Enjoy the slow-mo replays in all their glory. As you can see, Oregon SS Kelsey Chambers is attempting to turn a double play. But after she steps on second base and rears back to sling the ball to first, Tennessee baserunner Lauren Gibson doesn’t slide. And thus we arrive at the ball-to-the-face conclusion.
It’s difficult to determine the best part of this play. Is it the fact that Chambers, without hesitation, threw the ball into Gibson’s face from less than five feet away? Is it Gibson’s non-reaction following the play? Or is it the subsequent explanation by the ESPN announcers (which is worth listening to)? The batter, Madison Shipman, is ruled out because it’s the runner’s (Gibson’s) responsibility to get out of the way, even if she had minimal time to slide or change direction. But, as our resident softball expert, CJ Fogler, notes, Gibson never leaves the base path, so blame should be placed on the fielder. We’re going to blame Chambers, the shortstop, because, you know, she callously threw the ball into someone’s face from point blank range.
Anyway, this is why they wear face masks.
Video via CJ Fogler