I don't think there could have been a better day weather-wise to hold a softball game. I also don't think that there could have been a better medicine (at least for me) for a basketball loss than an outright whooping of the LSU Tigers in softball.
So, as far as the game goes, there's not really that much to say. Besides, I think Kyle could give a much better round-up of stats and possibly even this post than I could. Note: if you want info on the game itself, go here. We won 8-0 and scored in all (four) innings, which is the best you can do in softball. After five innings the eight-run rule (its official name, also commonly known as the "mercy rule") goes into effect. If a team has eight runs any time after the fifth inning (there's seven innings instead of nine), or four-and-a-half if it's the home team, the game is automatically over. And rather abruptly, I might add.
What I would like to do with this post is show somewhat of the experience of a softball game. I know a lot of you don't live in Athens like I do and don't have the luxury to see every sport that Georgia fields, so I figured I would take a camera with me and document. I will say this, though: if you get the chance to go to a softball game, it's well worth it.
I love going to all Georgia events, yes, but the free sports (everything but football, basketball, baseball, and gymnastics) are what really get to me. It's not just the price, which is definitely a plus for a husband and a wife who just graduated a couple of years ago, but it's the atmosphere. You don't worry about all of the formalities of tickets or the craziness of the fans. You just enjoy the sports and the camaraderie. And the kids. Lots of kids.
But just for comparison between softball and, say, football, here's a picture of part of the parking lot:
This picture is about a third of the parking lot for the softball and soccer complex. It's the only full portion of the parking lot. By the way, this feels like it's in the middle of nowhere in Athens (south Milledge) so be forewarned if you go this way and feel like you should start moo-ing.
After walking in we found a few oddities that normally doesn't happen in a big setup. This nice little piece of blow-up goodness was a jumping gym. Next to it was a basketball throwing apparatus. Apparently they still want you to like basketball even at this place. Behind this was the soccer stands. They look a little odd, but it definitely works. I want to do a soccer game next.
Oh, and notice: everything is set up for kids it seems like. The giveaways, the player meet-and-greets, everything. When you lower the price to nothing, kids can see everything up close and personal. And that's the beauty of it: kids experience everything on a much grander scale. Just the fact they give this focus to kids helps a lot. And I'm talking about having lifelong fans as well as lifelong grads. Just see how close we can get to LSU softball players... and no one even blinks an eye (see how well this goes over with football players close to game time):
What follows now are a few pictures of the field and the stadium itself. Don't worry, the stadium was filled a good bit today. Most of this was taken before the game started. The attendance was 1,355 officially.
Visitor dugout. I promise I'm not obsessed with LSU players; they were just the easiest shots.
Notice the circle in the middle of the field. I had to ask my wife (an avid softballer in high school) what that was for. She said that the pitcher couldn't leave the circle during a pitch or throwing to a base stealer. You'll also notice the two lines in the circle which basically show the best placement for your legs when committing a pitch. They are very messy after a couple of innings and you don't have to stay within them. They're good guidelines, though. The line on the outside of first base is what would be for the extra first base if we had one. Apparently it's a running lane so there is not a collision. It's used in lower leagues but I guess not here. Of course, that doesn't block collisions at home plate, as one of our players was flipped at home plate after running into the catcher. She's not hurt, but it was pretty funny that some dad of little leaguers who were honored before the game told his daughter she was not allowed to charge the plate.
Georgia batting practice! Also notice the obligatory super G in the middle of the field. The 1 and 7 around it doesn't ring a bell and a couple of people around me had the same questions.
And this was the ball game, folks! After 4 1/2 innings, we were 8-0 and we added another win to our records. Apparently they don't make softball specific score boards, but that's okay. Here are some stats from the game:
- Our pitcher for the game, Morgan Montemayor (8-1) threw a complete game.
- We stole six (six!) bases in the game.
- Alisa Goler hit a home run for us in the third. It wasn't a grand slam, but it still was nice.
Also note below the scoreboard. They definitely want you to know they've been to the NCAA regionals. In case you're wondering, that is a video board at the top where Athens Regional is.
This was the scene after the game with our players. I'm not exactly sure what they were doing, but it was still a nice sight.
One last thing before I close this out: the giveaways. Not only did we get the stuff above, there was a chance to get autographs from all of the Georgia players after the game. Above, we have a game program, a schedule magnet, silly bands in the shape of Hairy Dawg, the super G, and (if you mirror the image) I assume Louisiana. Oh, and the Cane's Challenge coupon. By the way, the challenge to be met to get a buy one, get one combo was for the Dawgs to strike out a batter. That happened to the first LSU batter.
Again, if you ever get a chance, go to a softball game. I want to go again just because it's a few miles from where we live. It's definitely a great thing to see something to help build Georgia not only in the eyes of its alumni and older fans, but to also create younger fans too.
Tomorrow we go for the sweep! Go Dawgs!