Virginia Tech left fielder Kinsey Johnson ran forward, lowering her glove to field a Sammy Fernandez single. Alyssa Dewes was approaching third base, ready to head home. But Johnson misjudged the ball, as it went rolling next to her, all the way to the warning track. The crowd erupted and Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch threw his hands in the air, celebrating the walk-off single.“We’ve been on the other end of those a few times,” Bosch said. “We were well due for that.”Fernandez’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning led Syracuse (28-18, 8-10 Atlantic Coast ) over Virginia Tech (19-32, 5-17) 3-2 this Friday in the first game of this weekend’s home series. The Orange’s offense struggled all day, only collecting three runs on five hits, and only three hits until the last half inning. But, with a 2-2 game in the bottom of the seventh inning, the hits came.The team scored two early runs, one apiece in the second and third innings. But after that, Virginia Tech starter Carrie Eberle stalled the Syracuse offense. SU failed to put a single runner on base during the fourth and fifth innings.For a while it looked like the two runs would be all Syracuse needed. Starter Alexa Romero didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings, and only walked one batter after a full count and a ball on the outside corner that had SU fans upset. But then Romero gave up a home run in the fourth, and a Sammy Fernandez error extended the inning, allowing another run to tie the game at 2-2.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the bottom of the sixth, SU looked like it would pull back ahead. Alicia Hansen walked to lead off the inning, and after a 10-pitch at-bat, Sydney O’Hara doubled to advance Hansen to third. Runners on second and third. No one out.Two quick groundouts and a pop fly later, Hansen and O’Hara jogged back to the dugout after being stranded on base. Three opportunities to bring a single run home and not one player could do it.“That’s the game,” Bosch said. “It was a frustrating moment. You hope that somebody can lift a fly ball, hit a ball to the right side, even get a hit. That’d be great too!”On the flip side, SU stumbled out the gates to start the seventh. Jessica Heese took a ball off her side to get on first. Up next came Olivia Martinez, the team’s leader in sacrifice bunts. And she did just that, attempted to lay down a bunt. But this time, she missed. The ball snuck under Martinez’s bat, and Heese, who already jumped out to run to second base was caught in a pickle. VT catcher Lauren Duff gunned the ball down to second base for the tag, easily beating Heese’s slide.Instead of having Heese on second with Fernandez at the plate, Martinez was down in an 0-1 count with nobody on.“I just knew I needed to do something to get on base,” Martinez said. “I didn’t care what it was. I just knew that I needed to find some way to at least get to first.”The next pitch she saw was low and away, and the righty pulled the ball deep to right field, toeing the line and bouncing all the way to the wall for a stand-up double.With Fernandez up to bat, Bosch subbed Dewes in as a pinch runner on second.Any ball to the outfield, and Dewes would take off. The outfield was also playing deeper than Bosch thought it would, he said, giving Dewes that much more room to fly around the bases.Fernandez ripped the first pitch, an outside drop-ball, over shortstop Jessie Mehr’s head and into left field. Dewes immediately jumped off second and raced for third. Johnson came storming in from deep left field to scoop the ball and attempt to throw out Dewes at home, but she missed the ball, giving Dewes an easy path, and Fernandez the walk-off single.The team raced out of the dugout, jumping up and down around the plate. Fernandez pumped her right fist in the air, as she ran the bases, clapping along the way.“Knowing I made that error that cost us a run,” Fernandez said, “it was nice to clear my mind, come back and be able to step up for the team.” Comments Published on April 28, 2017 at 7:29 pm Contact Matt: email@example.com Facebook Twitter Google+
China wants to control the narrative. Even outside the country, China can do just that through its harsh penalties for those who dare to speak against the government. Blizzard’s decision tells e-athletes, “Keep your mouth shut and play.” Blizzard also stated that the content of Blitzchung’s message did not have an effect on the penalties enforced. Given the recent events concerning the NBA and China, that’s hard to believe. As his punishment, Blitzchung had to forfeit all of his current season prize earnings and was issued a year-long suspension. These are private entities, and if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t want players kneeling during the national anthem, he can make that law if he wants to. Blizzard made Blitzchung an example. He is an example for professional players to limit themselves to solely the game when they are “on the clock.” This situation shares some similarities with the recent NBA controversy of the past week. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey received harsh criticism after he tweeted in support of the Hong Kong demonstrations. The difference: It was the Chinese government and sponsors taking action against Morey and the Rockets, the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver. Silver actually backed Morey’s right to voice his opinion. Several days after handing down the ban, Activision Blizzard issued a statement in an effort to clear the air around the actions of pro players. Sam Arslanian is a junior writing about esports. He is also a former sports editor of Daily Trojan. His column, “Plug & Play,” runs every other Wednesday. “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our time,” Blitzchung said in Mandarin in an interview while wearing a gas mask and a pair of goggles. “Esports exist to create opportunities for players from around the world, from different cultures, and from different backgrounds, to come together to compete and share their passion for gaming,” the statement read. It’s the same argument as the Colin Kaepernick kneeling situation. How much authority does the league or company have? Technically, all of it. Above all, it must ensure that it doesn’t disturb or attempt to influence the gaming community. The difference between the NBA and Activision Blizzard is that Silver backed free speech, citing that it is not the NBA’s place to police what its people say. This portion of the statement sounds harsh, but the company’s intent is understandable. Foremost, Blizzard doesn’t want to look like it supports what its players say, and it is willing to limit its players to just playing the game to ensure that it doesn’t cross any boundaries. What this likely comes down to, as everything in the modern world does, is money. Activision Blizzard has a massive player base in China, and a significant portion of its professional players are from there. Activision Blizzard needed to act fast; it did that with a snap-call ban. No warnings, no discussions, nothing. It sounds like Blizzard will only limit what players say when they are appearing on official Blizzard content. What happens if the protests continue or grow and more players start speaking out? Does Blizzard let them do that on their own time? Will Blizzard want outspoken activists on its roster? How will it react if the Chinese government pressures it? While everyone was focused on the situation between China and the NBA over a week ago, esports had its own controversy. Activision Blizzard, the maker of Hearthstone, banned Chinese Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai from competitive play after he verbally supported the Hong Kong protests on a Hearthstone official stream. Silver’s decision tells players, “We want you here for who you are.” “Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views,” Blizzard’s statement read. In the same way, Activision Blizzard can prevent players from supporting the Hong Kong protests if it chooses to do so. It may not be morally right, but it’s not illegal. The answer is unknown, but Blizzard needs to make it very clear to its players what they can and cannot say and when they can and cannot say it. The last edition of this column discussed the importance of community within the burgeoning industry of professional esports. Blizzard’s short-fuse reaction has damaged its reputation — even though it later reduced the ban to six months and gave Blitzchung his prize money. Players shouldn’t have to look over their shoulders every time they speak their minds.