After clinching its third consecutive Pac-12 Championship over the weekend, the No. 1 Oregon Ducks softball team (46-6) under New Zealand legend, coach Mike White, will continue its “spring reign” as the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks will face BYU on Thursday, after a Fresno State vs North Dakota State matchup, in a four-team double-elimination Eugene Regional at Howe Field.
This year’s regional appearance marks Oregon’s sixth appearance in as many years with former ISF World Champion pitcher. And it isn’t just a coincidence that the two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year has these talented Oregon women primed and ready for college softball’s biggest stage.
— 95.3 The Score (@953TheScore) May 13, 2015
White is a product of New Zealand’s rich softball history, which dates back to the 1930s, reaching a fever pitch during World War II – after American servicemen stationed in the country frequently played baseball and softball against local athletes. In 1944, New Zealand adopted the official New Zealand Softball Association (NZSA), which has grown steadily ever since.
Over the decades, this “other country down under” has produced some of the world’s finest fastpitch softball players, and White is still among the best of them.
White pitched for the New Zealand men’s softball national team, the Black Sox, under legendary head coach Mike Walsh. Between 1984 and 1996, White and the Black Sox made four consecutive world championship appearances, bringing home two gold medals and two silver medals.
In 1996, White was enshrined in the history books as one the greatest pitchers in New Zealand fastpitch history after pitching a perfect game in a 4-0 shutout gold medal game victory over Canada.
— Oregon Duck Softball (@OregonSB) May 10, 2015
The Kiwi coach has brought his love of the game and world championship-caliber softball IQ to Eugene. He has installed an aggressive brand of softball, combining potent offensive firepower with suffocating pitching, putting Oregon in contention for the nation’s highest collegiate prize: the Women’s College World Series.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 11, 2015
If White’s personal accomplishments are any indication of what these Ducks are capable of achieving, it should be an exciting postseason and another chance to watch the nation’s best softball team begin its own journey for fastpitch glory on its home field.
The Eugene Regional Schedule – Thursday, May 14th: North Dakota State vs Fresno State at 2 pm and then Oregon vs BYU at 5 pm.
Top photo by Dave Peaks
Jordan is a lifelong Duck fan currently living in San Diego. Jordan graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, after serving a prestigious fellowship with the Washington State House of Representatives. Upon graduation, he worked as an English language teaching assistant for the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Ambassadorial Program in Monforte de Lemos, Spain. Jordan has worked as a journalist, writer, and editor in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and California, covering a wide range of topics, including sports, local politics, and crime. He is VERY excited to be writing about his beloved Oregon Ducks.
SIGN UP for the New FishDuck Commenting/Posting System!
The first step toward some big additions to the site is moving away from the Disqus system, to our own new commenting/posting system for the great discussions below the articles. Signing up now will automatically have you registered in the new forum that will be released in the next three weeks.
It takes a minute is all, and will allow us to continue our amazing discussions of Oregon Sports in a new format that will allow more flexibility over time as we add features. Sign-up now!