The Face of Women’s Softball

Sunday May 1, 2011 – On Saturday, I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of the greatest pitchers in history.

This hurler has thrown more no-hitters and more perfect games than anyone ever has in organized sports. This flame-thrower practically carried the U.S.A Olympic team to a Gold Medal in the 2004 games.

The person I am speaking of is Jennie Finch, a softball phenom who became a household name when she played for the University of Arizona and later won a Gold Medal (2004) and a Silver Medal (2008) in the Olympics.

In case you’re wondering how dominating was Finch during her college years, maybe this will answer the question … She posted a 29-2 record with a 0.79 ERA during her junior year, and she went 32-0 with a 0.54 ERA during her senior year.

I will be writing a story about Finch in the upcoming Women’s Issue of Yankee Magazine, which will be published later this summer.

The story will appear in a section that includes several people who have furthered the development of women’s sports.

During her collegiate, Olympic and professional careers, Finch’s performance and magnetic personality drew more young women to the sport than anyone who had come before her. For millions of girls, Finch became a role model, symbolizing everything that is good about sports and celebrity.

Since hanging up her spikes, Finch has worked with a countless number of young women on the softball diamond.

In addition to Finch’s nation-wide softball camps — which are in session throughout the year — she is one of the driving forces behind Diamond Nation, the largest baseball/softball academy in the United States.

That’s where I met up with Finch on Saturday for my second interview with her (the first took place in Scottsdale, Arizona in March).

Finch was at the 700,000 square-foot facility in Flemington, N.J. for a softball tournament.

When she wasn’t signing autographs, Finch could be found in the dugout of one of the many fields on site. She also coached first base during the tournament, and she gave pitching, hitting and fielding demonstrations.

And when I asked Finch if she planned to continue to work with young women into the future, she didn’t hesitate

“I will be involved  with this game as long as I can,” she said. “I want to help these girls dream, I want them to dream big.”

This facility is the Disney World of softball,” Finch continued. “It really proves how rapidly our game is developing. To see the opportunities these kids have, to start playing at such young ages, is the best part of what I do. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

–Alfred Santasiere III

 

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