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Monday, June 20, 2016

Pro Golfers Are Not Liars

Forgive me this opportunity to wander a bit off of the Auburn centric here this one time. This is something that infuriated me, and I just have to get it off my chest.

Yesterday on June 19th, 2016 the U.S.G.A. made a ruling that forever changes the game of golf. In essence, the ruling body of golf called Dustin Johnson a liar.

Here is the rule as it currently is written:

 " On the other hand, if the Committee determines, based on all of the evidence it has available, that the ball changed its position by an amount that was reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time, the ball is deemed to have moved. As the player did not replace the ball, he incurs a penalty under the applicable Rule and Rule 20-7c for playing from a wrong place."

In the past, the golfer in question, has relied on another player, or an official to help decide the correct course of action. The golfer whose ball it is, has the responsibility to accurately portray the events to his playing partner(s) or a rules official, and then the determination can be made whether a penalty has occurred. 

Not any more. It seems the U.S.G.A. has called into question the character and integrity of all  professionals  in the sport they claim they are the  guardians of.

 "These principles apply to any review of technological evidence by the Committee, whether before the player makes his next stroke or any time thereafter. These principles also apply in a situation in which the player made no determination whether or not his ball at rest moved (e.g., because he had walked away from his ball after addressing it, was not looking at his ball, or otherwise did not observe any motion of the ball or have any reason to believe that his ball might have moved).
Before determining whether his ball has moved, it is advisable for the player to obtain information from nearby witnesses to the incident and to seek guidance from a referee if one is immediately available. (Revised)"

In this case the rule needs changing, and the player, any witnesses, and the organization officials on the scene should be the determining body, not some committee that is limited by what they see on a screen in an air conditioned  building off of the course.

Get this right U.S.G.A.! Change the wording of the rule, and put the trust back where it belongs in golf, back in the hands of the professionals.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Softball Season Highlights

The Auburn Softball season is now over after a 2-1 loss to Oklahoma last night. Makayla Martin pitched a gem of a game and only 2 Oklahoma runs crossed the plate and they were unearned. 

That game could have gone either way and Oklahoma was able to get a few more breaks to take the ring. Clint Myers told the Auburn team when he arrived 3 years ago that he intended to take them to the World Series and now Auburn has been twice.

It has been a pleasure to report on Auburn Softball this season and the ladies have represented Auburn University well. Here are some of the highlights in my playbook.

1) Rachel Walters pitching a no hitter against Samford. She almost pitched a perfect game that evening, but did issue a walk.
After the walk, she retired 15 straight batters
that walk. Also, I might add that Jade Rhodes hit a grand slam in that game, Kasey Cooper was 2 for 2 with 4 RBIs, and Tiffany Howard had 3 hits and two RBIs. If you wanted to see the Auburn hitters at work, this was the game to watch.

2) The Auburn/UGA 3 game series in the regular season. Auburn was down by 2 runs in the first game of this 3 game series and Kasey Kooper hit a walk off 3 run home run in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs. and Auburn won the game 4-3.

3) The 2016 SEC tournament in Starkville, MS. Auburn beat Alabama 6-4 and Makayla Martin pitched a great game. Clint Myers stated that "she was an ice queen out there." Auburn went on to upset the number 1 Florida Gators 2-1. Carlee Wallace hit a 2 run home run and
Kaylee Carlson put in a solid pitching performance. Auburn played LSU for the SEC Championship and came out with a dominating 7-1 win. The Tiffany Howard 2 run home run was the highlight of this game for me.

4)The Super Regional at Auburn's field against Arizona. I did attend the double header on Sunday. Auburn won the first game of the day 4-1 and the second game 6-1. The highlight for me was the Haley Fagan home run that hit near our seating area in left field.

5) The "historic" Women's College Softball World Series. Auburn began their quest for the "ring" on June 2. Auburn played UCLA in the first game and 4 batters were hit by pitches during the first inning and I will call this the "hit by a pitch" game. Auburn scored 5 runs in the first inning and won the game 10-3 and they were in the winner's bracket.

