Maybe These Ladies Need To Testify

Thu, 01 May 2008 10:25:14 +0000

This may be the classiest thing you ever see in sports:

From the Associated Press, here's what happened:

MONMOUTH, Ore. (AP) - A senior with a .153 career batting average hits her first home run, a three-run blast, to help Western Oregon move closer to a spot in the NCAA's Division II softball playoffs.

That was improbable. To 70-year-old Central Washington coach Gary Frederick, what happened next was "unbelievable."

Sara Tucholsky, the 5-foot-2-inch right fielder, sprinted to first as the ball cleared the center field fence Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash. Given that she had never hit a ball out of the park, even in practice, she was excited. So excited she missed first base.

A couple yards past the bag, she stopped to go back and touch it. But she collapsed with a knee injury.

"I was in a lot of pain," she told The Oregonian newspaper on Tuesday. "Our first-base coach was telling me I had to crawl back to first base. 'I can't touch you,' she said, 'or you'll be out. I can't help you."'

Despite the agony, Tucholsky crawled back to first.

Western Oregon coach Pam Knox ran onto the field and talked to the umpires. The umpires said the coach could place a substitute runner at first. Tucholsky would be credited with a single.

"The umpires said a player cannot be assisted by their team around the bases," Knox said. "But it is her only home run in four years. She is going to kill me if we sub and take it away. But at same time I was concerned for her. I didn't know what to do."

An opponent did.

Central Washington first baseman Mallory Holtman, the all-time home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked the umpire if she and her teammates could carry Tucholsky around the bases.

The umpires said nothing in the rule book precluded help from the opposition.

Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace lifted Tucholsky and resumed the home-run walk, stopping to let Tucholsky touch the bases with her good leg.

There's video at the link. The picture is also part of ESPN.COM's Freeze Frame feature this week.