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Alabama Softball Prittcol

Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts celebrates her perfect-game victory over UCLA in the Women's College World Series.

When I called my mother on Sunday and asked what she was doing, she responded by saying she and my father were watching sports.

Already a bit of an odd response, I asked what in particular they were watching.

“We’re watching that Montana Fouts pitch,” she said, referring to Alabama’s ace in the circle.

Folks, softball has made it.

I’m not going to spend an entire column preaching from that worn pulpit again. I’ve beaten that drum like a Neal Peart solo in recent weeks and years. But that’s usually from the prep perspective, and while I’ve seen some great things on the diamond locally in recent weeks, the show that has been put on at the College World Series has been unbelievable.

So here’s a tip of the visor.

From Fouts’ perfect game over UCLA on her 21st birthday to James Madison’s Odicci Alexander becoming a household name, from the never-say-die Florida State Seminoles and their four-straight elimination-game wins to Oklahoma’s powerhouse of a lineup also making a run from the losers bracket, it has been a week to remember.

It’s nice to see the sport continue to find its place in the national consciousness, to see the masses let in on the secret that some of us have known for years — the game is just flat-out fun to watch. And if you don’t think I’ll be watching the College World Series best-of-three championship round between FSU and Oklahoma, which started Tuesday night, you don’t know a stolen base from catcher’s indifference.

OK, maybe not the best analogy.

But yeah, I’ll be watching. So Mom, if you need a third in your watch party, I’m in. Especially if you’re cooking.

Speaking of sports and the national conscience, how great is this Bryson DeChambeau-Brooks Koepka golf deal?

Koepka landed the best and latest blow over the weekend, and he wasn’t even playing.

But DeChambeau was at The Memorial. That’s where, on the first day, several members of the gallery shouted “Let’s go Brooksie!” at DeChambeau after shots, a reference to the ever-mounting feud between two of golf’s biggest names.

Reportedly, it led to fans being removed from the premises, leading to Koepka to come flying off the top rope with an extended elbow out via Instagram video. In it, he thanked fans for, “shouting his name” and offered 50 free cases of Michelob Ultra (a Koepka sponsor) to the first 50 patrons who sent a direct message claiming to have been kicked out.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge fan of either player, but that changed in a big hurry with Koepka’s latest flex. No matter how you feel about either of them, the spat is bringing a lot of attention to the game and, more importantly, shining a light on the personalities of two guys who haven’t exactly been open books when it’s come to who they are. For better or worse.

Oh, and Brooksie, I’d like to report that I too was kicked out of The Memorial last week. I don’t need to present a ticket stub, right?

Seems I have misplaced it.

I may have been sucked back into watching the Pittsburgh Pirates occasionally again.

Now my ban on all ticket and future clothing purchases remains until Bob Nutting sells the team. I know, I don’t have much hope of attending the cathedral that is PNC Park or rocking a new hat anytime soon. The one I have that has faded to red after accidentally being bleached will have to suffice.

But just as a fan of the game, Ke’Bryan Hayes is proving to be must-see TV. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound third baseman has gone a cool 7 for 18 since returning from the injured list four games ago and his talent and five-tool potential is undeniable. He’s a flash in the field, hits for power, steals bases — the total package the likes of which I haven’t seen since Andrew McCutchen’s early days in a Pirate uniform.

And so, I guess I better watch while I still can. Who knows how long before he’s traded for the ghost of a veteran pitcher, a no-named player, ironically, to be named later and cash considerations that will likely be considered as income by Nutting.

But man, is he going to be a force in pinstripes someday soon.

Contact Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948 or ryan.pritt@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @RPritt.

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