Commentary: Don't underestimate value of persistence, tenacity with Husky softball in College World Series

It’s been four years since the Huskies reached the Women’s College World Series. But it was five years ago tonight that I had this reaction to the Dawgs punching their ticket to Oklahoma City:

(Talking about 2018 UW Softball team) "Their nickname this season is appropriate. These women ARE unicorns. They’re unique. They’re special. They’re rare and hard to find. They deserve our full attention and respect when they travel to OKC." 

That 2018 team was so special that it reached the championship series and were national runners-up. And after what we saw last week, I’m inclined to say the same thing about this version too. 

I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, but the Huskies season was basically over. I mean, Pack up the van. Take your vacation. Plan for next year, OVER. They were down 6-0 in the last inning to McNeese in a must-win game, and no softball team had ever come back from six runs down in the final inning of an NCAA Tournament game. 

Comebacks like that just don’t happen. Unless you are this year’s Husky softball team. 

From Jadelyn Allchin to Kelley Lynch to Sami Reynolds and Madison Huskey, these athletes never quit. One out away, one strike away from elimination, they simply didn’t care. And it’s that attitude that makes me believe that this team – regardless of the odds – has a good chance to make waves in OKC.

Every team might be different. But think back to that team five years ago. Trailing Alabama 2-0 in the last inning. Sis Bates driving home the tying runs. Winning the game in extra innings. It’s that kind of grit that leads to that kind of magic, and helps bump a season from acceptable to extraordinary.  

A sold out crowd this weekend at Husky Stadium and those watching at home got to see extraordinary women reach the Promised Land for the 15th time in program history. And I encourage everyone who didn’t to tune in for what’s next. 

Because the Huskies might not be the favorite at the College World Series. In fact, out of eight teams, they have the sixth-highest seed. But there’s no measure for their courage or tenacity – no way to anticipate the value of persistence in the face of adversity. And no way to estimate the momentum and chemistry gained from overcoming the odds the way they’ve already done. 

We say it all the time, but these are the best stories in sports: When the unthinkable happens. When the enthusiasm is so contagious you can’t help but embrace that energy. 

Heather Tarr’s team has that on Montlake once again. It generates a stark warning to everyone else: Never count them out.