The 2018 CAN Softball Tournament saw the Pittsburgh Panthers repeat as champions. They had a first round scare against Florida, before taking out Maryland, Catholic, and Georgia to reach the championship game. Facing Penn State after that brutal run, the Panthers looked tired, but so did the Nittany Lions. In a long game with a lot of walks and errors, Pittsburgh outlasted their in-state rivals, 18-17, to take home the championship trophy.
Rain played a part once again, delaying some late games on the first weekend Saturday, then stopping play with two sets of Sunday games remaining. A few of those games were made up during the week on Ohio Drive, while the Florida-Rutgers game was played the morning of the second weekend, leaving the bracket matchups in some doubt until that game was played.
As usual, there were some unique plays and instances. This year, during the Yale-Georgia game, one player was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct, three plays AFTER the action occurred. A few innings and a 20-minute rain delay later, the player was allowed back into the game. Both teams played the rest of the game under protest. Umpiring was again an issue, including during the championship game when the home plate umpire’s legal pitching zone was questionable and inconsistent. But having the umpires has been good for this tournament, even if they do make mistakes and cause a lot of frustration and anger among players. They make the calls, mostly correct, and you live with what they call.
Scorekeeping remains an issue. Some scorers did not even put their name on the sheets, so placing blame or giving credit for their efforts is not possible. Some did an excellent job, some were messy and hard to figure out, while some were just plain bad. Lots of plays were not scored properly and the advancement of runners on most plays were a guess on my part. I tried to piece this all together as best as I could, but I am sure there are mistakes and inaccuracies in the scoring. If you notice something that is not correct, please feel free to let me know and I will check into it and make the correction.
Thanks again to Ashley, Daryl, Nubbins, Jess, Cory and the rest of the tournament staff who work so hard to put everything together. This year we had 945 participants from 62 different teams and it takes a great deal of work to organize an event of this size. Special thanks to Crystal City Sports Pub for the catered food the first weekend and to the guys who operate the beer trucks.