Oregon Slides Into No. 1 Spot

Oregon Slides Into No. 1 Spot

“Oregon Slides Into No. 1 Spot in USA Today/NFCA NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll”

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In a wild and competitive week that witnessed only four top-25 programs go undefeated, Oregon becomes the third squad to claim the No. 1 ranking this season in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the Association.

The Ducks (29-4) are coming off a 5-1 week and received 18 out of a possible 32 first-place votes and 781 total points. Oregon closed out with a Pac-12 series win over then-No. 19 Washington taking the bookend games over the weekend. Behind Cheridan Hawkins’ perfect game, they triumphed in game one, 8-0 and after a 10-2 defeat in game two, the Ducks clinched the series with a 15-6 win. Oregon returns to No. 1, a spot it held for the final six weeks of the 2014 regular season.

Following a 2-2 week, LSU fell out of the top spot and comes in at No. 2 after receiving 12 first-place votes and 767 points. The Tigers (32-3) opened with an 8-0 victory over then No. 24 South Alabama, but suffered a pair of defeats in a SEC road series at then-No. 16 Kentucky (1-3 / 2-5) before salvaging the final game in Lexington (2-0).

Florida (32-4), Michigan (31-5), Alabama (25-7) and Oklahoma (28-5) held steady at three through six. The Gators and Crimson Tide wrapped up their series on Monday, splitting their twinbill in Tuscaloosa with UF taking game two (4-1) and Alabama avoiding the series sweep with a 5-1, game-three triumph. The Gators, who received a first-place vote, stayed on the road, taking two-of-three at RV Mississippi State (3-2 / 16-2 / 3-5).

The Wolverines put together a 3-1 week with a victory over in-state foe Western Michigan (8-2) and taking a Big 10 series from Iowa (6-0 / 7-4 / 4-6). After their series versus the Gators, the Tide trumped Georgia Tech (11-0) and won its league series against No. 23 Texas A&M (13-0 / 8-5 / 5-11).

Undefeated last week, the Sooners received one first-place vote and inched closer to the top five after scoring 43 runs in a three-game Big 12 road sweep of Texas Tech (9-1 / 13-5 / 21-6).

Joining Oklahoma as the other top-25 teams to go undefeated last week were No. 11 Tennessee (25-7), No. 16 UCF (34-5) and No. 24 James Madison (27-6). No. 25 Texas, which was receiving votes a week ago, moved back into the top-25 following a 5-0 week.

No. 7 Auburn (35-4) moved up a spot after going 3-2 on the road against then-No. 11 Florida State (7-10 / 10-4) and then-No. 20 Missouri (14-6 / 4-5 in 8 inn. / 10-8). The Seminoles (30-8) made their way back into the top 10 at No. 8. After FSU split with the Tigers, it shut out Pitt (8-0 / 7-0 / 3-0) in a home ACC series.

Rounding out the top-10 is Georgia (30-6), falling two spots to No. 9, and UCLA (30-6), which remained 10th for the second straight week.

As stated earlier, No. 25 Texas (23-9) enjoyed a 5-0 week with walk-off wins over UTSA (2-1 / 3-2) and three Big 12 victories at then-No. 22 Kansas (6-0 / 11-5 / 7-5) to slide into the top-25 for the first time since the second regular season poll. The Jayhawks fell out of the top Top-25 for the first time since entering on March 3.

The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Current 2015 records are shown and first-place votes are in parentheses.

Softball Faceguards

Gasso earns 1,000 win as OU wins easily

Gasso earns 1,000 win as OU wins easily

“Gasso earns 1,000 win as OU wins easily” Written By Bill Plummer

NORMAN, Okla.– The picture wasn’t worth a 1,000 words, but wins, well, that’s a different story. Sunday afternoon (March 15th) the OU women’s softball team took a picture with head coach Patty Gasso. The picture was appropriate because the team had just given Gasso her 1,000 victory in her j20 plus year career at OU. Below the picture were the words, fight, faith and finish. Words that the OU softball team lives by.

The Sooners hit a program-record eight homers as it routed East Carolina (8-19) 23-1 in five innings at Marita Hynes Field to improve to 21-3.

Needing just 1,300 games, Gasso became the second-fastest coach in NCAA Division 1 history to reach 1,000 wins. Only Arizona’s Mike Candrea did it quicker, doing so in 1,191 games. Gasso is the 28th coach in NCAA softball history to reach that figure and the 17th to do it at the D-1 level. She is also one of 10 coaches to get 1,000 wins at one Division 1 school. Gasso overall has 1,162 wins and 358 losses in 25 years.

The eight home runs tied for the fourth most in a game in NCAA Division I history, and it was the 10th time a program reached that total. Five of the eight home runs came in the third inning alone, tying a DI mark done eight times previously.

Among the highlights in the game were two home runs each for senior Shelby Pendley and junior Kady Self. In addition, senior Lauren Chamberlain tallied the 86th home run of her career, breaking a tie for third place with two other hitters. She is now just four homers away from tying the all-time mark of 90.

