Category Archives: Softball Current Events

1996 Olympic Hero Moves to a Tiny Town with Big Dreams

web_SB_2014_Dot_RichardsonDot Richardson, two time Olympian has moved to Lynchburg, Va to become the head softball coach at Liberty University.  Richardson is taking over for Paul Wetmore who has been with the softball program since 1994.  Wetmore finished his coaching career with a 547-617-1 record.  Now Liberty plans to take the program to a new level by striving to become national ranked and update the facilities. Richardson was recently interviewed by LU and explained she has three goals planned out:

1. Continue the Christ centered focus in the softball program.

2. Make the program more competitive and become nationally ranked.

3. Improve the softball budget to update facilities.

To watch the “Getting to Know Dot Richardson” interview, go to this link : http://www.liberty.edu/flames/index.cfm?PID=10854&TeamID=2

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This is Richardson’s first official collegiate coaching position.  She brings along with her an entire coaching staff which includes her husband, Bob Pinto, and Paige Cassady.  Pinto has over 30 years of softball experience stretching from high school to professional levels.  Cassady has been hired on to be the pitching coach. Cassady brings along several years of collegiate pitching experience from inside and outside the circle.

Left - Bob Pinto Middle - Dot Richardson Right - Paige Cassady

Left – Bob Pinto
Middle – Dot Richardson
Right – Paige Cassady

Along with Richardson’s three main goals, she mentions several attributing goals in her interview.  Richardson hopes to help the female athletes in the softball program to reach their full potential as an athlete.  Not everyone can be the best player on the field but she plans to help each player reach at their own individual highest level that is obtainable.  Richardson also hopes to give these players the ability to impact others off the field when they graduate from LU. These might be the last years these players play the sport, so they need to be able to empower others once the game is over.

So what does this mean to the softball community in Lynchburg?  Having such highly experienced and well-known softball figures in the community will greatly impact softball in Lynchburg.  Richardson has been receiving hundreds of emails from interested high schoolers who want to play at Liberty.  As a result, many of these players will end up getting involved with the nearby high school softball programs, travel softball teams, and even slowpitch leagues.  Having these influencers will improve the local softball player’s skill levels and hopefully bring even more players into the system.  Bringing Dot Richardson on board to the softball program at LU is a win not only for the university, but as well for the community.

Currently, LU’s softball field conditions are not very impressive.  The field looks like a generic high school field and does not match up to other university’s facilities.  Plans to update the field are in the works.  Luckily, LU has just updated that baseball field.  This upgrade will give Liberty a sample to go by when building the new softball field. The plan is to make the softball field a miniature version of the new baseball field.  Below are pictures of both the new Liberty baseball field and the current softball field; which will be upgraded soon!

LU Baseball Field

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LU Softball Field

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Photo credit: http://www.liberty.edu/flames/index.cfm?PID=10867&CoachID=792&TeamID=2 and http://www.dailycommercial.com/sports/article_7ccc94bf-094b-5203-a679-7e9f2824b505.html


What is the Beautifully Powerful Campaign Going On?

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As I began researching for this softball focused blog, I kept coming across players saying #beautifullypowerful with shades of bright blues and purples flashing in images.  At first I ignored the colorful pictures and the girly saying thinking it had nothing to do with my beloved dirt, sweat, and blood stained oriented sport.  I grew up thinking girls should not wear pink, make up, or sparkles on the field. Camo, black uniforms, war paint, and dirt stains was the desired look. Proving that you were a tough threatening player to be reckoned with was the goal.  Seeing these girly pictures mentioning beauty had no correlation to softball to me.  I then started seeing more and more photos of girls wearing dresses, cleats, and war paint on softball fields.  Seeing the raw images of girls wearing dresses while contradicting these dresses with fierce war painted faces began to intrigue me.  What was this marketing campaign? Why are girls wearing prom dresses to dirt-covered fields and holding gloves and softball bats as if they were weapons?

