College softball positive experience

February 13, 2015

Plant City, FL

College softball positive experience
By Bill Plummer

If you've ever played college softball, you can appreciate what a great 
experience it can be and often is for thousands of players. Once the 
career is over players can reflect on the memories of the past four 
years and more often not of the many life-long friendships they've made 
during their careers. Even after your career is over and you've put the 
spikes up for good, you can  still remain a fan of a game that is only 
going to get bigger and better in the years ahead, and could possibly be 
back in the Olympics by 2020.
Through the years, college softball has had moments to remember, and of 
course some of this memorable moments have come in the Women's College 
World Series, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Oklahoma City 
next June. Except for one year, the WCWS has been held continually every 
year in Oklahoma City since 1990.
Maybe you were there or, better yet, maybe you experienced a special 
moment or were a teammate of a player who contributed  the memorable moment.
Debbie Doom was one of those who contributed a special moment. In the 
first NCAA-sponsored  WCWS in 1982,  Doom hurled the UCLA Bruins to 
their first NCAA title, beating Fresno State 2-0 in eight innings in the 
championship game.  She hurled 42.1 of the 45 innings the Bruins played, 
winning all five games and allowing only one earned run for an ERA of 
0.17 with 63 strikeouts. She finished the year 11-2 as UCLA allowed only 
18 runs all season and finished 33-7-2.
The Bruins made no errors in the event, making 135 putouts and assisting 
on nine others for a fielding percentage of 1.000.  UCLA would duplicate 
that perfect fielding six years later winning their fourth WCWS with 126 
putouts and 26 assists.
Doom would go on to compile a 13-4 record in the WCWS in leading the 
Bruins to three NCAA titles, striking out 176 batters in 134 innings 
with an ERA of 0.57. Doom was one of the players named to the NCAA 25th 
anniversary  All-Star team in 2006. Joining Doom on that 25th 
anniversary team was former Texas A&M All-American pitcher Shawn Andaya, 
who had her special moments during a career in which she won 114 games 
and lost only 28 (.803 winning percentage).
After losing in the 1986 NCAA championship to champion Cal State 
Fullerton, Andaya bounced back in 1987 to have her special moment by  
pitching and batting the Aggies to the national title. The five-foot-six 
Andaya  beat UCLA 4-1 in the championship game on a two-hitter while her 
teammates collected 10 hits off two Bruin pitchers. Andaya, who earlier 
had beaten UCLA on a perfect game, drove in two of the A&M runs, with a 
RBI single in the first and a ground out in the fifth.
Another player who gave fans a special moment was UCLA's  Keira Goerl, 
who won the 2003 national title for UCLA by hurling a 1-0 no-hitter, the 
first time a no-hitter had been hurled in the championship game. Goerl 
beat California in the nine inning no-hitter with the Bruins scoring  
the game's only run in the  top of the ninth inning against losing 
hurler Kelley Anderson (23-12).
 Goerl indeed had a game and tournament to remember as she hurled all 
of UCLA's 47 innings,  striking out 44 while allowing only four earned 
runs. What was surprising was the Bruins had the worst fielding 
percentage in the tournament (.948), making 11 errors, but they made 
their hits count despite a team batting average of .217. The Bruins 
smashed five homers and scored 16 runs to lead the tournament with no 
other team hitting .200 or higher  Goerl of course was name the event's 
most outstanding player.
In 2011, Arizona State won the national title with an impressive display 
of hitting, pitching and defense. The Sun Devils went undefeated in 
winning the title and batted a tournament best .338 including hitting 
nine homers. Florida, however, had the  most homers (14). But the Sun 
Devils made history and joined an exclusive club by not making any 
errors in the five games for a fielding percentage of 1.000 with  105 
putouts and 15 assists.  ASU was only the third team in WCWS history to 
complete the event with a fielding percentage of 1.000 joining the 1982 
and 1988 UCLA teams.
These are just a few of the special moments that have been experienced 
at the WCWS in Oklahoma City before more than one million people since 
1982. These are moments the players and fans will remember for years to 
come or when they are together for a reunion discussing their college 
softball experience and their participation at the WCWS. Not all teams 
get to experience the WCWS, (only eight advance), but the ones that do 
won't forget it and can tell their grandchildren of their special 
moments in OKC.
In the final analysis,  the WCWS has had it share of special moments to 
remember, not only by the players who made them but by the thousands of 
fans who journey to Oklahoma  City  each year hoping to see a special 
moment. They have been rewarded of course and have a treasure chest full 
of special moments to remember with more expected in 2015 and the years 
to come. That's the View From Here.

"In the final analyssis, the WCWS has had it share of special moments"

Bill Plummer