JUNE 15 UPDATE
Check this site again this evening. Am working 2 other stories.
BRUDER WINS HONDA AWARD
NEW YORK (AP) — Kelsey Bruder of Florida is the winner of the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top softball player.
Bruder, of Corona, Calif., hit a home run in the first inning against Alabama, helping Florida to a 9-2 victory and a spot in the Women’s College World Series finals this month. Florida lost to Arizona State 7-2 in the final on June 7.
Bruder led the Southeastern Conference this season in runs (32), hits (40), RBIs (36), slugging percentage (.883) and home runs (11). She now plays professionally for the Florida Pride in the National Pro Fastpitch league.
The other candidates were Ashley Hansen of Stanford, Jolene Henderson of Cal, and Chelsea Thomas of Missouri. The nominees were selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
As one of the Honda winners in 12 sports, Bruder is eligible for Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year honors. The Honda-Broderick Cup will be awarded June 27 in New York.
TEAM NEW JERSEY CLASSIC
|1.||CA||OC Batbusters Haning|
|2.||CA||Corona Angels Tyson|
|5.||CA||So Cal Athletics|
|8.||CA||So Cal Choppers|
|11.||AZ||Arizona Hot Shots|
|13.||GA||Georgia East Cobb Bullets|
|15.||TX||Texas Storm Durham|
|16.||TX||Texas Storm Newsom|
|18.||TX||Texas Glory Shelton|
|19.||WA||Washington Ladyhawks Gold (Miller)|
|23.||RI||Rhode Island Thunder|
|25.||VA||Virginia Vienna Stars|
|27.||PA||Pennsbury Gems Gold|
|28.||PA||PA Lower South Liberty|
|30.||PA||Newtown Rock Elite|
|31.||NY||Team Long Island|
|32.||NY||Team Long Island Angel|
|33.||NY/NJ||Top Recruits Elite|
|34.||NJ||Intensity Gold (O’Donnell)|
|36.||NJ||NJ Inferno Gold (Meister)|
|39.||NJ||Morris County Belles|
|41.||NJ||New Jersey Jaxx|
|42.||NJ||North Jersey Rocks|
|44.||NJ||Central Jersey Lightning|
add: 45 NJ New Jersey Gators
CINDY BRISTOW COMMENTS ON WCWS
10 Things I Noticed from the WCWS
By: Cindy Bristow
The 2011 edition of the WCWS brought us tons of great hitting, pitching, defense and crowds but see if you came up with the 10 things I noticed.
Thanks to ESPN, most of us were able to watch at least part of this year’s NCAA Women’s College World Series. I was fortunate enough to actually be in Oklahoma City during the WCWS and catch some games at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium and I can tell you there’s nothing like it! While ESPN does its best to bring you the atmosphere of the game, nothing replaces actually being in the stadium and feeling the energy, the excitement and the anticipation from the crowd.
Years ago I was fortunate to co-direct this event and it’s nowhere near what it’s like today. But that’s an article for another time. Right now, I want to share with you, in no particular order, the top 10 things I noticed when watching this year’s event:
- Corner Control – Pitchers either had great control around the corners of the strike zone or they didn’t. I saw too many pitchers throw too many pitches over too much of the plate. And against excellent hitters, those pitches got hit out of the ballpark. The better the hitters are the more important it is for pitchers to tease them with what look like strikes. At the top levels of competition, like we were watching in Oklahoma City, pitchers can’t get away with simply blowing pitches past the hitters. Speed alone isn’t enough to win so pitchers must place their pitches on the corners – just close enough to fool the hitter into swinging but not so close that the hitter actually gets a solid piece of the ball. To our logical brains this makes perfect sense, but in reality it’s difficult to master. Too often in practice, pitchers loosing up their strike zone simply wanting to “throw strikes” instead of working diligently on hitting the corners with all of their pitches. Remember that champions practice for those times when they get to play the best, instead of simply practicing what’s easy – like throwing meatballs. When we saw pitchers hit their spots and dance the ball on the corners we saw pitchers dominate outstanding hitters, but when we saw pitchers slip up and throw a fatty – we saw some amazing homeruns!
- Lack of Bunting – While we might all think that this year’s WCWS was nothing but a parade of homeruns, you might be surprised to learn there were 4 1 run ballgames (including 1 ASU vs Florida game early in the tournament), 5 shutouts, and 5 games where the score was within 3 runs! That’s a lot of games where either team could have won the game and where moving a runner 60 feet closer to home plate could have made a HUGE difference in the outcome! Bunting is always crucial in championship play because as the teams get better so does the pitching. And while your team might be able to hit average pitching really well, there will be times when you face an outstanding pitcher who dominates your bats. Your team’s ability to bunt successfully against that pitcher will determine whether you win or lose that game.
Because we’ve all gotten better at teaching hitting our bunting game has suffered. This year the bunting that occurred was poorly executed, and I’m still surprised we didn’t see Florida bunt more against ASU’s freshman pitcher Dallas Escobedo. Sure, you’re not going to bunt once you get down 14-4, but earlier in the game it might have helped rattle the freshman. While we saw an amazingly poised pitcher on the rubber for ASU, we also saw Dallas falter a little following a HR. Remember that the bunt and short game doesn’t always have to be used to move runners over or give up an out. Sometimes, it’s the most effective weapon you have to get to an otherwise unflappable pitcher by forcing her to use her fielding skills – which might not be as strong as her pitching. We know that Dallas Escobido has a dominating riseball and an excellent defense behind her, but when Florida couldn’t attack her pitches they never tried to attack her fielding.
