softball | KCUR

softball

Kansas City Royals

Scott Switzer is the youngest of four boys, all athletes. He understands the social and physical value of sports. And, while his family fully supported him when he came out as gay as a young person, the sports world wasn’t necessarily as accepting.

Segment 1: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Ty Russell / OU Athletics

Patty Gasso has spent her last 24 years in the dugout, coaching Oklahoma’s softball team to 12 Women’s College World Series appearances.

But she’s an anomaly in the Big 12 Conference: one of only three women heading a softball team. Among the Power 5 conferences (Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12), the Big 12 is the only one to have more men running softball teams than women.

Zach Bland

Independence, Missouri, native Paige Parker, a pitcher for the Oklahoma Sooners, is again competing in the Women’s College World Series. Last year, she was named the Most Outstanding Player in last year’s Women’s World College World Series.

Parker, a junior, is making a name for herself beyond Oklahoma.

For generations, fast-pitch softball united some of Kansas City's Mexican-American community. A new documentary and exhibit shines a light on local players and their histories. We invite the documentary's filmmaker and a fast-pitch softball player/coach to discuss the impact that softball has had on our community.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

This year marks 50 years since a sports team at the University of Missouri finished runner-up for a national championship.

The Tiger baseball team finished second at the College World Series. In recent years, the Mizzou softball team has come the closest, but saw its season come to an end Sunday.

It isn’t the magnitude of a football game at Arrowhead Stadium, but Kansas Jayhawk and Missouri Tiger fans are keenly aware of possibly squaring off over the weekend.

Both schools are the NCAA softball regional in Columbia, Mo. For a University of Kansas-University of Missouri showdown to take place Saturday, both schools would need to either win Friday or lose Friday in the double-elimination regional.

It would mean that Kelsey Kessler, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., and sophomore pitcher at KU, would face the Tigers, which concerns Tigers Coach Ehren Earleywine.

Zack Lewandowski

Mexican-American fast-pitch softball is a tradition that runs deep in Kansas and Missouri. For decades, families have passed on the tradition of playing baseball or softball, but the legacy has been poorly documented.

The game was originally introduced to Mexican immigrants in Kansas and Missouri in an attempt to shed them of their cultural identity. But, that didn’t happen. The sport did nothing but help define and unite a new community. 

The experience