Each of today's nominees scored upsets in the first and second rounds. Today's winner advances to the championship round of the Pappy Waldorf region. Who advances, the legendary two-time CWS pitcher or the Super Bowl Champion? Check out the most recently updated bracket here.
Probably, within the context of softball, Jolene's workload is less insane looking. But from someone raised in the era of strict MLB pitch counts and constant horrific pitching injuries, I have always had trouble comprehending how it is possible for Jolene Henderson to pitch as much as she pitches.
Freshman: 192.2 innings
Sophomore: 333.1 innings
Junior: 282.1 innings
Senior: 286.2 innings (despite an injury that kept her out a few weeks.)
The softball season lasts about 4 months. Jolene was throwing significantly more innings over 4 months than most major league starting pitchers would throw over 6 months. In 2011, with Valerie Arioto injured and out for the season, and as a result Jolene pitched 87 percent of the available innings.
OK, so we've established that she has an indestructible rubber arm. But just being able to throw a ton of pitches doesn't mean much if they aren't good pitches.
They were the best pitches. During that insane sophomore season Jo finished with an ERA of .99 despite carrying the burden of pitching nearly every competitive inning available. And her workload didn't come back to haunt her in the playoffs (when she, of course, pitched every inning). She just kept right on dominating all the way to the softball World Series.
I've always wondered if the reason that Jolene can throw so many innings without any obvious impacts to her effectiveness is because of her best pitch: the change-up. I haven't seen a ton of Cal softball games, and yet I still feel like I've watched batters swing over the top of way out in front of her change-up more times than I can count. Maybe the arm action (and not having to constantly throw as hard as you can) on a change-up allows her to stay fresh. Maybe I'm just fishing for plausible explanations for the unexplainable. Either way, her change-up sits right up there with Rob Nenn's slider and anything Yu Darvish as my favorite pitches to watch.
She departs Cal as perhaps the best pitcher since the legendary Michelle Granger (who, looking at the record books, compiled even more insane numbers.) A mid-season injury this year likely prevented her from attacking some of the more hallowed career pitching records that Granger still holds. It's a shame that her injury prevented her from dominating this year like she did earlier, but it does nothing to diminish her resume as a Bear.
And the most important part of her resume? Without Jolene, Cal doesn't achieve two College World Series appearances and one Pac-12 title.
(12) Desmond Bishop
Cal vs. Washington 2006 Bishop seals the victory (via HairOfTheBear)
People remember Marshawn owning things on the offensive end in that UW game, but they might forget that Bishop was a one man wrecking crew on D (16 tackles and the game clinching INT).
Throughout 2006 he was our defensive leader, and we certainly missed that fire in 2007.
Twist weighs in:
The Fiery Emotional and Vocally Inspiring Leader - this type of leader is emotional. He'll also have big time emotional celebrations after a big play, inspiring his teammates with confidence and energy. But what makes this type of leader different from the Fiery Emotional Cocky Leader is his ability to emotionally pick up his players. He's the one prowling the benches, screaming, and inspiring his teammates with words and speeches to find the heart within them to play harder and not quit. An example of this type of leader from last year's team would be Desmond Bishop.
As a senior in 2006, he became the first Bear in 13 years to lead the league in tackles with 126 and was named 1st-Team All-Pac-10. He had a knack for the big play - whether it was key stop, forced fumble, or game-clinching interception.
Questions about his speed caused him to drop to the 6th round, but his work ethic and determination quickly earned him the nod over more touted prospects when Green Bay's starters became injured. Already famous for his creative and entertaining twitter persona, http://twitter.com/#!/desbishop55, he backed up his words with solid play throughout the playoffs and in this year's Super Bowl victory.
Who advances to the championship round of the Pappy Waldorf region?
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