Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry
kingpin248

"The colors are different, the road the same."

I tweeted those words a short time ago, on the occasion of Hofstra's softball team falling one win (and at one point, two bases) short of reaching the 2012 Women's College World Series. As best I can make out, it would have been the school's first appearance in any Division I championship round (which I define as the final eight in the baseball/softball format, and the national semifinals in single elimination tournaments). All three games finished 2-1; the first required eleven innings to settle, the second went nine, and the rubber match needed only the regulation seven. Moral victories or "A's" for effort won't make their way into the NCAA Championship Record Book, but the Pride deserve both. Hofstra's number two, pitcher Olivia Galati, was precisely the opposite of the slang definition of that number. She hurled approximately 25,093^ pitches over the twenty-seven innings, and made sure her team was never out of touching distance of the South Florida Bulls.

What I meant by the words in the title was that I've walked this path many times before with the Big Red. I listed them in a previous entry, but my brief search efforts don't turn that up. I count eight close NCAA tournament losses in the last ten years, off the top of my head, including two in overtime in championship games. When Cornell reached the Sweet Sixteen two years ago, it was incredibly heartening to hear the Big Red being analyzed next to the big boys - especially with the campus reeling from a spate of student suicides. But it might not be hyperbole to say that the stakes were bigger for Hofstra here. Had they reached Oklahoma City, the Pride would have been front and center on the two main channels of the Self-Proclaimed Worldwide Leader In Sports. That would have been some valuable publicity for a school that is still very much seeking to enhance its reputation and brand nationally.* The story would doubtlessly have been enhanced by the fact that we're talking about a team from a cold weather climate that draws all its players from the Northeast and plays in a non-BC$ league. Could they really have gone in and taken a hammer and chisel to the Pac-12 mafia dominance?

As it turns out, South Florida is almost as good a candidate - the Big East hasn't sent a team to the WCWS in five years. Who knows? Only four years ago, Fresno State ran off an incredible streak on the men's side to take the title. South Florida has two solid pitchers, and they did take out Florida in their regional. Regardless, congratulations to Pride softball for taking all Hofstra fans for a great ride - and with Galati back next year, there's hope that this heartbreak may be a stepping stone to better things to come.

^ 328, if you desire precision.

* Notwithstanding the opinion expressed in certain comments from the President of the University.
Tags: college sports, hofstra, sports
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