End of the Line for Most Dominant Husky Ever

Husky teams took a beating over the weekend with the Men's Crew, Men's Golf, and Women's Softball all being eliminated or beaten over a 24 hour period. In some ways all the results were unexpected.

But really, it's not so bad to finish second in the nation in crew (by a split second at that), end up with the top golfer in America, and get to watch the greatest single athlete in school history end her incredible run on national television as the top player in the country for the second-straight season.

After advancing to match play at the NCAA National Champsionship in Tennessee, the Huskies - led by Player of the Year Nick Taylor - were finally eliminated, by Oregon of all teams.

After rowing their way to the finals at the IRA, the Husky crew was defeated right at the finish by a Cal boat they had already beaten earlier.

Then to watch the end of Danielle Lawrie's career in a poorly played game against Arizona put the final nail in what could have been a stellar weekend for Washington's spring teams.

The softball flameout was particularly difficult, considering the high expectations of being the defending national champions. Lawrie, the greatest Washington softball pitcher ever, did everything she could to carry her team but eventually even she wore down.

It was hard to decide who to feel worse for, Lawrie or her second baseman, Amanda Fleischman, who had a simply nightmarish game both fielding as well as failing to touch home plate when trying to score a crucial run against the 'Cats.

Fleishman booted two ground balls during the game, giving Arizona unearned runs and essentially cost UW the game. She had already been put out trying to score from third when she simply stopped on the attempt thinking she had been tagged out. Little did she know that the Arizona catcher had actually dropped the ball and had she at least tried to touch home plate she may have been called safe.

It wasn't all her fault they lost but the poor girl will still have to live with that performance for the rest of her life. No one player or single play ever determines victory or defeat but they all add up and Washington simply had too many negative plays to win.

At the plate they didn't hit very well in the whole series, and even though Lawrie only gave up six hits to Arizona, three of them were timely singles that drove in runs. As she said, it just wasn't meant to be. She also added that the bottom line is you can't blame people - spoken like a true team player to the end.

Losing to Arizona, whose coach is so good he is also the National team coach, is nothing to be ashamed of. What was tough to handle was that the Huskies hadn't allowed more than one unearned run in a game all season long, and had also come into the tournament with the best fielding percentage of all eight World Series teams. Then to have three errors in a loser-out game against a well-coached team was simply too much to overcome.

Still, they had a chance at the end, and Lawrie continued to battle until the Huskies ran out of bullets.

So ended an unbelievable two-year run that turned Lawrie into an international sports star. Her college experience will probably carry her throughout the rest of her life. She is what a sports hero is all about: She was the biggest star on her team, in her league and in the whole country. 'Nuf said.

Danielle Lawrie also might end up the most decorated and honored player in any sport to ever wear the purple and gold. She might be the greatest Husky ever. Her records will stand for a long time, perhaps forever. Her statistics were stupid! She was the two-time National Player of the Year and the darling of Husky sports fans everywhere. There has never been such an overwhelmingly dominant player in Husky history.

Years ago I went to White Center Stadium and watched the King and his Court in a softball exhibition game against an all-star team of northwest players. The King (Eddie Feigner) was simply an unbelievable softball pitcher who only had four teammates; a catcher, a first baseman, one infielder and one outfielder. Nobody could beat them.

He was such a dominating pitcher that he could pitch from second base and still strike everyone out. He hit towering home runs and was simply unhittable because his pitches moved so much the batters were baffled at the plate. I went behind the backstop to watch that night and it was one of the most unbelievable things I've ever seen in sports. I had never seen anything like it until I saw Danielle Lawrie.

For UW softball, Lawrie was the Queen and her teammates were the Court. We all simply thought she would always find a way to win, but it just wasn't in the cards.

Bottom line is on that day they didn't play well enough to beat Arizona and their own mistakes proved the difference.

What was great though, was that the expectations were there to be the best, be the National Champions. It was the exact same for the other two other sports. Both were in it to win it. Crew only missed their goal by a split second.

As sad as the weekend was it was still great for Husky pride. To see so many programs competing for championships is sure a lot better than drug scandals, coaches getting fired, and teams not even having a chance. Things have changed over the past few years.

It starting to be fun to be a Husky again.


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