The third inning alone produced a record-tying 17 runs for the Sooners. That ties a record set last year against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 28 and goes down as a tie for the second-most in an inning in NCAA history.

Surprisingly, the Sooners actually trailed in the game. Ali Ramirez’s one-out, solo home run put the Pirates on the board 1-0 and marked the first time since a 6-5 loss to No. 8/7 Georgia on Feb. 20 that OU trailed, a span of 56 innings. The lead would not last long, though.

Two batters into the bottom of the second, junior Kady Self drove the first pitch she saw over the fences in center field just to the right of the batter’s eye. Her second home run of the year tied the game at 1-1.

The flood gates then opened with a five-homer, 17-run third inning.

Junior Erin Miller, freshman Paige Parker and senior Jessica Vest all hit run-scoring single to give the Sooners a 4-1 lead. A bases loaded hit by pitch recorded by Chamberlain made it 5-1. With the bases full, Pendley drilled the fourth grand slam of her career to the bleachers in left center, putting OU on top 9-1.

Two batters later, sophomore Macey Hatfield got in on the act with two-run shot to center field for her third homer of the year. Up 11-1, junior Leslie Miller pinch hit and brought home the 12th run of the game with a double. Fellow pinch hitting junior Paris Townsend followed with her first homer of the year, a towering three-run shot, to push the advantage to 15-1. The Sooners ended up going back-to-back as junior transfer Tori Nirschl hit her first home run as a Sooner with a solo blast to left center.

A walk to Chamberlain kept the inning going and Pendley capped the inning with her second homer of the frame. That brought her career total to 69, tying her for 14th place on the all-time home run list.

Leading 18-1 in the fourth, Oklahoma tacked on five more runs to tie a season high and tie for the third-most runs in a game in program history.

Self led off the inning with a solo home run to right on the first pitch of the frame. It was her career-high fourth hit of the game as she finished 4-4 with three runs scored and two solo home runs. Up next was freshman Destinie Lookout, who recorded her first career hit with a triple to the corner in right field. She came home when senior Jessica Vest doubled to right center. After an RBI double by Nirschl, Chamberlain connected on her two-run homer to close out the scoring for OU.

After the eight homers against East Carolina, OU continued its home run binge with four more in the second game Sunday in an 8-2 win over Iowa.
The Sooners hit four more home runs, including two by freshman Paige Parker, as No. 6 Oklahoma (22-3) extended its winning streak to 12 games with the win over Iowa (8-18) Sunday at Marita Hynes Field.

The four home runs continued a remarkable power streak for the Sooners. They’ve now hit at least four home runs in each of their last six games, including 21 over the weekend in four games against Iowa and East Carolina.

The win, which was the first in nine games to not come via run-rule, extended OU’s season-best win streak to 12 games. It’s the team’s longest such streak since winning 16 straight from April 19 – May 23 last season. OU has outscored the opposition 139-9 during the win streak.

Fastpitch Softball Videos On Demand

video on demand This is a new project I am creating at Fastpitch TV.

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These videos are the property of the people that produced them. I am just partnering with the video creators in an attempt to bring you more fastpitch softball education in a more affordable manor.

Contact Gary@Fastpitch.TV if you have produced a fastpitch softball training video. You may be eligible for compensation.

See all the Videos On Demand: HittingPitchingFieldingBase Running

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The 2015 Spring Games

Spring-Games

“The 2015 Spring Games” written by Gary Leland.

I am in Clermont, Florida sitting on the runway waiting for my flight to take me back to Dallas, Texas.

I have spent the last week at The Spring Games hosted by PFX Athletics, and I thought I would share my thoughts about the event.

The Spring Games are a great event. Spread out over three weeks with over 300 teams, this is the largest and probably the best college softball event in the world.

You are probably thinking how does anyone handle a three week college tournament with over three hundred teams? Well I never said it was a tournament. The Spring Games are more like spring training. D2, and D3 teams get an opportunity to play and get prepared for the season. It is a ton of softball for sure.

The majority of the teams in this event are from the northern part of the country. They leave their softball fields that are covered with ice, and snow to come to Florida where it is in the mid 80s everyday.

If you ask any player what they like best about the Spring Games they will say “the fields are clear of snow”, Ask the coaches what they like, and you will hear the same thing. Yes just being able to play outside is good enough for many of these teams.

Thanks to Alison Strange and all of the PFX Staff this is a great event. I would actually have to say this is one of the best softball events I have ever been to, and I have been to a lot of them.

Alison and her staff not only run a great event, but they work with local businesses in Clermont to make your stay exciting 24-7.

The even helped Sarah Jones, a local performer put together a play about softball.This was probably the first theatre performance about softball ever written. It even had a song written by two time Olympian Dot Richardson. I loved the show, and would recommend seeing it to everyone.

