SEATTLE – On a windy and rainy Sunday afternoon, the Washington women’s softball team took on some of the most talented players in the world, while also welcoming back a few of their own in Nikia Williams, Ashley Charters, and Jenn Salling. The Huskies fell 6-0 to the All-Stars in a game that was called after the sixth inning due to heavy rain. NPF pitcher Kristina Thorson showed why she is an all star, going all six innings and only giving up two hits. The Huskies used three pitchers on the afternoon–junior Bryana Walker, freshman Jocelyn Cater, and junior Kaitlin Inglesby –each going two innings.
For head coach Heather Tarr, this game was not about the score, but about her team gaining experience and learning from the opportunity to play such high caliber players. “For our program to be able to bring some of the best softball players in the nation or in the world to play us is a huge opportunity,” says Tarr. “Facing a pitcher like Kristina Thorson–who is an amazing pitcher–is an opportunity for our hitters to learn from their experiences and to get better. So we thank them for coming out here and giving us a great game and helping us learn some lessons that we are going to need down the road.”
Tarr also believed that a game like this was not only good for the team, but good for the growth of the sport in this region. Along with hosting the game, the Huskies held a youth clinic on Sunday morning that drew kids from around the area. “We are trying to grow our game within our state, so it was so awesome to see how many young players were here for the camp before the game,” says Tarr. “There were about 150 kids here this morning, and for them to get to watch the best players play the game, it was an amazing experience for everybody.” Despite the weather, the crowd stuck around for most of the game and then headed over to Dempsey, where NPF players were signing autographs for the fans.
This game marks the end of UW’s fall ball, and Tarr is encouraged by what she saw during this short but important season.
“We’ve had a great fall. We have a new coaching staff as far as with [Assistant Coach] Brad Ditter, so he has really been helping us offensively, understanding what we are really going to need to do, and from an offensive vision standpoint, where we want to be at the end of the season,” Tarr says. “I think fall games in total, especially this game, have taught us a lot about ourselves–that we are pretty good–but what I think is more important is learning from today’s experience.”
As the Huskies head into their off-season Coach Tarr and her staff believe that it’s these kind of games that will prepare them for not only their tough conference schedule but the teams outside the conference that they will face in the Spring.
“Overall this kind of a game will teach us the lessons that we are going to need to have when we play against our conference opponents and some of the other opponents on our schedule.”