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I decided to find out. I quickly learned that the marketing campaign is being run by Louisville Slugger for fastpitch softball and the face of the campaign is two time Olympian Jessica Mendoza.  As I learned more about the campaign, the more I impressed I became.  I greatly admired how they made an outfielder the face rather than the typical pitcher.  Seeing other players on the field being represented and recognized is great change.   I found a few videos explaining the campaign.  The main point from the campaign is to be yourself because you are beautiful the way you are.  Jessica Mendoza intensely explains,

“Be yourself, be what you think is beautiful, not what others think is beautiful. What you see in the mirror is beauty. Softball is a game for every body type, therefore don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t dream and be that amazing player you want to be.  Anyone who works hard enough can become successful in the game.”

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This message is very empowering. It is bringing young girls together and helping them learn that even if they are short, tall, have a lot of muscle, don’t have much muscle, that they can become a player like Jessica Mendoza on the field.  Nothing should stand in their way.  Girls are being reassured that they can be themselves, the dorky girl, the artsy girl, the girl with crazy hair are all beautiful in their own way.  It’s ok to be girly and play softball.  You can be contradicting just like the campaign.  You do not have to fit a stereotype.  As long as you are true to yourself, you will be great.

The campaign is wonderful. I plan to continue to follow it as long as it runs.  I even tried to contact Louisville Fastpitch to gain the brand wristbands for my softball playing nieces (with no luck).  I still hope the campaign continues to be a great success!

Below are videos and pictures of the campaign.

http://www.slugger.com/fastpitch-softball/ (Video)

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Photo credit: twitter.com and pinterest.com


1st Annual Danny Lansanah Celebrity Softball Game

DannyLan Charity Softball

The 1st Annual Danny Lansanah Celebrity Softball Game was held in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, July 13th, 2013 at the Metro Bank Park.  The celebrity game was a charity event to help the Men of South East League Field Baseball League. “M.O.S.E.L.F. is a non-profit organization that caters to youth baseball throughout the entire Harrisburg area. T-ball, pony baseball, and senior baseball. M.O.S.E.L.F. provides services to some 450 children that participate in league programs, which encompass the North East, Boyer East, South East, and the Boys & Girls Club fields in Harrisburg. Youth Baseball in the city of Harrisburg had a void and M.O.S.E.L.F. filled this void for our community for over 20 years.”

I managed to get an inside scoop of the charity event due to my college roommate, Shaniqua, playing in the game. Shaniqua was brave enough to face these mammoth size athletes ranging from 200-300 pounds of muscle, at only 53 feet away on the pitcher’s mound.  To me, this sounds like a death trap; but from the pictures, it appears that she has survived and is living well!  Shaniqua battled inside the circle for half the game before moving to outfield.  She even faced the man-of-the-hour, Danny Lansanah, pitching enough junk to strike him out.

Shaq Pitching at Celeb Game

Four other locals were also given the chance to play with the well renowned athletes.  Though out the game ten players played the field in locations they thought the ball would be hit.  Even after standing anywhere on the field, it was still impossible to catch some of the balls hit such as the home run hit by Aaron Berry. Below is a list of all the athletes who participated in the event and many pictures.

Celebrities that played include:

  • Danny Lansanah – NFL Linebacker for the New York Jets
  • Aaron Berry- Jets
  • Adrian Robinson- Steelers
  • Jordan Hill- Seahawks
  • Morkeith Brown- Philadelphia Soul
  • Chris Franklin- Harlem Globetrotters
  • Gilbert Brown- Overseas B-Ball
  • Lawrence Hamm- Overseas B-Ball (part of Under Armour)
  • Robert McClain- Falcons
  • Marcus Easley- Bills
  • Kashif Moore- Steelers
  • Evan Rodriguez- Dolphins
  • Jack Crawford- Raiders
  • Mark Harrison- Patriots
  • Ryan Spadola- Jets
  • Kendall Gaskins- Bills
  • Brandon Copeland- Ravens
  • Ellis Lankster- Jets
  • Darrin Walls- Jets
  • Arthur Moats- Bills
  • Pharmacist- And 1 Street Baller
  • Big Mike- And 1 Street Baller
  • (And most importantly) My all-star roomie!

