Missouri Softball’s season ended last Sunday when Baylor’s Holly Holl hit a line-drive home run off of Chelsea Thomas in the thirteenth inning of a remarkable pitchers duel between Thomas and Whitney Canion of Baylor. While Thomas struck out 19 batters, which tied for second all-time in the Women’s College World Series, Canion gave up only two Mizzou hits in the game. Despite Thomas’s all-world performance, she simply did not get the run support she needed before Holl ended the game with her home run.
It ended a simply fabulous season for the Lady Tigers, who ended the year 53-10, won the Big 12 Championship, got to the WCWS for the third straight year, and won their first WCWS game in those three appearances against Oklahoma. Despite so many great seasons from great players like Rhea Taylor, Ashley Fleming, and Nicole Hudson (and that’s just scraping the surface of the sheer amount of talent this team had), Chelsea Thomas was far and away the MVP of the team. Thomas, only a sophomore, had an absolutely dominant year that ended with her being a top three finalist for the ASAUSA National Player of the Year, losing out to the junior from Stanford, Ashley Hansen. For any of you that may have missed out on Thomas and her accomplishments, here are a few that I snagged from NCAA.com…
- ERA: 0.83 (1st in the Nation)
- Strikeouts Per Seven Innings: 10.4 (9th in the Nation)
- Strikeouts: 364 (6th in the Nation)
- Shutouts:13 (Tied for 8th in the Nation)
- Hits Allowed Per Seven Innings: 3.53 (6th in the Nation)
- W-L: 31-6 (Tied for 9th most wins in the Nation)
- Walks Per Seven Innings: 1.25 (19th in the Nation)
Thomas finished in the top 20 in all of those major statistics, and all of them beside walks per seven innings were in the top 10 in the entire country. Not too shabby.
While the NCAA is still ruled by football and basketball, and while it’s unlikely that it will ever be different, it’s still nice to see Missouri athletics seeing success over all sports, whether it’s in softball, baseball, wrestling, or anything else. Ehren Earleywine (AKA Tremendous Stubble®) has done a hell of a job building this program into a national powerhouse, and I look forward to seeing what new successes the team will bring in the future. And yes, I’m definitely looking forward to two more years of Chelsea Thomas mowing helpless batters down.
Go Tiger Softball, and congrats on another kick-ass season!