1-27-2015 ESPN DI Schedule

NCAA Division I Softball: ESPN Networks to Carry 400 Games More than 100 Games Televised; Additional 300 Games Available on ESPN3 and SEC Network +


ESPN will offer its most robust NCAA Division I Softball slate to date with more than 100 games televised across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network (schedule) and Longhorn Network (schedule) and at least 300 games carried on ESPN3 and SEC Network +, totaling more than 400 games available this spring. ESPN will also have extensive coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, including every game televised from the Super Regionals and Women’s College World Series.


ESPNU’s schedule begins with a top five matchup when the defending National Champions and preseason No. 1 Florida Gators take on No. 4 Alabama (Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22). More ESPNU television highlights, including games on ESPN and ESPN2:


  •          An additional 16 games featuring ranked teams going head-to-head, including four more top 10 matchups:

o    No. 4 Alabama at  No. 7 Kentucky

o    No. 2 Oregon at  No. 6 UCLA

o    No. 1 Florida at  No. 10 Georgia (twice)


  •          No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Alabama, and No. 5 Florida State will make a combined 19 appearances, including the following matchups:

o    No. 2 Oregon at No. 6 UCLA

o    No. 2 Oregon at No. 12 Arizona

o    No. 11 Baylor at No. 3 Oklahoma

o    No. 4 Alabama at No. 19 Auburn


  •          Four conference tournament championship games:

o    ACC, American, SEC, and SWAC


All rankings are per ESPN.com/USA Softball (January 27)


2015 NCAA Division I Softball Television Schedule (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU)

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sun, March 15 5:30 p.m. No. 19 Auburn at Ole Miss ESPNU
Fri, March 20 7 p.m. No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 LSU ESPNU
Sat, March 21 2 p.m. No. 1 Florida at  No. 4 Alabama ESPNU
Sun, March 22 5:30 p.m. No. 1 Florida at No. 4 Alabama ESPNU
Sat, April 4 12 p.m. No. 4 Alabama at No. 7 Kentucky ESPNU
Sun, April 5 3 p.m. No. 2 Oregon at No. 6 UCLA ESPN2
Sat, April 11 12 p.m. Radford at Coastal Carolina ESPNU
  2 p.m. No. 19 Auburn at No. 24 Texas A&M ESPNU
  5 p.m. No. 18 LSU at No. 14 Tennessee ESPN
Sun, April 12 7 p.m. No. 5 Florida State at Louisville ESPNU
Mon, April 13 7 p.m. No. 5 Florida State at Louisville ESPNU
Thu, April 16 9 p.m. No. 11 Baylor at No. 3 Oklahoma ESPN2
Fri, April 17 8:30 p.m. No. 4 Alabama at No. 19 Auburn ESPNU
Sat, April 18 4 p.m. No. 1 Florida at No. 10 Georgia ESPN2
6 p.m. No. 4 Alabama at No. 19 Auburn ESPNU
Sun, April 19 1 p.m. No. 1 Florida at No. 10 Georgia ESPNU
3 p.m. No. 2 Oregon at Stanford ESPN
Wed, April 22 4 p.m. Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State ESPNU
6:30 p.m. Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State ESPNU
Thu, April 23 8 p.m. No. 14 Tennessee at No. 4 Alabama ESPN
Sat, April 25 2 p.m. Houston at Tulsa ESPNU
Sun, April 26 3:30 p.m. North Carolina State at Virginia Tech ESPNU
Mon, April 27 7 p.m. North Carolina at Notre Dame ESPNU
Fri, May 1 3 p.m. Norfolk State at Hampton ESPNU
Sat, May 2 3 p.m. Long Beach State at  Cal Poly ESPNU
  5 p.m. No. 12 Arizona at No. 6 UCLA ESPNU
  7 p.m. No. 7 Kentucky at No. 14 Tennessee ESPNU
  9 p.m. No. 4 Alabama at Arkansas ESPNU
Sun, May 3 1 p.m. No. 7 Kentucky at No. 14 Tennessee ESPN2
3 p.m. No. 19 Auburn at No. 18 LSU ESPN
Wed, May 6 8 p.m. No. 25 Texas at No. 11 Baylor ESPN2
Fri, May 8 3 p.m. SEC Tournament: Semifinal No. 1 ESPNU
  5:30 p.m. SEC Tournament: Semifinal No. 2 ESPNU
Sat, May 9 1 p.m. ACC Tournament: Championship ESPN
  1 p.m. American Athletic Conference Tournament: Championship ESPN2
3 p.m. Oklahoma State at No. 3 Oklahoma ESPN2
  8 p.m. SEC Tournament: Championship ESPN2
11:30 p.m. No. 2 Oregon at No. 12 Arizona ESPNU
Sun, May 10 11 a.m. SWAC Tournament: Championship* ESPNU






























