Angela Tincher: Softball Hero

by Suzie Raven

For the second time in a month, Angela Tincher proved that you don’t need to be an Olympian to be one of the world’s best athletes.

Virginia Tech’s pitcher joined elite company last week when she became only the third softball player in NCAA history to strike out 2,000 batters. The other two — Monica Abbott of Tennessee (2,440 career strikeouts) and Cat Osterman of Texas (2,265) — are both Olympians.

On March 26, Tincher pitched a no-hitter and was one walk away from a perfect game against the U.S. Olympic Team. This ended Team USA’s 185 game winning streak in pre-Olympic exhibition games, that began when softball became an Olympic sport in 1996.

The irony? Tincher didn’t make the Olympic team. During the tryouts nearly four years ago, she struck out Jessica Mendoza, who many call the world’s best hitter. She struck out Mendoza again when Virginia Tech beat Team USA.

"She pitched incredible. I would say we have one of the best offenses I've ever seen on any team. And the fact that she completely shut us down, I don't think that's ever happened before. All you can do is just shake her hand,” Mendoza said after playing Virginia Tech.

Tincher is an amazing pitcher who may never achieve her dream of going to the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee cut softball from the program for the 2012 games in London (but is considering reinstating it for 2016).

Even if she never has that opportunity, Tincher has already proved herself. No one else can say they broke Team USA’s 12-year winning streak on their way to striking out 2,000 batters. Tincher’s modern day David versus Goliath story reminds us not to ignore the underdog. Often, the underdogs are among the world’s best.

(Photo by Daino_16 of Bountiful, UT via stock.xchng.)

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