The Daily Nole

Column: The Catch, Fairy Tales, and the National Championship

Maury Neipris/FSU athletics

In sports, there are certain plays that just feel too perfect. Moments on the field that seem like too much of a storybook occurrence to be believed. I think of Kobe Bryant scoring 60 points in his final game ever; Derek Jeter hitting an RBI single to win a game in the last at-bat of his career; Deion Sanders concluding his last play at FSU with a game-sealing interception at 10:55 (five minutes left in prime time).

All these things were too good to be true. They were unusually appropriate happenings that appeared straight out of a writer’s pen. An almost supernatural connecting-of-the-dots, if you will.

Sports are one of the last venues where this occurs. Fairy tale endings are common to kids, but for adults, they seem too canny to be realistic. It’s hard not to be cynical when much of the current world shows that, in many cases, things don’t turn out “fair”. The good people aren’t always rewarded, and the bad people do get away with it.

When Washington went to the plate with a runner on base and no outs in the first game of the national championship series on Monday night, FSU fans were on the edge of their seat. The Seminoles held a narrow 1-0 lead and everyone began to have flashbacks of a UCLA comeback earlier in the tournament. No lead is safe, and Florida State fans know the pain of wins snatched away. Heck, it happened Saturday when FSU baseball gave up a home run to end its season.

So when a bunt popped the ball up right in front of home plate, hearts skipped their regular beats. Was this going to bring two runners on base? Would FSU be able to get at least one out from it?

A familiar name appeared.

Jessie Warren quite literally dove from out of nowhere, making a brilliant catch and throw to first for a double play in a crucial moment. It was one exclamation after another. The hero of the team, known for her power-hitting and offense, just made one of the best softball plays ever with her defense.

Jessie Warren’s backstory is an incredible one. If you haven’t already, watch this feature from Seminole Sports Magazine that details her upbringing. Behind the superstar player is a tale of hard work, loss, and triumph.


When Warren made that play, it seemed like every fan knew what they just witnessed. The immediate sense of awe and comfort at the same time. Comfort that FSU got out of a jam; awe for Warren’s unbelievable catch. Even Kobe Bryant himself chimed in.

Florida State won that game obviously. Maybe not surprisingly, it won the next one too. Because when something like that happens, the entire feeling changes within a team.

For the softball program as a whole, this was by far the most important moment in its entire history. How could it not be? Up until Tuesday night, FSU had the most Women’s College World Series appearances without a title. The Seminoles had everything a program could want without the brightest diamond to showcase. Lonni Alameda followed up one of the best softball coaches ever with arguably more success, yet no title.

With the help of their greatest player ever with one of the greatest plays ever, FSU is bringing home the ring. No team had come out of the loser’s bracket to win it all in 13 years. But FSU did. Almost like a fairy tale.

To think, it all may have started with “The Catch”.

Not the Kelvin Benjamin catch for the 2013 championship. Not the Peter Warrick circus play for the 1999 national championship.

The diving, immaculate, leap towards a bunt.

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