- Amazing Crowds – Everybody was predicting record crowds with both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in this year’s WCWS, but the records kept coming long after both schools were gone. People from all over the US and from across town in OKC come out to the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium to watch tremendous softball during the World Series no matter who was playing it. It’s so exciting to know that college softball’s biggest stage has finally gotten big enough that we’re selling out all the sessions and I even hear talk about needing an upper deck?! That’s amazing!
- Young Guns – When was the last time you saw so many outstanding young pitchers? I don’t just mean good, I mean good enough to handle the pressure of performing on college softball’s biggest stage and triumph on it! Both starting pitchers in Game 1 of the championship series were freshmen and 5 of the 8 teams had sophomores or younger as their go-to pitchers (Canion – Baylor, Thomas – Missouri, Rogers – Florida, Kat Espinoza – OSU and Escobedo – ASU). It’s unbelievable that such young pitchers could handle the intense pressure of college softball’s biggest arena!
- Good Routines – Amidst the cheering crowds, TV cameras and pressure we saw evidence of outstanding players sticking to their routines. Pitcher’s would take deep breathes at the back of the pitching circle before stepping onto the rubber and hitters would stare at their bats in order to gather themselves before getting into the batter’s box. Routines are designed to help players keep their performance at a high level by helping them relax, remember to do certain things or make them feel comfortable. Having a routine is one thing, but doing it when you need it the most, like a pressure-packed at-bat during the Women’s College World Series is something entirely different. Great job to all the outstanding players that kept their routine, and their calm, while playing in front of a national tv audience!
- Great Outfield Play – Bomb after bomb was hit during the College World Series but not all of them sailed over the fence. Lots of long balls stayed in the park only to be chased down and snagged by some of the best outfield play in years. The one thing great hitting does is create opportunities for great defensive plays and that’s exactly what we were treated to this year! From drop-steps to diving catches to fence crashes outfielder after outfielder showed off their skills giving lots of little girls an exciting reason to play the outfield and a shining example of how great it can be played.
- Great Defense – Arizona State, this year’s NCAA Division I National Champion won the WCWS without committing a single defensive error! We’ll remember their great hitting, and their incredible freshman pitcher, but it’s their flawless defense that we need to try and imitate. Think for a minute just how good your team would be if they could play without any defensive errors. Imagine the games you’d win and the championships you’d garner if your team could successfully make every fielding play no matter how difficult. Dallas Escobedo’s life in the pitching circle was made a whole lot easier knowing she had a tremendous group of ASU defensive players behind her. She didn’t have to try and strike every hitter out but instead, could let opponents hit flyballs knowing her outfielders would run them down, and her infield would scoop up and throw out anyone hitting groundballs. Having a dependable defense behind you lets any pitcher relax, and a relaxed pitcher is better able to handle the pressure brought on by a national championship – just ask Dallas Escobedo.
- Crazy Coverage – ESPN did an amazing job bringing every pitch of every game into our living rooms and flat screens. Instead of the usual 5 cameras, ESPN used 11 cameras for the 2011 WCWS, along with 2 TV trucks, an 80+ person crew and for the first time ever, the K Zone. The College World Series was on every TV in every restaurant and hotel lobby in Oklahoma City and the WCWS logo was on hotel key cards all around town. Whether it was Pam Ward or Beth Mowins doing the play-by-play or Jessica Mendoza or Michele Smith helping us analyze the game, ESPN’s coverage was fantastic and has helped raise the level of softball all over the country. A BIG Thanks to Pam, Beth, Smitty and Jess along with everyone at ESPN who did such a great job bringing us every pitch of the 2011 College World Series!
- Parity – For the first time ever we didn’t have either UCLA or Arizona among the final 8 teams, but we did have newcomers Oklahoma State. Who would have thought we’d see a College World Series with more Big 12 Teams in it than either the Pac10 or the SEC? Parity creates excitement and every year we draw closer and closer to parity in college softball. While the Pac10 still has a stronghold on the national champions trophy the rest of the country draws closer and closer.
10. Guts – For anyone who doubts the toughness of female athletes or college softball players you don’t need to look any farther than to Florida’s senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher and Baylor’s freshman catcher Clare Hosack. Brombacher pitched Florida to the championship series with a torn bicep in her pitching arm, while Hosack, a weekend after fouling a ball into her face and breaking some of her orbital bones, was back behind the plate catching for Baylor. Toughness and Guts and Effort and Desire were on display nightly during the College World Series and every player on every team should be extremely proud of what they left on the field! We were all very fortunate to have seen you play this year – thanks to Arizona State, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Cal and Missouri for treating all of us to 6 amazing days of fantastic softball!
ADD TO UPDATE
KAITLYN SCHMEISER. Schmeiser pitched Northern HS (MD) to its fourth consecutive Maryland 3A title. Schmeiser, who has committed to Maryland, hurled the Patriots to all four titles, the first p0layer in Maryland or Virginia to accomplish that feat. Pitching for the first time at 43 feet, Schmeiser allowed zero earned runs in 111 innings, with 241 strikeouts and eight no hitters.
ALYSSA LOMBARDO. Alyssa, who will play outfield for Stanford next year, made SI’s Faces in the Crowd , for her track and field exploits. A senior at Saucon Valley High in Bethlehem PA, Alyssa won the 800 meter and set a 400 meter Class AAA district record (56.90). A week earlier, she won the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters at the Colonial League meet. Alyssa has been an all-state performer in track and softball.
JEN FINLEY. Officials in the athletic media office confirmed for Spy today that Finley has resigned as head coach at Boston College.
In her tenure at Boston College she led the Eagles to two Big East Tournament Championships, one regular season Big East Co-Championship, and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including the first-ever at-large bid in program history. In 16 years as a head coach, Finley amassed a career record of 457-373-1, averaging nearly 29 wins per season. Last year, the Eagles battled through a number of injuries throughout the season to finish 18-33 overall, with a 3-15 ACC