Around 30 people gathered to watch the softball game. Two Western universities were about to face each other: Oregon vs. Washington. It is very particular how the game is called softball even though (now) the ball is really hard, though a game called hardball maybe would not have as many followers. Softball’s stadiums are usually smaller than their baseball counterparts, Western Washington University’s does not stride away from that rule. The stadium’s seats had blank spaces all over them, but the small, really small crowd gathered looked really enthusiastic.
Before the game starts each team practices bowling, that particular windmill windup of the pitcher in softball; pitchers, just like in baseball, are key to the game, their health is important as they are the main defensive body of each team. Pitchers stats are measured by considering how many games they have won and how many they have lost Losing or winning a game is calculated by taking into account the amount of runs the pitcher allowed while active; every batter the pitcher leaves standing on bases count toward this. Softball’s statistics, just like baseball’s, are almost a sport on their own, and many a fanatic is an expert in them, keeping track of even NCAA games and players.
Even before starting, one can see from their seats the enthusiastic behavior of each team’s cheerleaders. Even simple ones like “Go Vikings! GO!” mark the difference early in the game. As the stadium is not filled to the brim each sound reverberates loudly, making it look like it stays in the air. Throughout the entire game, cheerleaders never stop making noise, the stadium is really animated.
Before starting, there is the usual group talk between players; teams keep their distance, their voices low. Teammates look each other deep in the eyes, resolution shining strong in them. Even though it is a regular season game one can feel the tension, it is only at this time that cheerleaders stop shouting slogans. There is a short amount of time in which everything is silent and then, with a loud shout from each team’s players, the game starts.
Unlike baseball, softball consists of only seven innings, that makes the aim of the starting pitcher twenty-one outs. Weather is cool, around sixty-five degrees. Game’s on. The pitcher, a sophomore girl (Evans 00:40), comes to the infield, stands in the pitching plate, slogans increase in volume. He gets ready, slowly moving his arm in that characteristic windmill way. The batter looks at him, focused; the pitcher throws: a strike, a second strike, and then a single to the left. The batter runs the distance separating the plate from the first base, generally anything between forty-five and seventy-five feet, and waits. In this manner the game passes, fast, a softball game is usually fast-paced, and in the end there’s a winner. The second game comes now, so everything can change. The team cannot slack because they won. The best thing to do is win first and then win second too.
Jeff Evans is the sports information director at the Western Washington University. As he says, there are teams that play five games a week, WWU Vikings normally, in his words, play two games per day three days a week, for a total of six games a week. Players are normally tired and, as luck would have it, the results may drastically vary from a game one to a game two in the same day. Vikings had a streak of four wins before facing the Western Oregon University team. They won the first game with a score of 13 – 1 at their favor, but lost the second by 6 – 1 against them, which leaves the team in third place (Evans 04:17). Another game, against Concordia is scheduled to take place on Sunday.
- “Interview to Jeff Evans.” Interview. 23 Apr. 2017: n. pag. Print.