Fall ball important for teams' success Written By Bill Plummer
Fall ball can be important to how a softball team does once the season starts in earnest. Fall ball is the time when freshmen get a chance to show what they can do while other players may be shifted around by the coaches to replace graduated seniors. How these players adapt and or improve will have an effect on what kind of season the team will have. Of course you never know when an unexpected injury will happen and throw a monkey wrench into the coaches' plans for the upcoming season. That is the unexpected part of softball or, for that matter, any sport. Injuries aren't planned obviously. They just happen and at the wrong time.
When that happens coaches will have to shift players around and some might have to play a position they are not as familiar with but maybe played this position in high school or travel ball. But players must step up and continue to the overall good of the team to ensure another successful season.
How was last season? Was it the best so far of your college career? Or was it your last year considering you were a senior and wanted to end your career on a winning note? You never know from year to year what is going to happen in college softball, but that is part of what makes it such an enjoyable and entertaining sport.
This year's Women's College World Series drew more than 68,000 people to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. If an additional session could have been played, the attendance record probably would have been broken. With the additional improvements planned in the near future at the facility, the attendance record figures to be broken before too long.
While only eight teams earning berths in OKC, teams start the season hoping to qualify for post-season play and eventually earn a berth in OKC by advancing through the Regionals and Super Regionals. It can be a daunting task and teams have to peak at the right time to advance. Some teams lose in the Super Regionals and have to wait for next year. Losing in the Super Regionals only adds to their frustration.
Two perennial powers, UCLA and Arizona, had hoped to advance to OKC but were surprised in the Super Regionals as the overall competitive balance of college softball gets better and better each year. It isn't wise to look past or take any team too lightly, especially if it has qualified for post-season play. Years ago you could look past a team and advance but not anymore. Teams are improving their overall level of competition and colleges are putting more and more money into renovating their present facilities or building new ones to improve their programs and attract some of the nation's top softball players.
Florida will be the odds-on favorite to repeat in OKC in 2015 when the event marks its silver anniversary in that city, but who knows what other teams have prepared themselves for a run at the title. That is, if they advance through the regionals and Super regionals. Of course what a team does in the fall will play a role in how a successful a team will be once the bell rings to start the 2015 season.
The WCWS has been held at the ASA Complex since 1990 and will continue to be held at the complex after an agreement was signed May 1 of this year leasing the complex to the ASA for an additional term of 35 years with one renewal option term of 35 years. Coupled .with the improvements that will be made in the next two to four years, it ensures all those involved that OKC will remain as the Mecca of College Softball for years to come and fans and players will get to experience of the Women's College World Series. An event that continues to get better and better as the teams and players get better, too. That is The View From Here.
Bill Plummer A 1973 graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than five decades. For 30 years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office in Oklahoma City as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian.
In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2008, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2013 he co-authored “A Series Of Their Own”. Visit his website at PlummerSoftball.com.
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