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Interested in donating to the cause? Contact the event organizer at: http://lansanahcelebsoftballgame.eventbrite.com

Photo credit: twitter.com and Facebook.com


Jennie Finch Maybe Anything but Retired: The Olympic-distance Aquaphor NYC Triathlon Coverage

This past Sunday, on July 14th, Jennie Finch, two-time softball Olympian, competed in the Olympic-distance Aquaphor New York City Triathlon.  The race included at 1500m swim through the Hudson River, a 40k bike race along Manhattan’s West Side highway, and a 10k run through Central Park. The race concluded in that order with over 3,000 athletes competing in the race.

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Race Map

Even though this was Finch’s 3rd triathlon experience, she is still learning the tricks of the trade.  She mentioned many times throughout her training that she has been focusing on her transitions throughout the race.

One of Finch’s main fears was for the open water swim.  The race would involve just short of a one-mile  open water swim all going in one direction across the fierce Hudson River.  Finch had a little hardship training for the swim due to living alligator country in Louisiana.  Training in local ponds and swimming holes were a bit nerve-racking since several fish or possibly gators kept touching her in the dark water!  Even after those close calls, Finch says the swimming portion of the triathlon has become her favorite part.

Finch at the Starting Line

Finch at the Starting Line

Another focus for Finch was to maintain hydration during the race.  Finch packed lots of water.  She also packed many packs of Gu gel to get electrolytes and bursts of energy.

Finch Bike Training

Finch Bike Training

Finch finished the race in 2 hours and 51 minutes and placed 34th in her division.  Below is a video showing her sprinting through finish line. At the end, Finch’s son Ace begged her to not participate in anymore triathlons but we’ll see if this Olympian can stay seated on the bench.

Finch with Family After the Race

Finch with Family After the Race

Final Race Times

Final Race Times

Finch Crossing Finish Line Video

Find out more about Jennie Finch’s race? Visit her special in ESPN W. http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/9479549/espnw-olympic-softball-star-jennie-finch-finishes-aquaphor-new-york-city-triathlon-ahead-schedule

Event Website: http://www.nyctri.com/

Photo Credit: http://espn.go.com/espnw/search/finch/ and https://twitter.com/jfinch27


Japan Wins the 2013 World Cup of Softball!

Japan US Softball

Japan managed to breeze by the USA, not once but twice, during the World Cup of Softball. This was Japan’s first win since 2005 when the tournament first began. From 2006 to 2012, the USA has been the continuous victor, winning 6 World Cups.

The final 2013 standings are shown below:

Gold Medal – Japan

Silver Medal – USA

Bronze Medal – Australia

The most valuable player, from my opinion, goes to Yukiko Ueno from Japan.  Ueno was fierce on the field; throwing fastballs averaging 72 mph.  Players appeared to struggle just getting the bat around in time to hit a pitch. This not surprising since Ueno is the fastest pitcher in the world; having been clocked at 75 mph.  To add even more to mix, Ueno was throwing not one but two different levels of off speed pitches.  Her off speeds came in at around 51 and 62 mph.  Ueno is considered a veteran on the field for Japan. At age 30, Ueno is the oldest and most decorated player on Team Japan.  Ueno’s experience has proven to be a great advantage.  She clearly has excellent control over every pitch, as she paints the strike zone with curves and drop-balls.  One of her most highly recognized wins is over Team USA in the 2008 Olympics.  Ueno not only pitched both games against Team USA in the 2013 World Cup but also pitched all 7 innings.

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Interesting enough, this may have been a wished granted to Coach Erikson. “United States coach Ken Eriksen said that he hoped Japan used Ueno every game during its stay in Oklahoma City, including any and all against the United States. He was joking, but only in the sense that he knew Japan wouldn’t overburden its ace.”  The joke is now on him since Japan did pitch the ace and beat the USA team doing it.  Team USA has 12 rookies on the team.  This young team has learned a great deal facing such a competitive opponent. There is only room for improvement at this point in the game.

