Oklahoma’s 2-0 loss to Washington on Thursday didn’t come without some controversy. After struggling for most of the afternoon to get their offense going, the Sooners were working on putting together a 2-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. With Sydney Romero, on second and Jocelyn Alo on first, Shay Knighten cranked a shot to right field that appeared to be botched by the Huskies’ Trysten Melhart.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) May 31, 2018
The play was immediately ruled a catch, subsequently ending the inning and Oklahoma’s rally, but the decision was met with protest from OU coaches and fans.
“It was hard for me to see from where I was but any time Coach Lombard I goes running out to something, I know that she sees something that I don’t, so I jumped in on that,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “I saw the ball come out after it looked like maybe she made the catch but I don’t know.”
“I don’t know what — they said that it was a 100 percent clean catch right to me. That’s what the umpire said — like I’m 100 percent sure that she made the catch, and the transfer is when the ball came out. That was what I was told.” – Patty Gasso
The problem is that it was anything from a 100 percent clean catch. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a catch either, I’m just saying that it was far from clean.
Clean or not, the NCAA is siding with the umpires in saying that it was in fact a catch. “The right fielder caught the ball,” NCAA Secretary Rules-Editor Vickie Van Kleeck said in a past game statement to a pool reporter.
“She made the catch. And the ball was dropped on the transfer, trying to take the ball from her glove to her hand. This is considered a secondary motion, so it’s ruled a catch. Any type of secondary motion, not standing so much as the transfer. It was ruled on the transfer. That secondary motion means that the catch was good.” – NCAA Secretary Rules-Editor Vickie Van Kleeck
Oklahoma fans are going to counter that the ball appeared to be in her bare hand and not her glove hand, thus making the rule not applicable in this situation. Much like Patty Gasso’s protest, theirs will fall on deaf ears as well.
“He just looked right at him and said, are you 100 percent sure that that ball was caught, and he said, I am 100 percent sure,” Gasso said about her conference with the umpires. “How am I going to change that call? There’s nothing I can do unless we had some instant replay, which we don’t. That’s another subject for another time.”