Bash push for Jennie Finch clinic

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 18, 2013 

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are just that, rare.

So when Jessica Nguyen was perusing her Facebook and saw a contest that offered such a chance, impulse took over and she couldn't pass it up.

"It was the Mizuno Fast Pitch Softball America contest," she said in a phone interview. "They were doing this contest to win a free clinic with Jennie Finch."

The same Finch that adorned the covers of Wheaties boxes nearly 10 years ago after pitching Team USA to a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. The same Finch that has baffled Major League Baseball player with how hard she throws.

Nguyen, the mother of Gracie Nguyen, a pitcher for the Bellingham Bash 10-U Fast Pitch team, immediately assembled the two-minute long video and essay and submitted it for review.

"One of the mothers all throughout the season ... would make these new videos, amazing videos," she said. "It is really nice, takes hours to do. Her videos would be perfect for the contest, so I submitted a bunch of them."

The rules of the competition state that 10 videos would be chosen and put to a popular vote on Facebook. The video with the most "likes" by Aug. 25 would win a free clinic with Finch. Again, too good to merely pass up, she thought.

Come to find out, the Bash were chosen as one of the 10 finalists, and entering Sunday, Aug. 18, they stood in third place with 190 votes, 159 votes behind first-place Pontiac, Ill.

Being in third is a meaningless position, though. Only one team gets the free clinic with the most famous fast pitch player in the world, and right now, that isn't Bellingham.

"They have 11,000 people in their town," she said, referring to Pontiac, Ill. "Come on, let's do this Bellingham."

She's not being bashful when asking for help from the city to get more votes. Finch holds a bit of a special place in her heart, and more specifically, her daughters' heart.

"My daughter, she is one of the main pitchers on our team, and she learned how to pitch by watching Jennie Finch on Youtube," she said. "She watched and we went out on the lawn and started pitching."

Jolee Sitma, Gracie's teammate on the Bash, said that's all the girls have been talking about at practice, imaging asking Finch questions about her life and her career.

"We thought it would be so cool to actually have someone so good at fast pitch come and show us new fast pitch moves and stuff," Sitma said in a phone interview. "After that, I am sure we would practice so hard."

To vote, go to facebook.com and search Mizuno Fast Pitch Softball America in the search bar. Upon opening the page, click the "Video Contest" tab on the far right of the header bar and click "View entries." To cast your vote for the Bellingham Bash fast pitch team, click their video and click "vote."

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