Team USA will be facing Japan again in the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada.  The teams are scheduled to play on July 17th at 9pm.  Stay tuned to see if Japan decides to pitch Ueno again against Team USA!

Photo credit: http://asianwiki.com/Yukiko_Ueno and http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/90612


Update on the World Cup of Softball VIII

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Here’s an update on the World Cup of Softball VIII.  Australia and Puerto Rico are set to go to the Seed #5 v. Seed #4 game.  The winner of that game will progress to the Bronze Medal game.  The lose will be out of the tournament.  It is just a matter of tomorrow’s game, USA v. Puerto Rico, that will determine which team will have what place.  Japan is scheduled to play tonight against the USA at 8pm central-time.  The game will be the decider if Japan will be fighting for the Bronze Medal.  If Japan loses, they will be automatically set as Seed #3 and will be going straight to the Bronze Medal game.  If Japan wins, then the team will still be in a toss up between Canada, USA, and Japan to fight for the Gold Medal.  If Japan wins tonight, the USA will have to beat Puerto Rico tomorrow to insure a place in the Gold Medal game.  Below are the current team standings.

Canada  3-1

USA 2-0

Japan 2-1

Australia 1-3

Puerto Rico 0-3

Photo credit: twitter.com


The World Cup of Softball VIII

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The World Cup of Softball launched yesterday with Japan taking a win over Australia and the US earning a win against Canada.  The tournament will be lasting four days from July 11-14th.  Even though one day is down, there are still 11 more exciting games to watch!  ESPN plans to show the USA Team where viewers can cheer the team on at the comfort of their home or even a sports bar. Woot!  Fans can also catch the games through live streaming and stat updates if the game is not shown on ESPN.

Teams participating this year include the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Puerto Rico.  The US is returning to the tournament as the defending champions.  Even though the tournament is numbered VIII, this will be its 7th run since 2005.  In 2008, the tournament was not held due to players participating in the Olympics.

The World Cup is being held at the well-known Oklahoma City stadium, the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.  This is the same stadium where the NCAA Division I College Softball World Series is held,  as well as many other top softball tournaments.

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Team USA has 18 strong players from all over the United States and 6 coaches. Hopefully, more information is posted for these players so that the viewers can learn more about them. Watching these mystery players in action is going to be exciting since they are some of the type players in the country.  Do not miss out on the action!

The team roster is shown below, as well as a tournament bracket and a chart showing previous tournament winners. Check them out and send any questions you have my way!

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Valerie Arioto, California – 2012

Raven Chavanne, Tennessee – 2013

Lauren Chamberlain, Oklahoma – Jr.

Amanda Chidester, Michigan – 2012

Aimee Creger, Tulsa – Sr.

Amber Freeman, Arizona State – Jr.

Lauren Gibson, Tennessee – 2013

Taylor Hoagland, Texas – 2013

Nicole Hudson, Missouri – 2013

Destinee Martinez, Oklahoma – Sr.

Jessica Moore, Oregon – 2013

Michelle Moultrie, Florida – 2012

Sara Nevins, South Florida – Sr

Cheridan Hawkins, Oregon – Soph.

Kourtney Salvarola, South Florida – Sr.

Rhea Taylor, Missouri – 2011

Taylor Thom, Texas – Sr.

Lindsey Ziegenhirt, California – 2013

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./head coach South Florida)

Asst. Coaches:

Laura Berg (Corvalis, Ore./head coach Oregon State)

Suzy Brazney (Huntington Beach, Calif./head coach Golden West College)

Howard Dobson (Orange, Texas/assistant coach LSU)

Karen Weekly (Edmonds, Wash./co-head coach Tennessee)

Mike White (Eugene, Ore./head coach Oregon)

World Cup Winners
Year Winning Team
2012 USA
2011 USA
2010 USA
2009 USA
2008 Not Played
2007 USA
2006 USA
2005 Japan

Photo credit: http://www.softballcenter.com/2010-asa-a-c-world-tournament-preview/


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