Yes softball fans yesterday was the day the world gets to celebrate this wonderful sport! World softball day was all over social media as travel college, and professional teams shared memories of the game we love. What are your favorite softball memories? I’ll get to some of mine later, but first let’s check in with Ohio USSSA Pride-Scarlet.
An exciting Friday as after a 7-1 blowout of Ohio Lightning, Sommer Bourne hit a walk off home run to beat Ohio Slamforce-Hudson. That was the first of 4 home runs this powerful offense would hit on Friday. Maris Barbato hit her 5th of the summer, and Sydney Mercer hit a pair, including a grand slam. The Pride went 1-1 on Saturday. And after winning their first 3 games today, they fell to Valley Extreme 5-4.
I was not able to attend this weekend’s games but thanks to our friends at GameChanger I was able to follow the games closely. It also gives me access to the numbers this Pride team is putting up so far and…wow! As a team in 22 games played the Pride have hit 28 home runs. Sydney Mercer leads that category with 8, Maris Barbato has 7. Mercer is hitting an eye popping .537 with 28 RBI. Barbato is hitting .508. This offense is so deep you can’t pitch around anyone. I think it’s really smart that they usually have Barbato as a lead off hitter. Coach Szolek doesn’t fall for misconception that your HR leaders need to be 4, and 5 in the lineup. Having Maris lead off a game immediately puts pressure on an opposing pitcher, and they can’t start with a lead off wall and pitch around her. She’s everything you want out of a leadoff hitter, and she adds significant power to that resume. Emily Holland had an amazing Sunday hitting 3 HR’s including a grand slam. She brought her average up to .333 and boosted her RBI total to 17.
Liana Morreale and Tori Long get the majority of the starts in the circle for the Pride, and they’re both solid. Liana is a commit to Old Dominion and has great movement on her pitches. Long does a great job countering her with a different approach. Morreale has 28 K’s on the summer, and Long has 22. With their offense has potent as it is, they really don’t have to be perfect in the circle. It takes a lot of pressure off those two and you can tell in the loose nature they bring to their pitching. We’ll continue to follow the Pride and other local travel teams as the summer goes on. Follow their team twitter @OhioScarlet.
Now back to celebration of World Softball day. I owe so much to the sport of softball. I did play special Olympics softball for 4 years with the Mahoning County Public Warriors. It was a great outlet for my competitive mindset to get out and compete at a sport. But really the thing that softball has brought to me the most is amazing friendships. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a large percentage of the friends I keep in my circle I have met from the game of softball. My love for the game started gradually as I was in high school. South Range’s softball team at the time was very successful. They won 28 ITCL games in a row during my junior and senior year, and made trips to the regional tournament both years getting to the final once. Not too far down the road at the same time in Poland, Erin Gabriel was making a national name for herself. My family knew Erin, her dad and my mom worked together so we always kept tabs on her career. When she announced that she was going to play for Tennessee, that’s when I really started to watch college softball. And man, does the game at that level get you hooked fast. Erin started at Tennessee in 2013, and she was on one of the best teams in the country. I fell in love with that team. I think since social media, especially twitter was fairly new softball fans including myself had so much opportunity for connections with the players on the highest stage. I could go on twitter and have conversations with some of Erin’s teammates who grew to be friends. Players like Lauren Gibson, Raven Chavanne, Ivy Renfroe, and Cheyenne Tarango made it so easy to get emotionally attached to the success of that team. Ivy got drafted by the Akron Racers, who I had no idea even existed before then. Once I went to Firestone Stadium to see her play, it was over. There was no going back to life without softball. And watching professional softball through the years has given me so many amazing friends. So to everyone involved in this beautiful sport happy belated world softball day.
Some of my softball memories to share with you.
I have some very cool special guests coming up soon on the Hot Corner. Softball fans won’t want to miss it. Keep following along as the Hot Corner merges the local softball scene and the elite level of the sport.