On June 4th, Auburn played UGA. Once again, Auburn came from behind in the 7th inning and won the game 4-3. Kasey Cooper and Emily Carosone drove in an RBI and Jade Rhodes hit a fielder's choice that gave Auburn the lead.
On June 5th, Auburn played FSU once again. FSU would have to defeat Auburn twice to play in the finals of the World Series. Once again, Auburn won this game in a dramatic 8-7 win. Victoria Draper made a diving catch in this game that I viewed later on ESPN. I really think that the catch may have given Auburn the momentum to win the game. The 8th inning started with a single by Madi Gipson to left field that was booted. The error allowed Madi to reach 3rd base. Morgan Podany went in as a pinch runner and scored on a fielder's choice by Whitney Jordan. In this game, Kasey Cooper set a school home run record that she shared with Jade Rhodes. She hit her 20th home run of the season. Also, the home run tied Emily Carosone's RBI total of 80 that was set in 2015.

Auburn would now face Oklahoma on June 6th for the World Series Championship. Oklahoma won the first game 3-2 and the big win came on Tuesday night when Auburn won the game 11-7 with a walk-off grand slam home run by Emily Carosone. Oklahoma led thos game 7-0 by the 2nd inning. This comeback set a record for the Women's College World Series as the biggest comeback in the history of the World Series. Kasey Cooper did break the Auburn RBI record in this game. Also, Tiffany Howard made the catch of the season by reaching over the left field wall and catching a sure 2 run home run by timing her leap perfectly.

6) Playing for "Turtle". Kelsey Bogaards had just returned to the line up after rehabbing her knee and blew out her other knee in her comeback. The Auburn team rallied around Kelsey and wore the green ribbons in their hair for the remainder of this season.

The pain of this loss still lingers for me: however, Auburn had their best season in school history with a 58-12 record. Auburn won their second straight SEC Championship and their first time in the "ring" game of the College World Series. As I have said before, Clint Myers has done wonders for this Auburn Softball program and I am already looking forward to next season. I am hoping that some of this magic will transfer to the football team.

Go out and watch this team play next season. There will be some tune up games in the Fall and we can all watch the new recruits play. 

War Eagle and Thank you for memories.

Auburn's emotional presser after losing the WCWS to Oklahoma

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Thank you, Softball Seniors.

So....Auburn softball seniors. Where do I start? You all have changed this for future generations. 

I know you girls are disappointed. I know that you wanted one more inning. Let me tell you something. You have CHANGED the game at Auburn. You have changed college softball in the state of Alabama. It's no secret that I spend half my weekends at tournaments. I played ball til the end of high school. There was not really college softball in the south when I went to college. You fought for all of us who did not get the chance to play at the level you did. You played for all of those who will come after you. You played for AUBURN. You were amazingly fun to watch. Really, it's more than that- you have been APPOINTMENT TV (unless we were at our own games). Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the hours of work, sweat, tears, and dedication. I wish I could do more or say more but this is the best I can do.
The least I can do is thank the seniors individually.

Tiffany Howard- My Ella- her number is also number 1. She has watched you every time Auburn was on tv when she wasn't playing herself. I cannot tell you how much your persistence and hard work have shown her. There is only so much that we can teach her and show her but what she has learned watching you has been amazing. Thank you for everything you have done for Auburn. You all have set a foundation in place for Auburn softball that is going to make a difference. It already has made a  difference. Also thanks for your dedication in the classroom as well as on the field.

Emily Carosone- You helped to make a change in Auburn that won't ever be able to be compared.  You helped to lead this team and this senior class to make a difference . I cannot say thank you enough for the hard work and dedication.  I know you will go on to great things. My nieces have LOVED watching you and the team.  When the national champ trophy does come home to Auburn, you will know that your hard work was a part of it. Thank you.

Jade Rhodes- My  niece, Emma has loved watching you play. You always had a smile in your game and that means a lot to me. Emma gets nervous and upset sometimes, so for her to see you play, it makes a huge difference for her.  Thank you for the hard work and dedication that you put in. This group of seniors has changed the face of college softball in this state. Thank you for all that you have done for Auburn. I know that we will hear great things from you.