1-27-2015 Jolene Henderson Leads the Charge

The new Dallas Charge pro softball team announced Tuesday morning that right-handed pitcher Jolene Henderson is the first player signed in team history. The Charge starts its inaugural season in the National Pro Fastpitch league with a home game June 3 against the Pennsylvania Rebellion.

“To be the first player in Dallas Charge history is definitely an honor. Playing in the NPF is an experience that I am thrilled to be a part of, and I look forward to playing with — and competing against — many of the best players in the world, which is exactly what the NPF is all about.” Henderson said in a press release.

Henderson played at the University of California and was the school’s all-time winningest pitcher with a record of 130-35 and also a three-time NFCA All-American. She was a member of the U.S. national team last year and helped the United States win the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX, leading the pitching staff with a 0.51 ERA. She also played in a Japanese professional league.

”We are excited that Jolene has agreed to be part of the Dallas Charge. As the name of the game indicates, the contest starts in the circle, and to anchor our team with a person of Jolene’s caliber on and off the field gives the Charge a chance to be competitive in our inaugural season,” Charge general manager Kevin Shelton said in the press release.


1-27-2015 USA Softball DI Pre-season poll

ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

2015 Season – Preseason – January 27, 2015

Click here to view poll in a Word Document

Rank Team 2014 Record Points Final 2014 Ranking
1. Florida (15) 55-12 492 1
2. Oregon (4) 56-9-1 475 3
3. Oklahoma 51-13 429 4
4. Alabama 53-13 423 2
5. Florida State 55-9 417 7
6. UCLA (1) 52-8 391 9
7. Kentucky 50-19 374 6
8. Michigan 47-15 367 10
9. Louisiana-Lafayette 49-10-1 318 8
10. Georgia 49-15 290 12
11. Baylor 49-16 280 5
12. Arizona 44-16 266 T14
13. Washington 37-15 251 13
14. Tennessee 46-12 239 11
15. Minnesota 44-12 210 T14
16. Arizona State 46-12-1 197 16
17. Missouri 43-18 185 18
18. LSU 38-24 177 22
19. Auburn 42-19-1 162 21
20. Nebraska 44-18 122 17
21. Notre Dame 41-13 98 20
22. Tulsa 53-9 61 19
23. South Alabama 42-14 59 23
24. Texas A&M 37-22 32 RV
25. Texas 35-23 31 RV

Parenthesis denotes first place votes.

New to Poll: None

Dropped Out: None

Others receiving votes: Wisconsin (26), DePaul (24), USC Upstate (20), NC State (18), James Madison (15), Central Florida (13), North Carolina (7), Louisville (6), California (5), Stanford (4), South Carolina (4), Cal State Fullerton (3), Western Kentucky (3), Northwestern (2), Mississippi State (2), South Florida (1), Virginia Tech (1)

1-26-2015 Auschwitz and Muslim Terrorists

AUSCHWITZ AND MUSLIM TERRORISTS January 26 2015 A Spy editorial


Tuesday, January 27, the leaders of Germany, France, Belgium. The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark will gather at Auschwitz for the anniversary of the death camp’s liberation in 1945. More than 1.1 million died at Auschwitz and Birkenau, and more than 300 survivors of the Holocaust will remember and mourn the dead. The second largest group of survivors in the world reside in the United States, which will be represented by Treasury Secretary Lew, an Orthodox Jew.

