Big day for local women's college sports yesterday, specifically fastpitch softball, a sport near and dear to our heart.
First, the big-time (i.e. Division I) news:
Arizona State moved on to the Super-Regionals as the solar eclipse faded into the night, beating scrappy Syracuse 4-0 in the elimination "if" game in Tempe.
Sophomore pitching ace Dallas Escobedo threw the shutout to seal the deal, and will be front and center next weekend on the home diamond as the Sun Devils play Lafayette-Louisiana in a best-of-three.
Winner of that goes to the College World Series in Oklahoma City, where ASU would love to try to defend its national title.
But we're here to tell ya--as good as the ASU program is these days, the Phoenix College women's softball team is, year in and year out, the best junior-college outfit in the land.
The Bears took the National Junior College Division II national championship on Saturday night, defeating top-ranked and defending national champs LSU-Eunice twice, to win its eighth title in the last 11 years.
That is Boston Celtics-like, as in a dynasty.
Phoenix was no slouch going in, with 51 wins and ranked second. But they had to beat a top-notch team twice in a row, no small task.
One of the team's two pitchers was a story in herself--Gina Medina Van Arsdall, who won the must-win game that got the Bears into the final game, is 37 years old, which officially makes her an old-timer.
We want to know more about her.
Sarah Ray, from Yuma, was the team's ace, and won the title game 2-1.
Phoenix head coach Heinz Mueller has been at the helm for all eight championships.