Madison Dickey- All of you have worked so hard. This group of seniors has been incredible. You ALL have changed the face of softball at Auburn and in the state of Alabama. As a matter of fact, it has been changed in the SEC. I wouldn't have traded any of you on this team for any other player in the country. Thank you for all of you hard work and dedication to Auburn. I know we will hear great things from you in the future. Thank you.

Maria Mitchell- I didn't get to see you play all that much, but we missed many of the tv games at our own tournaments. I tell you this. I wouldn't trade any member of this team for any other player in the nation. You seniors, yall have changed things for this school. Auburn softball will NEVER be the same. The state of Alabama softball will never be the same. Thank you for all of the hard work that you all have put in. I cannot tell you how much we have loved watching this year. Your time and dedication was noticed and won't be forgotten. Thank you. I know we will hear great things from you.

Kelsey Bogaards- It sucks to end your senior year with an injury. You didn't quit though. You could've pouted and disappeared, but you didn't do that. My nieces who play softball were watching. They saw that you kept showing up after you were hurt. That gave them the idea that you don't have to quit when it gets hard. Thank you. Thanks for what you have done for Auburn. This group has changed Auburn softball forever. Your hard work won't ever be forgotten.

Rachael Walters- You are another favorite player of my nieces. They are twins and they have loved watching you play. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Your play at Auburn has made a difference for many years down the road. Auburn softball has been changed forever. There is a whole generation of young girls who have been watching the last two college world series. They think they can make it to play there, and they know they can do it at Auburn. Thank you for all of your dedication. I know that you will do great things. Thank you.

Marcy Harper- Wow, what a year for you. Congratulations on everything that you have done! Please know that we have LOVED watching Auburn softball. This senior class has made a difference that won't ever be forgotten. A foundation has been laid that will be there because this class put it there. Thank you. When the national champ trophy DOES come to Auburn (and it will) you will know that you had a hand in it. Thank you.

Lexi Davis- Wow, we are going to miss you. Thank you for everything that you did for Auburn the last few years. This senior class is really special. You all set a foundation for future generations that won't ever be removed. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication. You have always been fun to interact with on twitter. My nieces have enjoyed  watching you and this team. Auburn softball won't EVER be the same, and it is because of this senior class. Your hard work has been noticed and it is appreciated. 

Thank you and War Eagle!

Hear what Auburn said after a dramatic 11-7 win over Oklahoma

The Greatest Comeback in the Women's College Softball World Series

As you know by now, the Auburn Women's Softball team defeated Oklahoma 11-7 in another wild finish. I had barely finished eating dinner last night and Oklahoma already had a 7-0 lead over Auburn by the 2nd inning. Oklahoma scored 1 run in the first inning and added 6 more runs in the top of the second inning.

  Rachael Walters came in to relieve Kaylee Carlson in the 2nd inning. Rachael pitched 4 solid innings allowing 4 hits and no runs.

Auburn began their incredible comeback in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Oklahoma decided to go with a right handed pitcher, Kelsey Stevens instead of their ace, Paige Parker who had pitched every game in the post season.

Auburn began their incredible comeback in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Whitney Jordan hit a 3 run home run and Victoria Draper singled in a run. Auburn tied the game in the 4th inning after a two run blast by Kasey Cooper.

In the top of the 6th inning, Shay Knighten of Oklahoma hit a deep ball to left field and Tiffany Howard reached beyond the fence and came up with the catch to save 2 runs.

Makayla Martin came in to relieve Rachel Walters in the 7th inning and allowed just 1 hit for the remainder of the game.

 Emily Carosone came up to bat in the bottom the 8th inning with the bases loaded and hit a grand slam home run on the first pitch that was in her zone to end the game 11-7 in favor of Auburn.

Auburn now has one more game to play to take the Women's World Series crown. I do expect Oklahoma to start their ace, Paige Parker and Auburn will continue to use their pitching depth. I feel that it will be an exciting night for this Auburn Softball team and a chance to go down in the Auburn record books.

