Visit to Eastern Illinois University

Last weekend was Family Weekend at EIU. Since my wife and I have two sons attending that school we were down there for a visit.

Sometimes fate smiles upon you. Their dorms are close to the women’s softball field, so naturally we had to go take a peek at what was happening. We saw what appeared to be a practice and stopped to watch for a few minutes. We then had to run to the campus bookstore to leave even more of our money there in exchange for a couple of t-shirts, and to take care of a couple of other things.

When that was all done, though, we had some time to kill so I casually suggested we stop by the field again, as it looked like there was a game going on. When we got there I realized it was an intrasquad scrimmage, probably so the parents of those players could see where their money was going.

It was fun to watch. The facility is fairly small with some “box seats” close to the plate, so we were very close to the action. Part of the time I sat and just watched as a fan of fastpitch softball. And part of the time, I have to admit, I watched more analytically, trying to guess what pitch would be called next or see if I could pick up some tips.

One thing both my wife and I noticed was how much each hitter committed to their swings. There was no hesitation, no worry about whether they were swinging at the right pitch or not. When they swung, man, they swung. As a result, when they hit the ball it really jumped off the bat. Overall it seemed like a quality team filled with quality individuals.

One funny thing I recall happening during the game was a particular ball/strike call. One of the coaches was umping from behind the pitcher. When what I assume the #1 pitcher was pitching, there was a 2-2 count. The next pitch came in, and it looked like it would be strike three. The coach hesitated momentarily, then called it a ball. I’m pretty sure she knew it was a strike but decided the pitcher needed to work through pressure situations. I believe the next pitch resulted in a batted out. I guess coaches are coaches no matter what the level.
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