Tiger Team Full of Pride
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Mizzou's Chelsea Thomas and Baylor's Whitney Canion threw a combined for 463 Pitches and 30 Strikeouts in 13 innings on Saturday night. Missouri lost to Baylor after a walk-off homer but the game left the Tigers full of pride.
For the third straight year, the Tigers finish with a new wins record for the program. This year they finish with 53 and finally got that College World Series victory.
The Tigers and Bears played a 13 inning marathon that ended with one swing of the bat.
"Even though the ball went over the fence," said Senior Outfielder Rhea Taylor, "I still think it was a great four years despite what happened."
What happened was one of the great pitcher's duels of all-time. Mizzou's Chelsea Thomas tossed 192 pitches and picked up 19 strikeouts.
"I'm just so proud of her in so many different ways," said Coach Ehren Earleywine. "She knows that tonight wasn't her fault. We didn't hit. She pitched brilliant. One of the best pitching performances I've ever seen."
"From where it started until now is completely two different teams. I'm proud to say I play for Mizzou and I wouldn't trade anything," Taylor said.
Taylor leaves Missouri as the most decorated softball player in school history, but it's not all the school records Coach Earleywine will remember about his seniors.
"This group of kids have allowed me to get contract extensions, and keep my job and stay where I want to be. I will be eternally grateful for what they have done personally in my life," said Earleywine.
Coach says the senior's accomplishments translate into future success.
"What those seniors have done over the last four years has allowed us to attract top recruits," Earleywine said. "It's just going to keep getting better and better, but it if wasn't for them we wouldn't be able to attract those kids...they're the pioneers."
Senior Catcher Megan Christopher said, "Now they're getting great recruits and the program's only going to get better. You're just going to keep seeing Missouri down here in the World Series and we're going to come up on top one time."
Although the Tigers lose nine seniors, Chelsea Thomas returns for her junior year next season. This year she finished with a .095 ERA and 397 strikeouts.
Mizzou has 155 wins the last three seasons combined.