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Softball Walks Off, plus some Football recruiting notes

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Softball wins, baseball loses, and weird things happen with STL football recruiting

Zach Blank - MU Athletics

Diamond sports had a split yesterday, with Mizzou Baseball coming up short against Tennessee. But the big win came from the Mizzou women’s softball team as they came back to win against a top 20 opponent in the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Walk-off Single caps comeback for Mizzou Women's SB

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Walk off wins are the best.

From MUTigers.com:

“We are never out of a game,” Coach Anderson said. “We had every reason to fold tonight, but we didn’t. Hatti gets thrown out, and we fought back. Brooke gets tagged, and we fought back. The belief is so important, and we showed just how far we have come tonight.”

The ladies continue the series against South Carolina to wrap up the last home stand of the season. It’s been a pretty remarkable turnaround so far and the win means Mizzou hit the .500 mark in SEC play. That’s a really good turnaround in a really tough league.

Meanwhile, Mario McKinney is just damn ridiculous

Hoodie Rio, as he’s called, is an electrifying athlete and one who will have no shortage of electrifying plays next season. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in the black and gold.

I found this interesting the other day but didn’t want to comment much on it:

He followed up with this

Look, we know the successes specific East St. Louis players have had at Mizzou, and there have been a few who haven’t seen success as well. For every Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms there’s a Natreace Strong. That’s football. Some four star guys don’t pan out, other 2-star guys turn into first round picks. But in large part the path from East St. Louis to Columbia has been a good one, not only for football but for some recent basketball guys as well.

I know a lot of Mizzou fans got upset with Sunkett’s tweet and I understand why. It was overly pro-Illinois when Mizzou right now has a much more successful football program in an arguably better league. Mizzou has been fighting for bowls while Illinois has been fighting to stay out of the basement of the league.

But here’s why I have a problem with the tweet: Sunkett is just flat wrong.

If you’re Illinois, you can sign ALL the best players from Illinois every year and still produce a pretty mediocre product. If you’re Missouri and you lock down the borders of the state you aren’t going to win the SEC. Mizzou and Illinois are never going to be Clemson and Alabama by locking down their borders. There just isn’t enough elite talent to stack up class after class of elite recruits enough to be at the level of the best two programs in the country. Mizzou and Illinois need to recruit well outside of the state to get there. They need Texas, and Florida, and Georgia. They need the overlooked players in Michigan or North Carolina as much as they need the 4-star kid from Jefferson City or Belleville West.

I understand Sunkett’s point, if local schools get the elite kids to stay home they can get better. But the reality is as a high school coach your job isn’t to get the kid to invest in the local school. It’s the local schools job to get the kid to invest in the local school. It’s the high school coaches job to help the kid make the best decision for themselves. And sometimes that decision is NOT staying home.

Not every ESTL kid should go to Illinois, and not ever ESTL kid should go to Mizzou. Players should choose the school they want to attend based upon their own criteria. Which is why I appreciate Coach Reed at Lutheran North HS:

Coach Reed is a fantastic guy. I don’t know him personally but I know enough people who do. He cares about kids, and wants to do right by them.

It’s the same reason I cheer for the players I coached, no matter what school they chose. I’m a Mizzou fan, but I want kids to succeed also. I watched Courtney Ramey grow up at Webster Groves and wanted him at Mizzou. He chose Texas and I cheer for him every time he steps on the court. I cheer for Ramey as much as I do for Jeremiah Tilmon or Torrence Watson, two other guys who I watched grow up on the court.

Sunkett’s mistake was picking a side of the river in a divided metro area with a lot of angst amongst two fanbases. He’s not wrong to want to see Illinois do well, because I know for a fact he ALSO wants Mizzou to do well. Area coaches want both programs to be elite and the reality is they just aren’t. While the Tigers are a lot closer right now, they’re still a little ways off. And the Illini are even farther away.

Still, it wouldn’t hurt if Mizzou fans took his comments with more of a stride than they did. Barry Odom will win his fare share of recruiting battles in the St. Louis area when the decision comes down to Illinois vs. Mizzou. But either way the most important thing for either program is just winning more games.

Have a good Saturday y’all.