(Chet White/UK Athletics)
I know many of you reading this probably aren’t interested in baseball, much less the women’s adaptation of the game. There’s a stigma that often surrounds the ladies variety of any sport, and that’s especially true when it comes to “second-tier” sports or below. But in the words of John Lennon, I encourage you to “give softball a chance.”
The ladies lost a heartbreaker last night to Michigan in the bottom of the 7th in the first round of the NCAA regionals. The Cats came back and took the lead in the top half after trailing the entire game, and the momentum was clearly on the Cats side heading to the final frame. Chanda Bell pitched an incredible game against some Michigan hitters who can flat-out knock the cover off the ball. The wheels fell off the in bottom of the 7th, though, and the Wolverines advanced to play Louisville in the winners bracket of the region.
Softball is an interesting game, and plays so much differently than baseball. Believe it or not, their game plays faster with shorter fences and bases. And the pitches are almost whiffleball-like with nasty breaking balls and off-speed pitches where the bottom compactly falls out. Softball is modeled after baseball, and many of the principles are the same, but the game plays so much differently.
If you haven’t watched a high-level division I college softball game before, now is your chance. It’s win or go home for Kentucky, and their backs are against the wall. They must beat Valparaiso today at 5 o’clock on ESPN, come back to beat the loser of the Michigan-Louisville game at 8 o’clock, then beat the winner of that game twice on Sunday to advance to the Super Regional.