I had the pleasure Tuesday morning of chatting with radio host Derek Martin of Iowa radio station KMA about the upcoming NCAA women's softball tournament. A recording of my segment, running about 10 minutes, is available at this link.
The big topic in the interview, as indeed it is among college-softball observers nationwide, was the NCAA's exclusion of Minnesota among the 16 nationally seeded teams, forcing the Gophers to face a daunting road to the Women's College World Series. As I alluded to in the interview, not long after the NCAA's snub, the Gophers were announced as the No. 1 team in the nation in the weekly NFCA/USA Today poll. Criticism of the NCAA's seedings continues to roll in.
Toward the end of the interview, Derek pointed out that Minnesota frosh catcher Kendyl Lindaman is from Ankeny, Iowa and he told some interesting stories about her power-hitting prowess in high school. Now, at the NCAA level, Lindaman has a slugging percentage of .942, third-highest in the nation.
Other players we discussed were Florida pitchers Kelly Barnhill and Delanie Gourley, both of whom have Earned Run Averages below 1.00; Arizona's Katiyana Mauga, who has 89 career homers and needs six more to tie the NCAA record of 95 by former Oklahoma Sooner Lauren Chamberlain; and Lindaman's battery-mate at Minnesota, Sara Groenewegen, who sports a 0.59 ERA.
It turns out that -- going from memory -- I misspoke slightly about two of the regional lineups during the interview. I said that a Florida regional contained teams exclusively from the Sunshine State, but that regional actually contains only three Florida teams (UF, Florida A&M, and Florida International, plus Oklahoma State). It is actually a regional in Texas that is entirely intrastate (UT-Austin, Texas A&M, Texas State, and Texas Southern). Also, in describing the Oregon regional, which brings in three teams from the Midwest, I listed DePaul as one of the teams, when it is really Illinois-Chicago. The brackets are available here.