UK fans show support for softball team

weekend series draws big Crowds

jbrammer@herald-leader.comMay 30, 2011 

Die-hard University of Kentucky basketball and football fans David and Jane Weber of Lexington did not have the best seats Sunday for the Wildcats' softball showdown to reach the World Series.

Like a couple of hundred other UK loyalists who didn't get tickets to the sold-out NCAA Softball Tournament super regional, the Webers set their lawn chairs on an embankment in the broiling sun outside the UK Softball Complex to cheer on the women's team against the California Bears. It was the first super regional at UK.

The Webers' far-away view of the infield and the large scoreboard was all right, but any action in the outfield was out of sight.

"We tried to get seats inside the stadium, but they were all sold out by Tuesday," said Jane Weber. "We watched this team on TV most of the season and wanted to come out to support them any way we could. We do for football and basketball.

"We want them to know we are proud of what they have accomplished."

Many fans came out over the weekend to back the team in the best-of-three series.

School officials estimated attendance at 1,717 for Saturday's game in which seventh-ranked California won 1-0.

Sunday's games attracted 1,690 people. They saw 21st-ranked UK win the first game 8-0 but get shut out in the second game 9-0. California will move on to the World Series Thursday through June 8 in Oklahoma City.

Lee Claypoole, pastor of Bridge Church of God in Lexington, sat on the embankment Sunday without a chair.

"I'm a fan, and this is a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon," he said.

He also said one of the students at his church, Britney McIntosh, is a photographer for UK's athletics department and had talked about the series.

J.P. Bruce of Madison, Ind., a 2006 graduate of Butler University, got a seat inside the stadium.

He said he was "supporting the Cats because I'm a college softball enthusiast who someday would like to be a coach, and a good friend of mine goes to UK."

Though his team fell short Sunday, Bruce had a brief, personal moment of fame in the sun.

"Look at this. People know what team I'm for," he said, tugging on a white T-shirt he decorated with a black marker to express his sentiments.

It read, "California is Dreamin'. Go UK."

ESPN briefly showed Bruce and his T-shirt to a national audience.

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