It Might Have Been the Dawn of New Era in College Softball

Creighton and Utah battled through a sunset, a sunrise and consecutive 31- and 25-inning games last weekend before a Western Athletic Conference softball champion was crowned.

Creighton pulled out a 1-0 victory in the 31-inning game, the longest in NCAA history, to force a second game in the double-elimination tournament. The "nightcap" ended at 6:08 a.m. Sunday when Utah's Christina Freeman scored from second base on an error by Creighton first baseman Teir Wilber to give the Utes a 4-3 victory and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

"We say put it all out on the field and leave exhausted," Creighton Coach Mary Higgins said. "I didn't think it would come quite to this."

Add softball: Kelly Brookhart of Creighton pitched a complete game in the opener, earning a shutout despite giving up 25 hits. Utah left a record 34 runners on base. In the second game, Brookhart pitched the last 20 1/3 innings. Earlier on Saturday, she had pitched a seven-inning shutout against New Mexico.

"After a while, my arm just went numb and I really didn't feel it at all," said Brookhart, who didn't give up an earned run in 58 1/3 innings.

Her tongue hurt, though. "I lick my fingers between innings, and it was getting pretty sore," she said.

Trivia time: In the Ivy League, spring football practice is limited to how many days?

Like father, like . . .: From Bruce Keidan of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Like his father, Harry, Skip Caray is a first-rate baseball announcer. I used to think it was a genetic thing. But then I heard Skip's son, Chip, do play-by-play on an Atlanta Braves telecast on TBS. Either the boy was adopted or I was wrong."


The sweet science: Mike Tyson to Razor Ruddock, during a news conference to announce their June rematch: "I know you're really a transvestite and really like me . . . I'm gonna make you my girlfriend."

Foul ball: A high school baseball game in Philadelphia this week ended when the visiting team protested the quality of the baseballs.

Coach Alex Saddic of the home team, University City High, brought only three new balls to the game. When they were lost by the fourth inning, he gave the umpires practice balls. In the sixth, with University City leading, 10-6, Coach Charlie Brown of the visiting team, Engineering and Science High, pulled his team off the field.

The baseballs, Brown said, were cheap.

"I think it was sour grapes," Saddic said. "We don't have an endless supply of new balls. This isn't the suburbs. . . . It wasn't like we were using Ping-Pong balls."

The game will be replayed in its entirety.

Trivia answer: One.

Quotebook: Tim Burke of the Montreal Expos, a devout Christian, on the compatibility of baseball and religion: "If Jesus were on the field, he'd be pitching inside and breaking up double plays."

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