Photo by Pat Radigan
By Pat Radigan
Softball is coming back to the Olympics.
I’m sure that’s exactly where you expected this newsletter to pick back up, but it’s important to Huskers fans for one specific reason.
We’ll get to that, the frail ego of Big Ten refs and more. Before we did that, though, we wanted to give you a quick refresher about what Around the Corn is, and what this newsletter is all about as we get into the 2018 edition of this Husker sports season. The dangerous part? We’ve already submitted the Podcast feed to iTunes…
Enjoy the short scoreboard while you can. Things are about to get real hectic in a hurry.
What’s Going On
Nebraska – 62
No. 13 Purdue – 74
Nebraska – 69
Northwestern – 59
Evanston Township HS
No. 16 Nebraska – 17
No. 14 Illinois – 18
No. 16 Nebraska – 48
Maryland – 3
Casual Husker wrestling fans know names like Jordan Burroughs and James Green, but this year’s edition of Nebraska wrestling is still searching for that “face of the program” figure.
Without anyone stepping up to be “the guy,” Nebraska had dropped three straight dual results, including an 18-17 loss to No. 12 Illinois after the score ended tied at 17. The Illini won on the total points tiebreaker, and it left Nebraska in need of a spark in Sunday’s matchup with Maryland.
There have been times when you can tell that Nebraska has a chip on its shoulder. Sunday was different.
The match started with a forfeit win for NU at 157 pounds. Each forfeit costs six team points, and you usually see it in case of an injury or when a team is pretty confident that there’s going to be a pin, which is also worth six points.
It took just 81 seconds for Nebraska to get six more.
Isaiah White got the first pin to make it 12-0, and another forfeit at 174 pounds as part of building a 30-3 lead. The lead was enough for Nebraska to secure the win, even if Maryland were to pin the remaining four wrestlers. It wasn’t enough though.
The Huskers put an exclamation point on the win with three pins in a row to end the dual. Jason Renteria went first, and made the most of his dual debut to put away a pin in 1:48. No. 8 Chad Red Jr. had a frustrating first period that included a penalty point for Maryland. Just 22 seconds into the second period, Red ended it.
Colton McCrystal took the mat for the finale, and for the second-straight match an 8th-ranked Husker had a frustrating first period. McCrystal started the second period on bottom, and earned the first point of the match with an escape. All it took was 17 seconds in the period for McCrystal to get the pin and end the dual.
Why Eye Contact is Sometimes Bad
If you’ve spent an entire day having shots blocked and affected by a pair of 7-footers, I can only imagine how it’d feel to get to throw it down in their face.
Isaac Copeland got to live that dream.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 6, 2018
But you’ll also see in the video that after roughly 1.42 seconds of eye contact, Copeland got a “T” for unsportsmanlike conduct, or some shit.
Now, there are a lot of actual issues to take with this technical, but I’m going to to go the petty route and point out two crucial things. First, look at how emphatic the ref is in hitting him with the hand signal. In fact, he hits the “T” twice in his exuberance to punish Copeland for letting the swag drip all over Isaac Haas.
You can see the refs frail masculinity bursting through his calm exterior.
The other fun fact is that later in the game, the same ref overruled the the shot clock and gave the ball back to Nebraska. It sounds like a sound decision, but here was the situation: A tipped ball had gone into Purdue’s backcourt, and went out of bounds with a second on the shot clock. But Mr. Referee knew better.
He overruled the shot clock, then went over to the scorer’s table and reviewed the play since the clock still showed a second. On review, the ball hit someone on the Husker bench with a second clearly on the clock. It didn’t matter, the ref confirmed his call on review.
In a world where Ted Valentine is threatening to retire over acting like a child, maybe we should take more notice of how refs behave before it changes the outcome of a game.
Call It As You See It
As mentioned in the sidebar, the activity level in Lincoln is about to kick up substantially.
Just this weekend, Nebraska will host a wrestling dual, two tennis matches and a track meet in addition to Saturday night’s women’s basketball game. Then swimming comes back to Lincoln, and the home debut for Nebraska gymnastics, and so much more.
Before we get too far into the season, though, I wanted to give you one quick piece of advice: Go to tennis matches.
If you like pure competition and athleticism, there are few sports that combine the two like tennis. There’s the intensity of the one-set doubles matches, the mental battle of singles play and the wildcard: The fact players make their own out calls. Now, I’m not saying there is any cheating or “gamesmanship” that goes on, but there’s just something that adds to the fact that hotly contested matches always contain a questionable call or two.
It’s a lot of fun to watch up close and personal, and it comes back to the Dillon Tennis Center this Saturday.
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It’s hard to put into words the impact Taylor Edwards has had on every level of softball she has touched.
As a Husker, she set 17 records, tied an NCAA record with two grand slams in a game and guided Nebraska to the Women’s College World Series. Edwards holds Nebraska career records with 54 home runs, four grand slams and holds both the walks record (150) and the record for number of times hit by a pitch (39). She’s also set NU records with eight RBIs in a game, four runs scored and ended her career as second all-time in terms of career RBIs.
The casual sports fan may not know it, but there is a professional softball league, National Pro Fastpitch, and it didn’t take long for Edwards to make her mark there, either. It took a year to ‘adjust’ before Edwards, alongside her twin sister Tatum, won the NPF title in 2015 with the Chicago Bandits. Taylor played a crucial role in Chicago going back-to-back in 2016, then wound up bringing a title to Houston when Edwards moved to the Scrap Yard Dawgs for the 2017 season.
And that’s only scratching the surface of what Taylor Edwards has accomplished, and only focuses on the on-field accomplishments. That doesn’t include the type of teammate she is, or the fact that you could see Edwards in the Allen Fieldhouse crowd cheering on the Husker women’s basketball team to a comeback win at Kansas.
This weekend, Edwards added another title to her impressive resume: American Hero.
OK, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but if you were one of two catchers named to the Team USA roster, I wouldn’t stop you from claiming the title. Either way, Edwards was selected to represent the stars and the stripes at the World Cup of Softball next year on the way to softball returning to the 2020 Olympic Games. That makes Edwards part of the No. 1 team in the world, and gives her a leg up on securing a spot to represent the USA in Tokyo in 2020.
So what’d you do over your winter break?