Husky Coach Gets Jersey Retired At Pacific
March 12, 2012
SEATTLE - The UW softball trip to Stockton two weeks ago was more than just business. For the Husky coaching staff, the final day had a special feel to it even before the first pitch was thrown.
Prior to game time, the UOP Tigers had a ceremony to recognize and retire the jerseys of Cindy Ball (#9) and Gina Carbonatto (#2). Both Ball and Carbonatto excelled on the field for the Tigers before coming up I-5 to the University of Washington to join Heather Tarr's coaching staff, forever leaving their marks on the UOP record books.
Ball, who has been an assistant coach at UW since the summer of 2010, starred at UOP from 1999 to 2002, becoming the greatest pitcher in the history of the Pacific Tigers Softball program. She finished her playing career at UOP as the all-time leader in almost all important pitching statistics, ranking first in pitching appearances (149), games started (116), innings pitched (883.1), wins (91), saves (10), shutouts (45) and strikeouts (761). Her strikeout total is almost 200 more that of Brandee McArthur, whose 568 strikeouts are second in Tiger history.
But Ball was definitely not a one dimensional player; she could hold her own in the batters' box too. In addition to her ownership of the school's pitching records she is also in the top-10 for career totals in home runs (19), RBI (111) and walks (76).
Ball humbly recognizes that she couldn't have attained that level of success by herself.
"No pitcher could have ever accomplished what I did without great teammates," Ball noted, "and I am blessed to have been surrounded by so many great Tigers in my career at Pacific."
Among those great players that Ball had a chance to be around, albeit as an assistant coach with Tigers, was Gina Carbonatto. Carbonatto came to UOP as a freshman in 2004, two years after Ball had joined head coach Brian Kolze's staff as an assistant. Over the next four seasons Carbonatto would take her turn in the spotlight and make her case as one of the Tiger's greatest players of all-time. She was a standout center fielder and was even a First team All-American her freshman season when she hit an astonishing .449.
Carbonatto graduated from UOP in 2007 and finished her playing career with the Tigers as the school's all-time leader in hits (280), batting average (.401) and runs scored (178). She is also top-five in the program's history in stolen bases and bases on balls. Upon graduation, Carbonatto joined the Husky coaching staff as a volunteer assistant in 2007-2008. She was promoted to a full-time assistant a year later, and then helped the Huskies win their first national championship in 2009. Last year Carbonatto took her winning expertise back to Pacific, where she worked with the outfielders and helped the Tigers win their first Big West title.
The connections between the UOP and UW softball programs have deepened over the last several seasons and were clearly on display during this ceremony. Huskies head coach Heather Tarr, who hired both Ball and Carbonatto, coached at the University of Pacific before taking over head coaching duties at UW. In her six seasons, from 1999 to 2004, there as an assistant and then later as associate head coach, Tarr got a chance to know both Ball and Carbonatto. While the two teams certainly don't like each other once they get on the diamond, there is no denying the connections between the two schools and the importance of both programs to those who have been in both dugouts.
Cindy Ball understands how special it was to celebrate this occasion in the presence of both programs. "What an amazing opportunity for me to share this accomplishment with my family, the Tigers and the Huskies," Ball said in a later interview.
And while she is now a Husky on a mission to win a championship with her current team, getting her jersey retired with the Tigers is a moment she'll never forget and UOP will always have a place in her heart.
"It is an honor to be the last player to ever wear #9 for Pacific." Ball continued, "I can't thank coach Kolze enough for the amazing opportunities he has given me throughout my career! "