1996. Bill Clinton was president, the New York Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves in six games to win their 23rd World Series title and an oddly-named collection of University of South Carolina graduates called Hootie and the Blowfish were the most popular band the world.
It was also the last time the USA Softball Women’s National team had lost a game.
That was until last night, when Virginia Tech hurler Angela Tincher no-hit the national team in a 1-0 surprising victory in Oklahoma City. The national team's loss was their first since May 3, 1996a defeat to California Select in Los Angeles, Califand broke a 185-game pre-Olympic tour win streak.
“My hat goes off to Angela Tincher tonight,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “She pitched a great ball game. I told our team what she was capable of and told them to be ready to go. But she came out firing and really kept us off our game.”
Perhaps even more surprising was the identity of the losing pitcher; staff ace Jennie Finch lasted only four innings, allowing one run and four hits over that span. Team USA had outscored its opponents 1,475-24 before last night's contest, including a 23-0 thrashing of the DePaul Blue Demons just hours before Tincher took the mound.
What do you think? Was the loss simply a minor speed bump for a team heavily favored to take the gold this summer or could this mean future problems for Team USA in Beijing? And would a strugglingif slightly imperfectTeam USA really be the worst thing for the sport of softball globally? (Many people think team USA's otherworldly dominance is a major factor in the sport being removed from Olympic rotation.)</p>