Feb. 22, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball team will return home from the 2004 Palm Springs Classic with a 5-3 record, as the team’s Sunday morning match up with #12/18 Tennessee was cancelled due to rain.
It was a bit of a frustrating end to the tournament for the Irish, who seemed to get back on track late vs. #8/8 Stanford (a 4-2 loss) and a hard-fought 10-0 loss to the U.S. Olympic Team (the Irish held Team USA to one run over four innings). Both of those contests were encouraging signs for Notre Dame, who seemed to lose their way for one game vs. Pacific (a 12-1, five-inning loss). The Irish did begin the tournament with a 4-3 victory over Utah.
The cancellation due to rain is also a bit frustrating in the fact that nasty weather seems to follow the Irish around the country – especially when the team travels to Southern California. It is quite suprising that the Irish had to sit through one two-hour rain delay (on Friday evening), then have a rain out in the arid climate of Palm Springs – which only averages 14 days of rain a year. Notre Dame did have the ability to wait an hour to play the game on Sunday morning, but Tennessee needed start the game on time – allowing the team to make their flight out on Sunday afternoon.
Notre Dame will return to action on Friday, Feb. 27, in ‘Pool Play’ action at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., next weekend. The Irish will face NW State at 2:30 p.m., followed by a match up with #6/6 Georgia at 5:00 p.m. Pool Play ends for Notre Dame with a game vs. #20/17 CS Fullerton before Bracket Play begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Bracket play could bring the Irish any combination of ranked opponents, as the NFCA Leadoff Clasic boasts one of the top-ranked fields in the nation.
WEEKEND NOTES: The Notre Dame offense struggled during the Palm Springs Classic, managing just a .203 batting average for the team … sophomore Sara Schoonaert was the top hitter for Notre Dame – going two for five at the plate with a walk … Schoonaert’s steady play in the nine hole of Notre Dame’s line up dictated a move to second, as freshman Stephanie Brown has been shifted to the nine spot … Schoonaert responded to the shift, posting two hits in the exhibition game against the U.S. Olympic Team … Schoonaert was also strong on defense at shortstop – converting on all nine defensive chances she had over the weekend.