Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Commentary: Where does UW softball’s regional win rank among best Seattle sports comebacks?

Washington softball celebrates its 7-6 win against McNeese in Seattle on Sunday.  (Courtesy/UW Athletics)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

SEATTLE – This could go down as No. 1.

If the Huskies softball team somehow goes on to win the national championship – still an improbable proposition – what it achieved Sunday against McNeese might be labeled the greatest comeback in Seattle sports history.

This was not a series of events played out over several innings, quarters or periods. This was seven runs in the final inning to win 7-6 in a winner-take-all regional game. The Huskies hadn’t scored in the previous 13 innings. No softball team had come back from six runs down in the last inning of an NCAA Tournament game – and only five had come back from six runs down at any point in an NCAA tourney contest in 908 tries.

But as we know, the memorability of sports heroics is often contingent on how the season ends.

Just ask former Seahawk Jermaine Kearse, whose supernatural catch in the fourth quarter of the 2015 Super Bowl has been whittled to an afterthought. So we’ll see how this shakes out.

In the meantime, who are the Huskies’ competitors for all-time greatest Seattle comeback? A list …

1995 ALDS: Mariners top Yankees in Game 4

Edgar Martinez’s iconic double in Game 5 never happens without his at-bat in the Kingdome on this October Saturday.

Trailing 2-1 in its first playoff series, Seattle gave up three runs in the first inning and two more in the third before posting four of its own later in the third.

Edgar provided the foreshock that inning by blasting a three-run homer before Luis Sojo brought home Tino Martinez on a sacrifice fly.

The Mariners tied the score two innings later, got up by one in the sixth, and after New York tied it in the eighth – Martinez answered with a grand slam in the bottom half of that frame that put the M’s up 10-6. They won 11-8. Martinez is a Hall of Famer who has a statue outside T-Mobile Park. Game 4 might have been the night the sculptor first reached for the chisel.

1978 NBA Finals: Sonics edge Washington in opener

This might not be the most important comeback in Sonics history – that title goes to the championship-winning ’79 team that rallied from eight points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Suns in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.

But when combining improbability with significance, this was the most salient of rallies for the SuperSonics.

What was required for Seattle was a 28-7 run in a 9-minute span to overcome a 19-point deficit and win 93-91. Fred Brown contributed 30 points off the bench. Yes, the Sonics went on to lose the series in the seven games, but Game 1 alerted the basketball world that they weren’t pushovers in their first Finals appearance.

2010 WNBA West finals: Storm rally to oust Mercury

That might look remarkably similar to the Sonics’ situation above, except this win led to a WNBA championship.

Trailing 67-48 with 4:48 left in the third, Seattle cut the deficit to 10 at the end of the quarter and outscored Phoenix 30-17 in the fourth to win the series. Storm stars Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird contributed 20 and 16 points, respectively, but the standout was Swin Cash – who scored 12 of her 23 points in overtime.

1975 Apple Cup: UW wins after trailing by 13 with 3:01 left

It wasn’t the most noteworthy of seasons for the Huskies or the Cougars, who went 6-5 and 3-8, respectively. But ’75 may have provided the most dramatic fourth quarter in this football rivalry’s history.

With WSU on UW’s 14-yard line on fourth-and-1, Washington’s Al Burleson picked off Cougars quarterback John Hopkins and returned it 93 yards to the end zone to cut the deficit to six at 27-21 with under 3 minutes remaining.

Then, after a UW defensive stop, Huskies quarterback Warren Moon launched a ball that bounced off Washington State’s Tony Heath and into the arms of receiver Spider Gaines, who scored a 78-yard touchdown and a 28-27 UW win. Cougars coach Jim Sweeney resigned shortly after.

2020 MLS West finals: Late comeback lifts Sounders over Minnesota

This one looked bleak, even after Seattle’s Will Bruin scored in the 75th minute to make it 2-1. Because it wasn’t until the 89th minute of the 90-minute contest that Raul Ruidiaz scored the equalizer for Seattle, setting up Gustav Svensson’s winner 1 minute later. The Sounders didn’t win the title that year, but that flurry put them back in the MLS Cup Final for the fourth time in a five-season span.

2015 NFC Championship: Seahawks edge Packers

The idea of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances looked impossible for Seattle when it got the ball back with 3:52 left in the game and Green Bay up 19-7.

But then came the 69-yard touchdown drive capped by a Russell Wilson run with 2:09 remaining, an onside kick recovered by Chris Matthews immediately after, a 24-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch (with a 2-point conversion to follow) – and after a Packers field goal, a 35-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Kearse on the sixth play of overtime.

That might have been the last moment of unadulterated joy for the Seahawks during the Legion of Boom/Wilson era, but it was well-earned and will be forever commemorated.

That feels like the top comeback to date. Your move, Husky softball.