Play well tonight ladies and get that ring! I hope to see you all rolling the tree at Jane B. Moore field when you do return.

War Eagle!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Giving Gus Some Credit

Gene Chizik paces the Auburn sideline. photographer: unknown

Let me take you back in time a bit. It's 2010 and Auburn had just won a national championship at football. It's first in 53 years. Everyone was happy, right? Well, not exactly.

During the spring of 2011 a former Auburn player had come back to Auburn to train with then strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall.  He noticed a change had taken place and that the fear of missing one of Coach Yoxall's training sessions had been "Taken AWAY."

The 2011season came around and lo and behold the fast Auburn offense was moving at a considerably slower pace. Most blamed the head coach Gene Chizik for meddling with Gus' HUNH offense. 

The 2012 Auburn's football team played below mediocre. Gus had moved on to take the head coaches position at Arkansas State. 

Many thought Gus was the reason that Auburn won the national championship in 2010. Change had to happen and fast at Auburn. 

Jay Jacobs formed a committee, of which he was not a part of, to search for the best coach in the business. The choice was unanimous, Gus Malzahn was their man.
And so it began.

Since Gus' return Auburn has played in a national championship game in 2013. Set a record for A Day attendance, and season ticket sales. 

Auburn has continually recruited inside the Top 10 in the nation. Continuing to bring the very best athletes to our football program. 

The biggest complaint on Gus from fans and media alike is that the program did not meet media expectations in 2016. MEDIA EXPECTATIONS! 

More football players are graduating, and indeed the 2 year APR rose significantly under Gus' watch.  

With the new contract extension announced, Gus will be with us for few more years to come. That means stability in a program that desperately needs it. 

I full well realize that a significant improvement NEEDS to take place on the football field this season. I have stated that many times. 

The question is: If I know this is what needs to happen, don't you think Gus and his staff know this as well? 

While I respect the opinions of many, if not all of my readers, I would like to see some restraint in calling for the axe to fall. 

Let's all get behind Gus. His accomplishments far outweigh his lack of wins on the field in 2015.

War Eagle!

Auburn Softball vs Oklahoma WCWS Game 1 Highlights

Lexi Davis went the full game on the mound for Auburn. Her heroic effort wasn't quite enough as the team bats went eerily silent for the most part until the last inning rally came up just a bit short. 

Our Tigers play again tonight in hopes to extend the best of three National Championship series. 

War Eagle!

Monday, June 6, 2016

An Historic Night for Auburn Softball

Here are the highlights of Auburn's big 8-7 win over the Florida State Seminoles on Sunday evening. Carlee Wallace, Jade Rhodes and Kasey Cooper all hit home runs against the solid FSU pitching. Carlee Wallace and Jade Rhodes had 3 RBIs a piece and Kasey Cooper and Whitney Jordan added 1 RBI each. 

Auburn used the pitching talent of Kaylee Carlson, Makayla Martin and Rachel Walters to get the win. Clint and Corey Myers seemed to make the pitching changes to match up with the FSU batters and Kaylee Carlson was credited with the win.  

FSU did tie the game 7-7 with a 3 run home run in the top of the 7th inning.  Auburn staged another exciting comeback in the bottom of the 8th inning. Madi Gipson led off with a single to left field and the ball was booted by the FSU left fielder which allowed Madi to make it to third base. Auburn put in Morgan Podany to pinch run for Madi Gipson. Whitney Jordan hit into a fielder's choice and Morgan was safe at the plate.

This Auburn Softball team is now in the record books as the first team to make it to the College Softball World Series. Auburn will now play the Oklahoma Sooners for the coveted World Series ring. I expect a great 2 out of 3 game series and Auburn has the bats and the pitching to win this World Series.

War Eagle and enjoy the rest of this piece of Auburn history.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Special Time for Auburn Softball

Here is a video to prepare you for some more Auburn Softball today. As you know by now, Auburn did defeat Georgia last night 4-3 in a dramatic comeback win in the 7th inning.  Makayla Martin pitched for 2 innings and was relieved by Rachel Walters. Rachel stayed in for 5 innings and pitched a great game. It did seem to me that Clint Myers may have noticed that the UGA batters had trouble hitting left handed pitching in prior games.