When I visited in 1993, I was struck by a the symbolism of a group of young Israelis gathered in front of the infamous wall at Auschwitz, waving their Israeli flags. I reflected to friends that Jews were still dying in the Middle East because of their religion and the very existence of the Jewish state.

Israel’s existence is a fact, established in law and international agreement. But even as survivors gather to reflect on the Nazi Holocaust, Jews are still dying, not just because they occupy what was once the Palestinian-Jewish mandate, but for the same reason they died in all the years after Hitler came to power and launched history’s most cataclysmic genocide. The horrors of the Inquisition and Russian pogroms pale in comparison.

The Allied powers declared war on Germany and demanded unconditional surrender.

The United States cannot declare war against Islam, which is not a state but a religion, practiced in 64 countries. But, ISIS has declared itself to be a state, and Great Britain and France have declared war on this would-be caliphate. Why not the United States? Is it fair or even correct to say that our posture might be different but for Obama who seems to have trouble balancing the pull of his birth as a black Muslim pacifist against the compelling demands on the man who should be the world’s leader.

Last night I watched Schindler’s List. If you watch the captured Nazi films, which I watched at Auschwitz and again Berlin, the shocking cruelty happened – and it is mind-numbing. Many psychologists have examined the question of why so many flocked to the Nazi swastika were seemingly quite willing to dehumanize the Jewish population of Europe. Today, modern sociologists are wondering why so many Muslim youth, including Americans, are willing to lose their lives in blind adherence to a radical cause. They do not worship Mohammad; they defile his name and their religion.

The sponsoring groups are different only in name – the methods of Nazi goons and Islamic terrorists bear stark similarities, graphically punctuated by beheadings and bombings. Some defenders say the lack of jobs, educational opportunities etc drive Muslim youth to the black flag. Perhaps for some, but not for many; the tie which inarguably binds is their desire to kill Jews.

That reality was reinforced Sunday morning. The White House chief of staff, while absurdly claiming that our counter-terrorism strategy was not affected by the coup in Yemen, a key to the Obama strategy, overlooked the rallying cry of the Houthi: death to Israel, death to Americans. More, the press has been given assurances by Valerie Jarrett, who sits at the President’s shoulder for no apparent reason and had who has been dismissed as irrelevant, that Obama’s strategy is defeating Isis. Too much of the world is in turmoil.

Has Obama become a modern day equivalent of the British general Haig in World War I who was willing to accept 50,000 deaths at the Somme. Recall the Dylan lyric from Peter, Paul and Mary: how many deaths until he knows that too many people have died.

Is it fair to ask how many deaths will Obama tolerate? Syria and Iran crossed red lines and their leaders are still in power.

Israel and America, indeed the Western world, will not be safe until Isis, al-Queda and the Taliban have been liquidated as threats.

Germany only became whole again freed from the scourge of Nazism.

The process of protecting us from Islamic terrorism begins with Obama, when he however reluctantly publicly identifies the reality of the threat.

Occupying the world’s most powerful bully pulpit, Obama should call on all the heads of mosques etc worldwide which embrace Islam to denounce the radicals who bring shame to their religion, a fatwah against those who blaspheme in the name of Mohammed. Their problem is not so much cartoonists in Paris, who deliberately and foolishly compromise the very essence of freedom of speech, but those Islamics who are fanatically intolerant in their faith.

