Cal softball's week at the College World Series got off to a rough start when coach Diane Ninemire, eight players and two staff members did not arrive in Oklahoma City until 2:30 a.m. CDT on Wednesday after missing their flight connection Tuesday afternoon in Houston.
The Bears traveled from the Bay Area on several different flights after earning their CWS bid on Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 win over Washington in the NCAA super regional final.
Ninemire and her contingent were routed through Houston. But mechanical problems at SFO caused their flight to arrive late, and there were more mechanical issues in Houston.
That stranded the travel party for half a day, causing Ninemire and the players to miss Tuesday night's pre-tournament banquet.
"We're tired. We were almost up for 24 hours straight," Ninemire said by phone before a noon practice on Wednesday. "It's just another obstacle we've got to work through."
Among the players who got very little sleep Wednesday morning were starters Frani Echavarria, Jamia Reid and Danielle Henderson, along with key reserve Elia Reid.
Cal was scheduled for a morning workout Wednesday and opens play in the event Thursday at 2:30 p.m. CDT vs. LSU.
The top-seeded Bears (56-5) are playing in their 12th College World Series and are hoping to duplicate the championship they won in 2002.