Chuck Stark: Francis represents fastpitch's past and present
You've come a long way, baby.
Since the advent of commercial television, has there ever been a better ad slogan? That clever marketing theme for a women's cigarette introduced in the late 1960s was dancing in my head as I stood behind the backstop at one of the fields at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds & Events Center, taking in what might be the best game in the world on a chilly Wednesday afternoon.
Yeah, I'm a bit prejudiced. I played men's fastpitch into my early 40s and I still miss it.
While I tracked Bellevue Community College coach Leah Francis in the third-base coaching box during its softball game against Olympic College, I was also peeking across the way to watch high school teams from Olympic and Port Angeles preparing for a game that was about to start.
Softball has come a long way since Francis was in high school at North Mason. Some of the state's schools had switched from slowpitch to fastpitch in the early 1990s, but not the Bulldogs.
Francis, a two-time state javelin champion and a basketball star, played slowpitch for fun during her senior year. "Just to hang out with my buds," she said. Her real passion was saved for the Diamond Dusters, the local club that set the standard for youth fastpitch in Kitsap County.
Copyright © 2012 Northwest Association of Community Colleges. All rights reserved.