The Trine University (Indiana) Thunder made use of what was either a sublimely inventive or sneakily underhanded play to get the last out against Geneseo on Saturday and advance to the Division III Women’s College World Series. Whatever your opinion on it, I believe a hidden-ball trick of this variety has only ever been seen at the high-school level or, I’m told, in the film Little Big League.
The clearly premeditated subterfuge happened with Geneseo down two with two outs in the final inning, with the potential tying runners on first and second. After a pitch, the Trine catcher quickly threw the ball back to the pitcher, who looked as if she was trying pick off the runner at second.
By all appearances, given how the defense scrambled, the ball had sailed into center. That’s what the runners believed, at least. But as the runner on second took off, the pitcher cut her off in the basepath and tagged her—there never was a throw to center field.
Trine’s next opponent is Illinois Wesleyan, whose runners should probably refuse to leave any base without a notarized affidavit stating the location of the ball.