Rarely does a player leave an impact on the popularity of an entire sport, but Jennie Finch’s impact on women’s softball is undeniable.
With statistical phenomenons to her name like 60 consecutive wins during her college career at Arizona, and championship titles at seemingly every level of competition, it’s undeniable that Finch brought attention to the sport like no one else.
Jennie Finch, an annual member of the USA National Team since 2001, has announced at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, she will be retiring after her season with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league is over.
At over 6 feet tall, Finch has dominated the sport from the circle. Her pitching in college was highlighted with 60 straight victories, including a championship at the 2001 Women’s College World Series. She followed up her collegiate career with a gold medal victory for the US National Team in 2004 at the Athens Olympics. Finch also led the US National Team to a silver medal in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. In addition, while pitching for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League, Finch has recorded two perfect games, including one just a couple of weeks ago.
Finch recently appeared at the Major League Baseball All Star Game and participated in the Celebrity Softball Game.
With women’s softball no longer a sport in the Olympics, Jennie Finch will turn her focus to her family and leave the game as one of the best who ever stepped into the pitcher’s circle.
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For the second straight year, the Washington Huskies can walk a little taller. Yesterday the American Softball Association (ASA) named the Huskies star pitcher, Danielle Lawrie, who is equally impressive when on the offensive side of the game, as their USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
From inside the circle, Lawrie is one of the most dominate softball pitchers to ever play the game. Over Danielle’s career, she has been able to write her name in the Huskies record books for an amazing 7 of the 10 pitching statisitics.
This season has been monumental for Lawrie, finishing with a 40-3 record, a 1.00 ERA, 478 strikeouts and just 41 walks in 288.1 innings. In addition, Danielle threw four no-hitters, three of which were perfect games. The three perfect games tie her for a Pac-10 record.
While she may be dominate pitching, consider her stats from the offensive side. Lawrie has had career high numbers in in home runs with 15, RBI with 57 and slugging percentage with .616. Not only are all of those career highs, but they are also numbers that lead the Huskies in each category.
In her last run during her collegiate career, Danielle has led the Washington Huskies into the College World Series, adding to her career numbers, pushing her strikeout total over 1800 for her career. Thursday they will face the Georgia in Oklahoma City to defend the Huskies National Championship from last season.
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The NCAA Women’s Softball Tournament begins today at various locations around the country. The 64 team softball tournament begins with a round of double elimination, then a best of three format for the second round that leads to the eight team Women’s College World Series. Three conferences, the Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC, have filled the brackets with the most representation in this year’s tournament with seven teams each.
Although most may see Washington as the top team in the country with a 46-5 record, it was Alabama (48-11) that landed the number one seed in the tournament and a first round match-up with Alcorn State, one of twelve schools making their first appearance this year. Washington was given a a number three seed, just behind Michigan (46-6).
Along with the twelve teams making their first appearance in the tournament, there is one team that has made an appearance every year since the women’s college tournament began nearly thirty years ago. The Fresno State Bulldogs (39-19) who have appeared in all 29 tournaments, will look to further last year’s early exit to their southern California rivals UCLA.
In early action on Thursday, seventh ranked Texas (41-13) and BYU (44-11) won their first game and moved into the winner’s bracket.
Check out our NCAA College Fan Gear to find the gear to support your team on their way to the Women’s College World Series.
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