Twenty-one years since she led Southern Mississippi to the 2000 WCWS and threw the series’ fourth-ever perfect game against Arizona in the first game.
But on Saturday, she was in the stands and rose to her feet as her daughter, Georgia pitcher Britton Rogers, took the circle in the sixth inning of the Bulldogs’ elimination bout against the top-ranked Sooners.
Britton allowed three runs against the Sooners, who eventually went on to run-rule Georgia 8-0 in six innings. But Blades-Rogers only felt excitement for Britton, a freshman, to get the chance to compete on the same stage that she did years ago.
“I’m excited for her,” Blades-Rogers said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. Hopefully her team can get back here. I was hoping she didn’t have to (pitch), because if she has to, that means our ace was in trouble...I’m happy she got the opportunity, no doubt.”
Blades-Rogers witnessed another milestone the night before. She was in her hotel room watching Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts throw the WCWS’s fifth-ever perfect game, the first since Blades-Rogers. Fouts also fanned 14 UCLA batters in the 6-0 win.
“I think Montana pitched amazing and she earned it, but I was hoping she’d walk somebody,” Blades-Rogers said jokingly, “give up a hit or something. But you know, it’s OK.
“It’s been one of those things that it’s taken a long time, but she deserved it last night. She really did.”
Blades-Rogers tossed four no-hitters and two perfect games in her four years of playing softball, and has the second most wins as a pitcher in the NCAA (151).
Fouts, a junior, has 30 strikeouts through the first two games in the WCWS. Friday’s game was her first college no-hitter.
“She hits her spots and she stays ahead of the batters,” Blades-Rogers said on Fouts’ pitching. “I think it’s a really good lesson for all pitchers to look at. Just hit your spot and get ahead, and you can do a lot of things with that.”
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Blades-Rogers, who now lives in the Houston area as coach of the Texas Dirt Divas, was all smiles Saturday as she watched her former coach, Lu Harris-Champer, coach her daughter, who committed to the Bulldogs when she was in the ninth grade.
The only thing on her mind was Britton taking the circle.
“Obviously, I think you always hope your daughter’s gonna make it to the World Series, you never really think it’s gonna happen, you always hope,” Blades-Rogers said.
“But it’s really, really cool for her. Her being here is all about her. It has nothing to do with me. It just so happened that someone threw a perfect game last night and brought up my stat. But this is all about her. I’m really excited for her and her whole team.”
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Softball: Montana Fouts' WCWS perfect game impresses Courtney Blades