Next, the Western powers should drop enough troops, tanks and planes into the killing fields of the Middle East to subdue and if necessary kill the terrorists, who are quite willing to kill Jews for their religious beliefs. I am a Catholic; the Pope should offer a prayer for the terrorists – after they are dead. Several cartoons were unkind to the Pope, just as a cartoon in Time was insulting to the Virgin Mary. But, Catholics did not rampage.  I know many Muslims in the USA who wish us no harm.  But the images which persist on Muslim TV are of Muslims dancing in the streets after the killing of Jews and others.

Extreme? So is losing your head. So is throwing bombs onto school buses full of children.

Obama needs to respond to the challenge – or get out of the way.


1-26-2015 Auschwitz reprint

Spy first published this story after visiting Auschwitz in March 1993.  It is just as timely today, with the anniversary of the Russian liberation on January 27, 1945. A new story follows.



Infamous train gate to crematoria at Birkenau


Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945, effectively proving while ending the Holocaust. I’ve been to other concentration camps, and visited many of the most solemn places on the planet, like the Punchbowl, the cemetery at Normandy, Ground Zero, the Church of the Crucifixion in Jersualem, and Israeli’s Yad Vashem. Auschwitz grips the mind like no other – this was the penultimate killing field. Below is the story I wrote for State Department’s magazine after a 1993 trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. As we confront terrorism around the world, we need to rethink the lessons of Auschwitz – created by the terrorists who swore their fealty to Adolph Hitler. RFH





In 1943, when the Nazis crushed the rebellion in the Warsaw ghetto, the great mass of European Jewry that was sent to the killing camps like Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, and Sobibor included a teenager named Emanuel Fuchs. Given his good size and strength, he was made a “kapo” and put to work shuffling bodies from the gas chambers to the crematorium. But, the rate of killing had increased so rapidly that often the bodies were buried in mass graves, and Manny became a grave digger. One day, he buried his mother and father, and was imbued with a dread resolve to see justice done. He later assisted the 0SS in tracing and identifying former SS and other camp officials. In later years, Manny Fuchs became a well—known photojournalist with whom I worked during the Kennedy and Johnson campaigns. In the dark night of November 22, 1963, when we were flying back to Washington, numbed by the events of Dallas, and speculating on what kinds of stories we should write that would convey to readers our concern about man’s inhumanity to man, Manny told us of his internment during the Holocaust. Even the best planned assassination, his thesis went, cannot compare to the systematic qenocide practiced against the Jews and others whom the Third Reich considered undesirable. To understand man’s inner depths, he concluded, one must go to a place called Auschwitz.


He’s dead now, but I promised Manny that, should I ever visit Poland, I would travel to Auschwitz, and stand where he stood on that ramp where the sweep of an arm decided who would live and who would die.


I would walk the Walk of Death from the tracks at Birkenau, the major killing camp associated with Auschwitz, where the trains rolled through the arched tunnel (the Death Gate) of the command post, to the point where selections began, those women and children who would die herded toward the south end and the “showers,” where they were gassed, and then on to the crematoriums, which the Nazis attempted to destroy at war’s end in a clumsy effort to deny their savagery, and from the crematorium to the pits where they dumped the ash of more than three million people. One sees the rooms full of shoes, of eye glasses, the incredible piles of human hair, the stacks of luggage belonging to those who were told Auschwitz would be a new beginning —— including the luggage of a frail Dutch girl named Ann Frank. There are the photographs, so familiar to all of my generation and older, but somehow they no longer shock the senses.


Indeed, Auschwitz and Birkenau are so quiet, in the early morning hours of a Sunday, partly covered by the snow earlier in the week, so quiet that one cannot hear the inner voices that had been anticipated, so abandoned that one does not conjure up the visions of the millions who walked these streets between the bungalows, who lay cramped, six to a box-like shelf while they still lived, who eventually walked down that street to their death. Perhaps the sights are so familiar they no longer send the mind reeling. But, then, one retraces his steps to Bungalow Seven at Auschwitz where prisoners were tortured in solitary confinement, or hung from hooks until their bodies separated, or put against the Black Wall between Bungalows 10-11, and shot.   Bungalow 10 is where Dr. Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death, performed his macabre “scientific” studies.


