, in a dark top and white shorts, can be seen in the lower-left part of the picture, standing by the first-base umpire, while the home-plate ump stands nearby). Hoffman eventually walked and the Hokies scored a run in the inning. Had Hoffman's fly ball been judged to have landed fair, however, it almost certainly would have been an extra-base hit with perhaps both runners scoring.

As an aside, you'll notice in the above picture how the high dugouts at Buckeye Field (they don't even appear to actually have been "dug") detract from the viewing of the game from the stands. As can be seen from the section of empty seats, the dugout completely obstructs the view in some cases. Even in the adjacent seats that people do occupy, however, substantial sectors of the field cannot be seen. Perhaps OSU can invest in a wrecking ball to destroy the current dugouts and build new ones that are actually lowered to permit fans in all areas of the stands to see the game!

As I discussed in my earlier posting, Saturday evening's Virginia Tech-Cal State Fullerton game came down to Fullerton's Candice Baker hitting a long -- dare I say, Titanic -- homer in the sixth inning (the Titans' first hit of the game) to give her team what proved to be the decisive run in a 1-0 victory. Shown above is the greeting party Baker received at home plate.

Lastly, I took a bunch of pictures of Ohio State's athletic complex while walking to and from the softball games, which is shown below in the form of a montage I made in PowerPoint. Like the movie, OSU's campus can be characterized by the phrase, "A River Runs Through It," the Olentangy River. On the east side of the river is the main academic campus, along with the legendary "Horseshoe" football venue, Ohio Stadium. On the west side are a number of splashy new facilities including Value City Arena/Schottenstein Center, Bill Davis Stadium for baseball, and the Jack Nicklaus Golf Museum. Softball's Buckeye Field is also on the west side, but as I alluded to above, it's neither as fan-friendly nor as attractive as the other stadia. Perhaps with the team doing better, the softball stadium can be renovated.