The Gators 8-0 loss to Washington in Game 1 of the Women's College World Series Championship Series means more than putting UF in a 0-1 hole. For the first time all season, the Gators have to question their mortality. Never before had a team so thoroughly dominated the Gators. Washington looks like they can handle the Gators at every position, and UF responded by recording only two hits, striking out 12 times, committing two errors (including one epic error which swung momentum in the 3rd), and looking nothing like a team that has won 63 games. To use a more recent analogy, the Gators looked like the Cavs in Orlando.
No matter what happens in Game 2 tonight (or a possible Game 3), this is the most successful Gator season and that should not be forgotten. But you don't get this far to earn credit. No one remembers that the 2001 Mariners won 116 games, the 1998 Vikings were 15-1, and eventually the 2007 Patriots will be a footnote too. In the grand history of Florida Athletics, 63 wins for 2009 Softball will just be a round number.
Tonight we will truly see what The Best Dressed Women In Gainesville are made of. Do they fall into a shell, letting another Pac-10 team roll to a National Championship (it would be the 1st for Washington, 22nd for the Pac-10)? Or do they rally back, finding ways to hit against the best pitcher in the Nation?
To be honest, it's a little bit uncomfortable for me to be critical of this team. Friends of mine have played for the team, and I got to cover the team for AM850. But let's be realistic for a moment. When you think of Florida's great Volleyball and Gymnastics programs, you remember they've never won an NCAA title. As good as Baseball has and will be (it was huge beating annual boogie-man Miami in the regionals), they will be 3rd place in the state without a championship. I don't want Softball stuck in that same mindset. With death looking them square in the face, Florida must respond.