The 7th inning of this game was special. Victoria Draper started the inning by getting on base and then Tiffany Howard hit an infield single. Kasey Cooper and Emily Carosone got base hits to tie the game. Jade Rhodes was involved in an unusual play. She hit a ball to second and Emily Carosone forced a tag at second base. Jade Rhodes thought that she had been thrown out; therefore, she was returning to the dug out and the Auburn first base coach assisted her to first base since she was safe. Of course, this is not allowed so Jade Rhodes was out. In the meantime, Kasey Cooper scored from third on a heads up base running play which gave Auburn the lead 4-3.

 Auburn will now play the winner of the FSU/Michigan game at 6 p.m. CDT this evening. If Auburn wins, they will then move on to the finals that will begin on Monday. It will be the best 2 out of 3 series.

Enjoy the game!

Auburn Softball vs Georgia WCWS Highlights

Previewing The Schedule

I often wonder why I write about Auburn football in the preseason. It's an exercise in futility most summers. Guessing who will start where, and which player will step up their game is a crapshoot. How many wins will Auburn have at season's end? Well, that is as easy as picking the right lotto numbers. 

There isn't a prize for guessing correctly. Certainly, anytime I can talk about my Tigers, I relish the conversation. It's just that, this year is beyond different.

Last summer, most of us were drinking Orange and Navy KoolAide with most of the media. Jeremy Johnson was going to finally be handed the keys to the Malzahn (BMW i8?) offense, and the coronation would be supreme.

My how things have changed.

 While the HUNH offense struggled mightily, the Auburn defense grew stronger. Jeremy Johnson's coronation was intercepted along the way to JHS, and Auburn struggled to finish above .500 for the season.  That's in the past. So is our old way of previewing the Tiger football schedule.

Let's take a different approach this summer, and see where it takes us, okay? I'll examine each opponent briefly and then grade Auburn's chances based on a scale that I developed. (read: made up)

TOUGH = Auburn would have to play superbly, and take advantage of every mistake the opponent makes.
OH REALLY? = This game should be both entertaining and close. Either team could win.
GIVE ME A BREAK = Auburn should win this if they play like an SEC West team.
IN THE BAG = No way Auburn looses the game. ( don't expect to see this a lot after what happened last season against Jax State).

Date Game Location Time

09/03/16 vs. Clemson Auburn 8:00 p.m. CT
09/10/16 vs. Arkansas State Auburn TBA
09/17/16 vs. Texas A & M * Auburn TBA
09/24/16 vs. LSU * Auburn TBA
10/01/16 vs. Louisiana-Monroe (HC) Auburn TBA
10/08/16 at Mississippi State * Starkville, Miss. TBA
10/22/16 vs. Arkansas * Auburn TBA
10/29/16 at Ole Miss * Oxford, Miss. TBA
11/05/16 vs. Vanderbilt * Auburn TBA
11/12/16 at Georgia * Athens, Ga. TBA
11/19/16 vs. Alabama A & M Auburn TBA
11/26/16 at Alabama * Tuscaloosa, Ala. TBA

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Game 1 for Auburn at the College Softball World Series

It was a great start for the Auburn Softball team in OKC today. Auburn defeated UCLA 10-3 and will now face UGA who did beat FSU today 5-4. Due to the rainy weather, the Auburn/UGA game will now be played at 6 p.m. CDT on Saturday. Auburn did beat UGA 3 times in the regular season so I am hoping that the streak will continue. 

The game against UCLA was interesting since 4 Auburn batters were hit in the first inning and 5 runs were scored with only one hit. 

UCLA actually pitched to Kasey Cooper and she had 2 RBIs in the game. She does have a nice swing and sees the ball well. Also, Haley Fagan continued to perform well by driving in 2 runs.

Auburn is now in the winner's bracket and I expect them to play well against UGA.