Thursday, June 07, 2012

Final Notes 2012

The 2012 college softball season is now on the books, and I would like to thank the visitors to this site. I don't get a lot of traffic, but I like to think I have a devoted, though small, following. Below is a screen capture from the Sitemeter tool I use to track readership. It shows the 100 most recent visits to my site (with the most recent in red and 10 most recent in green). As you can see, in the aftermath of the Women's College World Series, there were heavy concentrations of visits from people in and around Oklahoma and Alabama.


I post occasionally during the off-season, so I hope you'll check back from time to time. Definitely, though, plan to return for full-time coverage of the 2013 season!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

2012 WCWS Game 3

We're finally underway. Alabama is officially the home team. The Crimson Tide is looking to become the first team from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to win the Women's College World Series (Florida lost in the 2009 and 2011 finals, and Tennessee lost in the 2007 finals; here's a summary chart of all WCWS results). Oklahoma is going for its second WCWS title, as the 2000 Sooners won the school's first softball title. I'll be live-blogging during the game...

With an Oklahoma fan's sign referring to "K-Lani," Sooner pitcher Keilani Ricketts strikes out the side in the bottom of the first.

Ricketts then comes up to bat and leads off the top of the second with a home-run blast to right.

OU's Lauren Chamberlain adds a two-run blast to left to make it 3-0.

Alabama gets its first two hits of the game in the bottom of the third, although neither ball left the infield.

The rain has returned, but play is continuing.

Bama gets on the board with two out in the bottom of the fourth on, as play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins points out, "a single and three wild pitches."

With the rain intensifying, it appears that play is being suspended briefly with two outs. As field reporter Holly Rowe informs us, the umpires will discuss whether to impose a longer suspension. Apparently, the footing is still OK, but Ricketts is claiming she cannot properly grasp the ball due to the rain. Alabama seems to be arguing that Ricketts should have to complete the inning, just as the Tide's Jackie Traina had to do in the top half. Meanwhile, the Bama players are leading their fans in some cheers!

The decision is made to resume play without a long delay.

A two-out single by Amanda Locke with a runner on second brings in another Alabama run, cutting OU's lead to 3-2 (the hitter takes second on the unsuccessful throw home). A drive to the warning track by Courtney Conley ties the score.

OU messes up two potential chances to get out of the inning with the score tied, on a grounder to short. The first-baseperson bobbles the throw from the shortstop, then the throw from first to the catcher when Conley heads home gets away. The Tide leads 4-3.

The Sooners finally get out of the inning, on a cleanly fielded play when the Tide hitter tries to bunt for a base hit.

With OU batting in the top of the fifth, my TV picture is going in and out, presumably due to the OKC storms. I see that the Sooners have gotten a two-out walk. I'm now following the game on the Internet (link). OU doesn't score in the inning.

OK, my picture is back. Alabama has a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the fifth, seeking to extend its one-run lead.Bama pitcher Jackie Traina drives a hard single to right, upping the Tide's lead to 5-3. Ricketts allows no further damage.

OU shows a little offensive spark in the top of the sixth, with a one-out single. A weak pop-up to short, however, makes it two down for the Sooners.And a strike-out makes it three.

Alabama goes down quietly in the bottom of the sixth.

Oklahoma is down to its final three outs, needing two runs to tie...

Bang-bang play on an OU grounder to third -- narrowly out at first.

A dribbler up the first-base line. OU's runner is called out for running inside the baseline, after a collision with the Bama fielder.

A two-out homer by Lauren Chamberlain, her second of the game, cuts the Tide lead to 5-4.

Keilani Ricketts up with a chance to make up for her pitching difficulties. She strikes out looking, ending the game.

ALABAMA BECOMES THE FIRST SEC TEAM TO WIN THE WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES.

***

The decisive Game 3 of the Women's College World Series has been delayed by rain in Oklahoma City. As shown in the following screen capture I took from weather.com, the current rain over OKC appears relatively light. According to ESPN, the game will start at 9:45 pm Central.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

2012 WCWS Game 2

Oklahoma, looking to close out the Women's College World Series tonight, has scored a run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Click here for stats and a play-by-play sheet.

Alabama has runners on first and second with one out in the top of the second, however. The Crimson Tide has now put a four-spot on the board, thanks primarily to a bases-loaded double by pitcher Jackie Traina that brought all three runners home. OU pitcher Keilani Ricketts has looked, well, rickety, hitting two batters with pitches in the second inning alone, in addition to the other damage.

Bama increases its lead to 5-1 in the fourth. Ricketts is yanked from the pitching circle, perhaps an acknowledgement by OU coach Patty Gasso that a comeback win by her team tonight is unlikely and that Ricketts may as well be rested for tomorrow.

