A George Washington University sportswriter took that internal focus to a whole new level March 29, following a Colonial baseball game against Virginia. GW was more than 10 games below .500 when the story was written, so one would imagine the writer had plenty of practice inflating the exploits of the team in a losing effort.
The George Washington baseball team held No. 1 Virginia to just two runs on Tuesday evening at Davenport Field but were unable to complement the strong pitching performance at the plate, falling 2-0.
GW (7-18) pitchers Tommy Gately, Kenny O'Brien and Craig Lejeune combined to hold Virginia (25-2) to just two runs on six hits. The top-ranked Cavaliers entered the game batting .297 as a team and averaging over seven runs per contest.
Gately got the start for GW and pitched three innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs with one strikeout. He worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third by inducing two pop outs.
The first three paragraphs are not unusual. It's a fairly typical game recap, written with a GW audience in mind. The story focuses on the solid pitching instead of the anemic offense, downplaying the club's failure to score a single run. It's an oft-used formula for campus sports stories: focus on the school team and highlight the strong points of its game, giving fans an uplifting view of their performance.
What is unusual is what the story ignored. Well, maybe not ignored, but buried so far down in the article that the average reader would miss it. The seventh (and second-to-last) paragraph:
The two runs were all the Cavaliers would need as starting pitcher Will Roberts was perfect on the mound, striking out 10 batters en route to the eighth nine-inning perfect game in NCAA Division I (since 1957) history and the first since 2002.
A PERFECT GAME! In the thousands of NCAA baseball games played in the last half-century, that greatest of individual accomplishments has been achieved but eight times. Yet despite the rarity and novelty of the exploit, it was relegated to the end of the story.
Despite the fact that the perfecto was thrown by an opponent, it should have been the focus of the story. The historic achievement made national headlines in the sporting world and will likely be the highlight of the pitcher's career. It deserved more than a paragraph.
The brief mention of the stellar pitching effort was preceded even by an account of the Cavaliers' offensive output. Only after a blow-by-blow of Virginia's scoring did the writer bring up the perfect game. If that's not a buried lede, I don't know what is.