I have been to a great many close softball games. I've been to games decided when a player hurdles the catch, to games decided on walk off hits, and to games that dragged on into interminable extra innings as both teams fought for the win. Today was not one of those games. Team Farr pounded Team Abell 24-5 as one group of the Xavier boys bludgeoned the other one into submission. That leaves very little in the way of narrative drama to build here.
Team Abell took the lead in the first and promptly gave it away in the second. By the end of one it was 5-1, but it wasn't getting better. It was 7-2 for James Farr and his crew after two. That's a lead, but in softball anything can happen, so Team Abell was still, theoretically, in the game. By the bottom of the fourth, though, it was 20-4 in favor of Team Farr. JP Macura took home MVP honors for his part in the thrashing, and for all of Team Abell's bluster before the game, they mostly went gently into that good night (or afternoon).
Top notch softball skill was not the order of the day. These guys are all in the top 1% of athletes in the nation, but their skills are honed to other things. There were a good many fans in attendance and the players were all having a great time both playing and mingling with the Xavier faithful, but it's possible their gifts lie more on the hardwood.
There were some rather interesting lines take to balls in the outfield as guys used to tracking a basketball were suddenly looking in the sky for a tiny yellow sphere. (No, I don't know why that is on Jalen's head).
And while everyone (mostly) looks good with the bat cocked and ready, some of the ensuing swings and trips down the line were not textbook. If only this were the only bad baseball being played in Ohio right now.
Still, the main focus of the day was the team getting out and having a good time and interacting with fans. Consider for a moment that these guys came within six minutes of the Elite Eight, have one of the most impressive Sweet Sixteen appearance records in college basketball, and play in what is undoubtedly the biggest name conference in the nation. Xavier always has been and remains special for the way that the whole university comports itself. That was on display again on a scorching hot July day. This team is easy to cheer for because partially because these guys aren't afraid to just have some fun. In an era of UK teams that come down a conveyor belt and the consistent almost animatronic Duke squads, some guys chasing a softball around really stand out. They'll stand out come March as well.