With so many teams playing so many game you would expect to have problems. During my week visit I never saw any problems at all.

One thing I was impressed with was the way the City of Clermont supports the Spring Games. I interviewed the Mayor, the City Manager and other city officials. They all agreed that the Spring Games bring so much impact to the City Of Clermont that it deserves their backing.

I would recommend every college softball program contact Alison Strange today, and put the Spring Games on your list of events for next spring.

For more information on this great event go to http://www.pfxathletics.com, and maybe I will see you there next year.

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Chamberlain Continues Assault On HR Record While Sooners Run Win Streak To Eight

Chamberlain Continues Assault On HR Record

“Chamberlain Continues Assault On HR Record While Sooners Run Win Streak To Eight” Written By Bill Plummer

NORMAN, Okla –The numbers are 83 and seven. One is important individually while the other is important collectively.

Together they meant alot to the surging University of Oklahoma women’s softball team.

Seven represents the number of shutouts the Sooners have in a row while 83 is the number of career home runs OU slugger Lauren Chamberlain has after hitting a pair over the weekend in a 14-0 five-inning win over Samford Sunday afternoon at the Courtyard by Marriott Tournament.

Chamberlain is now tied for fifth on the all-time list after going 2-for-2 with three runs scored, three RBI and two walks. She hit a two-run homer in the third and a solo homer in the fourth inning.It was the Chamberlain’s 16th career multi-homer game and her second this season.

The Sooners (18-3) have now won eight games in a row with seven of the shutout variety after beating Missouri State (9-10) 11-0 in five innings to conclude a perfect weekend.
In going 4-0 at the tournament, OU outscored its opponents 44-0, outhit them .457 to .139 and had more home runs (13) than the other teams had hits (10).

With its seventh straight shutout, OU has tied a school record, which had been done three times previously. Most recently, OU accomplished the feat from March 9-17 in 2013. In their current streak, OU has outscored its opponents 67-0. The team’s 39-inning scoreless run dates back to the final inning against Kentucky on Feb. 21.

Sunday’s star was pitcher Kelsey Stevens, whose only hit allowed was a two-out single in the first inning. She walked one while striking out eight to improve her record to 7-0. She has gone 18 straight innings without giving up a run. She had a dominant weekend, striking out 20 while walking just two in running her record to 7-0. Opponents hit .179 off her in 11.o innings of work.
Erin Miller capped a remarkable weekend with her fourth homer of the season. She went 8-10 (.800) with six runs scored, 12 runs batted in, three home runs, two triples, one double, three walks and two stolen bases. She slugged 2.200 and got on base at a .857 clip.

Miller’s output was nearly matched by Chamberlain, who went 7-10 (.700) with six runs scored, 11 RBI, four home runs, one double and three walks.
The Sooners return to action this weekend with East Carolina and Iowa visit for the OU Tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Saturday against Iowa.

5 Crucial Decisions For Softball Success

5 Crucial Decisions For Softball Success

“5 Crucial Decisions For Softball Success” Written By John Michael Kelly

As the spring softball season approaches, whether high school, travel or recreational I’d like you to pause for a moment and consider all the decisions your athlete has to make during the course of a game, and how little time she really has to make those decisions and react to ball, pitch or play. A typical batter has less than 1/2 second to determine pitch velocity, movement of the ball and ultimate spot to place the barrel of the bat each swing. No small feat! The same crazy quick time pressured decisions are true for fielding and base running.



Ultimately your athlete’s or team’s level of on the field success is dictated by the decisions she/they make. And these decisions are a product of many factors, most all of which are found within her head.

Behind every action is an emotion; behind every emotion is a thought. So how can you insure that your athlete or team thinks and feels optimally so that she/they make good decisions on the field?

1. Decide to play in the MOMENT. – Dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future ones makes focusing on the task at hand impossible. “Be Here Now,” and watch decision making improve immediately.

2. Decide to NOT make any one mistake/at bat or play more important than it needs to be. – The athlete decides in her head how much power she gives any one “event” on the field. The more power she gives it the bigger it gets in her head; the less power she gives it the sooner the mistake fades away.

3. Decide to always practice with a clearly defined PURPOSE in mind. – Building confidence and making good decisions is the result of proper preparation, for competence breeds confidence.

4. Decide to focus on the PROCESS of getting better instead of your batting average, ERA, fielding % or wins and losses. – Learning to focus on EFFORT and refraining from self-judgment is always the best recipe for a quick bounce back after a mistake on the field.

5. Decide to take RESPONSIBILITY for your thinking and emotional state on the field. – Success happens by design, not by accident so come into a game with a plan, ready to face those adversity demons head on!

In truth so many poor decisions on the field are due to doubt and hesitation, a fear of making a mistake. If your athlete or team can implement these five decisions and you as parent or coach support them you will soon see infinitely better game decision making, better performance levels and a greater joy for playing the game!



Thanks for reading!

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