Oregon Softball: Recent Player Departures Cause for Concern?

Jordan Ingram Editorials

Nothing hurts more than losing in the postseason, especially when you are eliminated by the school’s former coach. But as the Oregon Ducks softball team accepts the season’s finality, Ducks head coach Melyssa Lombardi will also have to reckon with the departure of three players to the transfer portal.

Infielders Alyssa Brito, Mya Felder and Jazzy Contreras all announced their decision to leave Eugene and enter the portal shortly after the Ducks’ (40-17) loss to the Texas Longhorns in a late-night NCAA Regional thriller on May 23 in Austin, Texas.

This was after the NCAA snubbed the Ducks by withholding a top-16 seed (and with it, home-field advantage for the regional opener) despite Oregon finishing the Coaches’ Poll ranked 10th.

Brutal.

To be fair, the NCCA decision not to award the Ducks a home-field opener was completely out of Lombardi’s control and was shockingly disrespectful to those players who had one heckuva season. Heartbreaking? Yes. Worth changing teams? I really can’t say, but I’d guess many of us were surprised by Brito, Felder and Contreras heading for the exits.

There were so many high hopes for the Ducks under Lombardi this year and in a lot of ways, a ton of great things came together. Great hitting, solid pitching and smart game-planning really put the Ducks ahead of the pack.

So why is Oregon losing players after posting a successful regular season and a playoff appearance (albeit a short-lived one)? It’s either a cause for concern or a sign of the times — a new normal within the college transfer portal.

Is this just a normal drop-off following a disappointing finish to an exciting season? Or is there something larger at play here? Is there something Lombardi needs to change or do better to keep players longer and win more games in the postseason?

Jordan Ingram 
San Diego, California
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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