Turf Talk: When it Rains, it Pours

It is out of my realm but so be it. This is just a caveat for a surge of super-human strength in Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium.

ASU softball makes it rain; unfortunately I didn’t bring an umbrella. But with a 35-4 record this season, I should’ve reckoned that they were good. Maybe I should’ve worn a helmet instead, knowing their skill.

An illustration of the power of the softball team.

I say this from experience. I was getting my daily club sport fill at the lacrosse field several feet from the back walls of Farrington; the confines of the stadium are already 200-plus feet within.

While reporting on men’s lacrosse, I had two jobs: get one heck of a story and dodge the hail storm of softballs coming over the outfield fences. I got my workout for the year dodging the softballs (when I wasn’t hiding under a soccer goal).

“I don’t know how they do that,” defensive coach John Lamon says as the balls land. He swears they have super-human strength.

I kid you not, these balls would tower the fences of Farrington and land midfield on the lacrosse field.

The lacrosse team is used to this. As ball after ball plummeted onto the field, Lamon would just look over the fence of Farrington, jaw dropped. Lamon was not speechless, no, but would go on and on, questioning how in the world they were launching the softballs that far.

After being side-tracked, though, Lamon regrouped to focus on his team. This was a usual occurrence anyways.

I have a theory: there is a secret routine to head coach Chris Malone’s lacrosse practices. Malone has to know this. This is why they have to be so good.

Like my high school football days, Malone ends practice with conditioning. The team does sprints and ladders — running segments of the field until they run the full length. They are gassers because everyone is huffing and puffing at the end. He worked them like the nationally recognized team they are.

During these conditioners, softball players are knocking ball after ball over the fence and onto the lacrosse field. I’m not talking about scattered showers. I’m talking about a downpour.

Sure, Malone doesn’t want his players to trip up on a softball. So, his players retrieve the balls and throw them off the field. And there it is: his players run to midfield and back, retrieving softballs on top of doing their conditioning. That’s what I call conditioning upon conditioning. I now know why they are doubled-over at the final whistle if not on the ground ready to be buried.

It’s great to see teams help each other. The lacrosse team retrieves the balls for the softball players while the lacrosse team becomes a track team. It reminds me of playing fetch with my dog.

Only if NCAA field dimensions were double the regulation size, only then might the field hold those homers. So, hats off to a championship bound softball team and helmets on for those roaming anywhere in a 1,000 mile radius of Farrington.

As for the lacrosse team, I don’t think they will need any substitutes for any of the games ahead.

Are there any other powerhouse teams out there? E-mail me at bcapria@asu.edu.