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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

At Texas Tech University, where I'm on the faculty, the softball team is starting to show some signs of emerging from the doldrums. As many of you will recall, the Red Raiders got hot toward the end of the season and made the championship game of the Big 12 tournament, upsetting eventual College World Series participants Baylor and Texas A&M along the way. Whether Tech can break through next year and contend for an NCAA tournament berth based on its regular-season record, remains to be seen.

The last time Texas Tech made the NCAA tournament field was in 2001. The Red Raiders were powered that year by a pitcher named Amanda Renfro, whose career accomplishments included two perfect games and a no-hitter, plus top 10 status in the NCAA record book in a couple of categories.

The official Texas Tech athletics website has been tracking down alumni athletes in a variety of sports to do stories on them, and one of the featured athletes is Renfro, now known as Amanda Renfro Simmons (article link).

Married and with three young children, Amanda appears to be out of organized softball. She and her husband live in Houston and both work for an oil/gas company. Much of the article is devoted to her reflections on pitching for Texas Tech. One passage, perhaps as a result of a runaway spellchecker, reads as follows:

Simmons said that despite all of her achievements and accolades, what she will remember the most is the commodore and closeness she shared with her teammates while playing at Tech.

The intended word was probably "camaraderie."

As for the future of the Texas Tech program, the 2007 roster included only four seniors. Both pitchers used by the Red Raiders in the conference tournament -- Sarah Losleben and Ashly Jacobs -- return, as does catcher Robyn Wike.

Coach Teresa Wilson, who just completed her third season at Texas Tech, appeared on a local sports talk radio show shortly after the Red Raiders' season ended. Remarking on the team's success in the Big 12 tourney, she noted that her intense style was perhaps finally starting to take hold.