Kelley Inouye Perez Brings Back Bad Memories
Last night, that sick feeling came back. The one I had hoped would never return. The one where my gut was telling me that a Bruin coach was making bad decisions and costing a Bruin team a chance at victory.
With the first pitch to the first batter of the UCLA v. ASU softball game, my stomach turned. It never got better.
Coach Inouye-Perez was pulling a Dorrell. By making Bruin pitcher Jelly Seldin walk ASU hitting star Kaitlin Cochran, Inouye-Perez sent a bad message. She showed absolutely no confidence in Jelly Seldin who, until that moment, had been strong in her tournament games. To make matters worse, she forced her to walk another ASU batter. Jelly faced a bases loaded, no outs situation -- and worked hard to get out of it.
Coach I-P wasn't done. Cochran, who had been moved up to lead off because she was getting intentional walks, was deliberately walked again, on I-P's orders. This time we weren't so lucky. Cochran scored.
In fact, there should be no surprise that Cochran would score. In the tournament, before our game, she had been walked, intentionally, 8 times and scored on four of those occasions.
By the end of the night, she had been walked 11 times and scored on 7.
That's right, I-P did it again. And, again.
Her comment? "I have a lot of confidence that Jelly can pitch out of a hole". But, not enough confidence to let her pitch to a lead off batter?
On each occasion, Cochran was the lead off batter. What's the worst thing that could have happened? A solo home run? Do you really think in her three at bats she would have hit 2 home runs -- scored twice?
And, forced to issue intentional walks, Seldin had trouble getting back into her groove on the following batters.
How does this tie to KD?
It was totally chickenshit -- like punting inside sc territory. It sent the wrong message to a team and pitcher that are far stronger than the coach.
It was stubborn -- like running up the middle and getting stuffed, over and over again, because the coach thinks it's the right play.
And, it was questioned and then ridiculed by the commentators.
She made more mistakes -- for example, allowing the ASU pitcher who had thrown a lot of pitches in her previous game have a 4 pitch first inning. Two batters swung at the first pitch. One on the second. This was not the worst thing she did -- I can see playing aggressively trying to get something going.
But, knowing that we had scored but one run in the prior game, and that the ASU pitcher was looking good, putting the first runner on in three innings is inexcusable.
Bad coaching put us in a hole we could not escape.
Yes, 2 ASU runs scored on a bases loaded error by our center fielder -- but I agree with the commentators who said that deliberately putting batters on base creates pressure on the D and the pitcher and sooner or later there would be cracks.
Like KD, I-P is a Bruin Alum -- she is one of us and that makes it harder to express my great disappointment in the way she coached last night.
With the replacement of KD I truly believed that the days of fearing coaching decisions were gone.
Now, I'm fearing that the ghost is back.
For the softball team, I have the same wish I had for the FB team -- that they win in spite of the coaching. I want these seniors to have a National Championship. I do not want them to be the only team in Bruin softball history to not do so.
Please, Coach I-P, get out of their way. Play to win.