Knights Knocked Out of AAC Softball Championship Tourney by Lowly East Carolina

Knights Knocked Out of AAC Softball Championship Tourney by Lowly East Carolina

Last Thursday the softball squad from East Carolina eliminated our UCF Knights on day one of the conference championship tourney. I love and support the Knights but that was a huge disappointment for me. UCF was the no. 3 seed; E.C. was in the AAC cellar before the tournament. Perhaps being the host team helped the Pirates kick it up a notch or two.

The Knights finished with a 29-23 record for the 2017 campaign; it was not a bad season considering how young the squad is and that one has to consider it to have been a rebuilding year.

Yes, die-hard fans like me can look forward to the next few years now that the team has more maturity. There certainly is no lack of talent. And coach Rene Luers-Gillispie and her staff are very good at what they do. But the quick exits from the American Athletic Conference the last two years have dampened this dog’s enthusiasm just a bit.

Damn, what a whiner I am! #ChargeOn, Knights fans!


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile


UCF Softballers Bash UConn in Home Finale

UCF Softballers Bash UConn in Home Finale

What you’re seeing in the featured photo is a softball about a millisecond before Knights catcher Cassady Brewer crushes it into the stands in right-center field. I caught that first inning shot, it was the first of the two round-trippers she smacked on Sunday afternoon.

The second was a walk off grand slam, which triggered an immediate 9-0 run rule victory for the Knights in the sixth. UConn bested them on Friday night with two grand slams of their own; UCF’s intrepid softball squad took game two on Saturday and yesterday’s convincing win gave them that badly-needed 2-1 series edge.

I did not catch Cassady’s coup de grâce on film. I had put my camera away by then. I just wanted the luxury of watching the game without being in my usual “don’t miss this next shot” mode, and so I stashed my pride and joy in the car. That’ll teach me! Of course, merely seeing it with my eyes is still one of the best moments of the 2017 season! (If you’d like to read my posting about an earlier round-tripper from Brewer, one that bested Baylor, catch the one dated March 20 of this year.)

This was the last home game for the Knights. Sad to see the season wrapping up. There are four more regular season games, a single tilt with BCC in Daytona on Wednesday. And then a three game series in Tulsa with the Golden Hurricane. And when the AAC Tournament kicks off, Tulsa may well be the team to beat; but you can bet that the Knights will show up in Greenville ready to play.

UCF had/is having a decent season — their record after Sunday stands at 25-21, falling far short of last year’s campaign. The 2016 squad made it to the regional play-offs last May where they beat FAU twice but were eliminated by the Gators. I traveled up to G’ville for that tourney and enjoyed it immensely in spite of the Knights not advancing.

As this season winds down, let me contrast the current season with last year’s to shed a bit more light on recent UCF softball history. The 2016 incarnation of the Knights was really good, finishing 38-22 and delighting UCF fans all over Central Florida. The only down side: the team graduated eight seniors including ace pitcher Shelby Turnier, catcher and power hitter Samantha McCloskey and slugger Jamie Ujvary. Shelby — as you may know if you follow the sport — had a stellar first season at the pro level with the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch.

It was apparent to most fans that the Knights would have a hard time topping last year’s season and so their 25-21 record at this point with four regular season games left is not a bad 2017 campaign. As far as how UCF’s softballers may fare in the future, there are no fewer than nine freshmen on the squad, including a gaggle of pitchers who show a lot of promise, so I’m looking for great things from UCF moving forward. And in the meantime, the results of Sunday’s outing will send the squad into their last series and the AAC tourney ready to show their stuff.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Shelby Turnier on Instagram: “So I grew up a little today. I’m so excited to start this next chapter as an assistant coach at UNF!”

Congratulations to Chicago Bandits pitcher Shelby Turnier on another milestone in her stellar career. The former UCF Ace is now on the UNF staff. We UCF fans are fine with it. The Ospreys are not in our conference! Good on you, Shelby!

See this Instagram photo by @shelbyturnier7 • 303 likes

Source: Shelby Turnier on Instagram: “So I grew up a little today. I’m so excited to start this next chapter as an assistant coach at UNF!”