And, it is there that the mind grasps the unthinkable. They simply could not shoot that many people. So, one walks a hundred yards to the right, and enters a bunker – whose door is in clear vision of the commandant’s house and his family- and enters the first gas chamber. Next door is the first crematorium, which could burn 1,500 bodies a day, far better than shooting 50 an hour, each of whom had to be buried. But, after Wannsee, even twin incinerators burning 3,000 bodies could not keep pace with the killing frenzy, and new ovens were built at Birkenau, where many of the Jews were being killed upon arrival, which could burn three to five thousand bodies a day. The madness escalated and ever-more efficient ovens were built, until Birkenau could burn 25,000 bodies a day. And, yet it wasn’t enough.


But, it is there, at the third and last set of crematoria, that the mind closes hard on the soul-piercing recognition of the diligent, systematic application of technology to eliminate the Jews of Europe. The thought then strikes, and one understands why it was so difficult upon first entering the camps to grasp the reality of the Holocaust, because the mind cannot envision murder on this scale. Yet, once consumed by that knowledge, one is almost overwhelmed trying to imagine the sheer terror that filled those hearts and minds so suddenly confronted with the stark realization that death was upon them, and you are subdued by the parallel realization that those images, once conceived, will endure.


The nightmare occasioned by that recognition is intensified by still another reality of Auschwitz and especially Birkenau . A hundred yards from the central crematorium, just beyond the double fence and guard towers, are the placid   neighborhoods of Oswiecim. The guide is your age, but was “away during the war, and knew nothing about the killings” although his family lived next to the wire. Your driver is even older, and also from Oswiecim, but was also “away during the war. ” One has seen the aerial photos taken during the war, when the camps were bursting with the living and the dying, and wonders whether the Allied leaders really knew. But, these people knew. Maybe not this driver or this guide, but people knew.


I took two friends to Auschwitz.


The three of us stood there, a Catholic, an Anglican, and a Jew whose family lived in Eastern Poland and died in the camps, watching a group of young Israelis who had just arrived, bearing their blue and white flags emblazoned with the Star of David, and as we were leaving, paused to hear them recite their Kaddish. My Jewish friend wept silent tears, as we all realized that where these young people live, Jews still die because they are Jews, just as Muslims die in Bosnia because they are Muslims, and Sikhs die in India because they are Sikhs.


When ethnic cleansing becomes a national policy in any region, whether the victim is a Jew or Azerbajani, or Muslim, we have not yet learned the lessons of Auschwitz. When the talk turned to moral responsibility I told my friends about George Heisler, who escaped from a Nazi camp in Mainz. Heisler, a political victim, said, “When they came for the Gypsies, I was not a Gypsy, and I did not protest. When they came for the Communists, I was not a Communist, and I did not protest. When they came for the Jews, I was not a Jew and I did not protest. But, when they came for me, there was no one left to protest.”


The question burns at the conscience: if we know, and surely we do, about all the atrocities man continues to commit, and we do nothing, are we really any different than the residents of Oswiecim? Perhaps they were powerless against the SS, Gestapo and Wehrmacht but are we? If we do nothing, or   too little, and refuse to step away from the jungle, which is seemingly never far removed from the core of civilization, no matter how technologically advanced, we condemn ourselves to membership in that long roll of “those who knew.”


Forty-eight years have passed since the last trainload of human beings passed beneath that arch, forty-eight years since men and women deprived of the last semblance of dignity marched under that cruel ironwork proclaiming Arbeit Macht Frei, forty-eight years and still part of our moral obligation to our neighbors is imprisoned at Auschwitz.


We must not forget, because a part of all that is good about mankind died at Auschwitz. We must react, and not just with sadness for the past but out of concern for the future. The killing has not stopped; only the venue has changed. If people want to understand the imperatives for stopping the atrocities of the modern world, let them come to a place called Auschwitz.


Rayburn Hesse

March 9, 1993