8-1 Tide.

Oklahoma scores 5 in the bottom of the seventh, but it's not enough. 8-6 Bama. Wednesday night for all the marbles.

Monday, June 04, 2012

2012 WCWS Game 1

Alabama is now batting in the bottom of the second inning against Oklahoma, in the opening game of the two-out-of-three championship round. The Sooners already have four hits in just two innings, but haven't scored. Neither has the Crimson Tide. Here's a link to real-time statistics and a play-by-play sheet.

Bama scores the game's first run in the bottom of the fourth inning, on a sacrifice fly.

Oklahoma bounces back in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead, then adds two more runs in the sixth to pad the lead to 4-1.

That's how it ends: 4-1 Sooners. OU will be aiming to close out the Women's College World Series tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

It turns out to be a short day today at the Women's College World Series, as each of the no-loss teams (Oklahoma and Alabama) win their first games against the one-loss teams (ASU and Cal, respectively), to preclude the need for any rematches.

It's now on to the two-out-of-three championship series, beginning Monday night, between Oklahoma and Alabama. As the ESPN announcers noted throughout the day, it will be the first final without a team from the Pac 10/12 since 1986.

Below are my live bloggings from the two Sunday games. See you tomorrow night!

***

Alabama pitcher Jackie Traina has just homered in the bottom of the second to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead over California.

In the top of the third, Traina got off the track a bit, allowing Cal to load the bases with two outs. However, a good play by the Bama first-baseperson in snaring a hard-hit (apparent) one-hopper prevented any score.

The Crimson Tide has upped its lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third, with a threat still going (second and third with one out).

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene! (a musical reference). Cal's Henderson strikes out two straight to end the threat.

Sister Danielle Henderson socks a two-run homer into the upper part of the left-field bleachers to tie the game at 2-all.

Bama retakes the lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the fourth. But for some great defensive plays by Cal, the margin would be even greater.

Kaila Hunt's solo shot in the bottom of the fifth gives the Tide a two-run cushion.

Another solo shot, by Jazlyn Lunceford in the bottom of the sixth, extends Alabama's lead to 5-2.

And that's how it ends: 5-2 for Bama, to eliminate Cal.

***

Defending national champion Arizona State is running out of time. Having lost once earlier in the Women's College World Series, the Sun Devils are currently down to their last at-bats, trailing Oklahoma 5-3. I will live-blog the top of the seventh:
  • ASU leads off with a hard single to left.
  • Keilani Ricketts overcomes a 3-1 count to the next batter, blowing two straight strikes by her (1 out).
  • Another strike-out. Sun Devils down to their final out.
  • Ricketts strikes out the side.
OU now advances to the championship round, beginning tomorrow night.

Alabama and Cal are up next.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Today and tomorrow, teams in the Women's College World Series will be fighting to avoid a second loss, which means elimination. The final two teams standing will qualify for the championship round, a two-out-of-three affair that begins Monday night (the slate is wiped clean for the title round, so it doesn't matter at all if a team has one or no losses in the qualifying round). I will continuously update the following chart of where teams stand. Links to game articles will also be included.

Current game: Cal's Jace Williams hits a three-run bomb in the top of the first, to put the Golden Bears up 3-0 over Oregon (play-by-play sheet). The Cal lead is now up to 5-0, with Oregon coming up in the bottom of the second. Cal hangs on for a 6-3 victory.

Last game: LSU vs. Arizona State (play-by-play sheet) , scoreless going to the third The Sun Devils go up 3-0 on a three-run homer by Alix Johnson in the top of the third. ASU has added three more runs, to lead 6-0 with LSU coming up in the bottom of the fifth. The game ends with a 6-0 final score.

No LossesOne LossTwo Losses (Gone)
Alabama

Oklahoma

...Cal
...Arizona St.
...LSULSU (lost to Arizona St.)
...So. FloridaSo. Florida (lost to LSU)
...OregonOregon (lost to Cal)
...TennesseeTennessee (lost to Oregon)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Oklahoma has taken a 1-0 lead over Cal in the top of the third. The Sooners had the bases loaded with none out, so the Golden Bears are lucky not to be further behind. OU ups its lead to 2-0, with Cal coming up in the bottom of the fourth. OU's Keilani Ricketts pitches a two-hitter, striking out 16, as the Sooners beat Cal 3-0.

Alabama has edged Arizona State, 2-1, in the nightcap.

Oklahoma and Alabama are now off until Sunday, while the other teams sort themselves out through the losers' bracket on Saturday.