Jake Locker visits OKC!!
The Washington Huskies are playing for the National Championship!!! Okay this isn't my beloved football team or Lorenzo Romar and the hoops team but it is still exciting. Especially since it is the one sport that plays their National Championship each year about 15 minutes from where I live. Tonight the UW softball team will play the Florida Gators in the first game to decide the title. It is the best 2 out of 3 series so no one will get a trophy tonight but a win would put them in a good position.
Friday night I went to two games of the softball tournament and learned that college softball is not always the highest scoring sporting event. The first game was Washington vs Arizona State and after 7 innings (regulation length) the score was tied 0-0. Fortunately the UW was able to score and win 1-0 in the 8th. The next game was Florida vs Michigan and again I got to watch a 1-0 game as the Gators hit a 6th inning home run to win the game. 15 innings and a total of 2 runs. Very exciting. I went to the game with a couple of friends but they decided not to stick around for the second game and I did. I ended up sitting next to and talking with a guy that is the manager of a pro softball team. There are only 5 teams in the pro league and he talked about the team's salary cap and how it is tough to get the better players to join the league after college. He was also telling me all about the players we were watching and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Definitely made the game much more interesting.
Saturday night my friend and former co-worker Pam got married in Wynnewood, Oklahoma which is about 70 miles south of where I live. Norman is about halfway to Wynnewood so I decided to stop off at the University of Oklahoma to check out the college baseball tournament. Going into the weekend there were 64 teams left in the college baseball tournament. 16 different schools throughout the country were hosting double elimination tournaments of 4 teams to determine which 16 teams would be left to play next week. The tournament in Norman consisted of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Washington State and Wichita State. The Cougars of Washington State were playing the Wichita State Shockers at 1pm so I decided to go check them out on my way to the wedding. I am getting more than my share of baseball and softball lately and wouldn't have gone to the game if a team from my home state wasn't playing but I figured I should go support the Cougs. I was hoping to get there in time to see the last 4 or 5 innings but it was a quick game and was in the 7th inning by the time I arrived. I bought a cheap ticket and watched the end of the game from the outfield. The good news was that Washington State won the game 3-2 which ended the Shockers season. The bad news for the Cougs was that Arkansas ended up winning the tournament and gets to continue playing while the other schools are done.
Had a great time at Pam's wedding on Saturday night. Pam worked on the Sonics Promo Crew from 2000-2005 and took at job in Oklahoma after graduating from Washington (Pam and her Mom were both on my last blog as they and the maid of honor went to the softball tournament with me on Thursday). I also got to meet the groom Sam, an Oklahoma native. Seems like a great guy and I wish the two of them all the best. The wedding was short and sweet and then we all headed over to a local winery for the reception. Pam's brother Felix also worked under me on the Sonics Promo Crew and it was nice to hang out with him and meet his wife as he just got married less than a year ago. Also got a chance to meet some other great people from both Washington and Oklahoma as well as see Pam and Felix's parents whom I've been fortunate enough to meet in the past. Great time!!
Sunday was a day of sunshine, outdoors and softball. Met my co-worker Ron at 7am and went for a 16 mile run at Lake Hefner. The weather was perfect for running when we first started but was really warming up by the time I stopped. Would not have wanted to run any later than we did. Summer is coming quickly and it is only going to get hotter. Went home afterward just long enough to shower and head out to watch Washington play Georgia in the softball tournament. The game started at noon and the scenario was that Washington would advance to the Championship if they won the game. Lose and they would have to play Georgia again later that night to determine which team would get into the finals. The game started at 12:00 and an average game takes right around 2 hours, this was not one of those games. Washington got a home run early to take a 3-0 lead and at that point I thought the game was pretty much over. Washington's star pitcher Danielle Lawrie was the national player of the year and averages giving up less than 1 run a game. I figured a 3 run lead was enough and that I wouldn't have anything on my schedule for the rest of the day. The unthinkable then happened and Georgia quickly scored a bunch of runs and was suddenly ahead 8-4 in the 5th inning. It was 90 degrees out and the sun was beating on all of us. One of my friends, Nick decided that he had had enough and left the game figuring it was over. The very next inning the Huskies loaded the bases when Freshman 1st baseman Nikki Williams came up and tied the game with a grand slam. She only hit 2 home runs during the season but has aleady hit 3 in OKC. The game ended up going into extra innings and Georgia finally won it 9-8 in the 9th inning. The game ended at 4:20. What is normally a 2 hour game went for 4 hours and 20 minutes. The combination of the game in the 90 degree heat and my morning running in the hot weather zapped me so I headed home while trying to decide if I wanted to return for the night game.
The final Washington vs Georgia game was originally scheduled for 6pm however the tournament was running behind since our earlier game took so long and the Florida vs Alabama game that was played right after also went long (Florida advanced to the Championship game by hitting a grand slam on the final out of the game for a 6-5 win). Our game ended up starting at 8:30 and I decided that I wanted to be in attendance if the Huskies won so I went back to the stadium. This game was much different in that I couldn't get anyone to go with me and apparently many of the other fans felt the same way. The game I attended earlier in the day had around 8,000 people and I'm guessing that there were around 2,500 for the night game. The one nice thing about fewer people is that you can buy a less expensive ticket and casually move over to the better seats. I sat next to the section where all of the Husky friends and family were located so pretty much everyone around me was wearing purple. The game was also nothing like the other one in that the Huskies jumped to an early 4-0 lead on Danielle Lawrie's home run in the 1st inning (I included a picture of her hitting the home run) and went on to win 9-3. I finally got out of the stadium at around 11pm. Long day.
I also managed to get a picture with UW star Quarterback Jack Locker. Locker is dating Lauren Greer, the starting right fielder on the softball team and was cheering her on. He was having a lot of fun and holding up a shirt with her number on it every time she came up to bat (included in one of the pictures). He was very friendly when I asked for the picture and I told him I would be rooting for them from afar this year. Hopefully I can look at that picture someday and say that I took the picture right before he went on to win the 2009 Heisman Trophy. That would be great.