May 21 / Todd

Softball Battles, But Falls In Waco Regional Final

What a program!

What a program!

There’s no easy way to say this, but the JMU Softball team met a cruel ending to another impressive season. They fell 1-0 to an on-fire pitcher from Baylor who threw here second no hitter of the Waco Regional on Sunday. The Dukes beat Oregon St. 3-2 with a great comeback Friday evening and then fell to Baylor 4-2 in a game they led most of the way early Saturday. That night the bats finally woke up and the Dukes eliminated Kent St. 4-0 to set up a rematch (or two) with Baylor on Sunday. And Sunday’s game was a tough way to go.

The Bears scored the game’s only run with a runner scrambling home on a wild pitch on a pitch that was really a pitch-out. Baylor’s Gia Rodoni, who had no-hit Kent St. on Friday, did it again to the Dukes on Sunday though not without late-inning fight and drama from the Dukes as we always expect. After Megan Good was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the event (JMU was the home team in what would’ve been game 1 of 2 had the Dukes won), senior Taylor Newton drove a long fly ball to left that had us jumping off the couch thinking the Dukes might’ve walked off, but Bears’ CF and Big 12 defensive player of the year Jessie Scroggins made an unbelievable catch at the wall to essentially end the Dukes season.

It sucked. And yes, the Dukes should’ve hosted a regional (yes, the CAA and its relative lack of competition is a killer, but for the record their is no realistic conference for JMU that would be better in this sport). But there is absolutely NOTHING for this incredible team and program to hang their heads about. First a HUGE thank you to seniors Niki Prince, Taylor Newton, Madison Moran, Tahli Moore, Mimi Morris, and Casie Hill who have been around to elevate the program from pretty good to serious national contender. These players have been incredible in the way they’ve played on the field, but just as much in the way they’ve represented JMU throughout their tenure.

Also a quick note on Megan Good. She might not have had her all-world best but she battled her ass off and there’s no doubt she has joined Dawn Evans and Rodney Landers on our personal Mt. Rushmore of Dukes. This team just needs to get her some more help on offense and not leave all the pressure on her shoulders. We’re also hopeful Odicci “CC” Alexander or some unknown freshman phenom can give her a wing-woman like she used to have in Jailyn Ford.

And finally, as tough as this weekend was to take, let’s all remember that Ms. Good is back for her senior year and that four freshmen played huge roles on this team, meaning there’s nothing in the world wrong with being excited already about next February when Coach Dean and company crank it up for what we believe will be a run to Oklahoma City. Well done ladies!

And with that, the 2016-17 year of JMU Athletics comes to a close. We can’t say we won’t be a little more intermittent than usual over the summer silly season, but we’ve got some ideas for JMUSB to keep your appetites whetted until Labor Day Weekend when the Dukes destroy another purple FBS team in EZU (hopefully with all coaching attire featuring the new JMU logo/font). Go Dukes!

4 Comments

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  1. Deacon Danny / May 22 2017

    A lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to here! Great season ladies. Go Dukes!

  2. ShadyP / May 22 2017

    JMU softball under Coach Dean is a first class operation. This team set another school record for wins in a season for like the 8th season in a row or something ‘sick’ like that. Congrats to everyone associated with JMU softball on a GREAT SEASON!!!

    Already looking forward to next season.

  3. The Fly / May 24 2017

    Wait, we haven’t carved Khalid’s face on Mount Madison yet?

  4. Ken / May 26 2017

    finally had time to watch the games from last weekend — hard to stay away from the blog and newspapers. Some observations:

    Really good season, given the schedule. Really only beat one really good squad — Auburn

    Moran, Prince and Newton are quality players; best of luck to them

    50 wins when you play in the CAA is a mirage; it means pack for a road trip.

    #1 team batting average in the country means nothing when you play in the CAA

    Team displayed a limited ability to move runners in Waco

    Poor baserunning decisions all weekend long

    Arnold is very limited offensively; 2/3 of the outfield didn’t get on base all weekend (Brammer’s not good enough to hit for herself). She did not light the world on fire defensively either

    Can’t win with one pitcher — and what Baylor and Oregon St. showed in the regional was that you can rattle/get to/beat #23 if you are aggressive early.

    It’s all about playing at home; can’t lose to RPI anchors like Mercer and UVa or lose in Crap Athletic Association if you want to play at home.

    Best win was Auburn; hope the Dukes’ schedule is tougher next year and they struggle some. Maybe that will translate to better efforts against high quality P5 teams in the postseason; in their last 4 tourney games (since Mrozek’s walkoff vs. LSU) vs. P5 teams they’ve managed only 14 hits and 4 runs.

    Better luck next spring. Go Dukes (and get off my lawn!)

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