Well folks, it is now that time of year again. The time where the allure and excitement of March Madness has faded and the stress of school (if you’re still there) has given way to the freedom of summer bliss.
Welcome to the Women’s College World Series (or WCWS for short) where eight softball teams from all over the country continue the epic battle to be crowned No. 1.
For those unfamiliar with the tourney, it starts with 32 teams in Regionals with the 16 winners advancing to the Super Regionals. Only after winning here can a team be deemed worthy to advance to where the wins really count: Oklahoma City and the WCWS.
After all those games and travel miles can one enter the softball realm that every player dreams of at night. After all that battling, the journey is still a ways off even after entering OKC.
It is quite funny; you play all those games just to even get into Oklahoma City where the journey is by no means any easier or short, especially if you lose the first game.
The chosen eight this year are: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Devils, Michigan Wolverines, Missouri Tigers, Washington Huskies, and Georgia Bulldogs.
WASHINGTON HUSKIES ROLL OVER GEORGIA BULLDOGS, 3-1
OKLAHOMA CITY – Eighth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, a youthful team who made their first voyage to the ‘promised land’ of softball had to face a sixth-ranked Washington Huskies team who made their eighth WCWS appearance.
Huskies pitcher Danielle Lawrie is by no means a stranger to the Bulldogs; the Bulldogs are the ones who snapped Lawrie’s 90 no-run innings streak. They have also beaten this Huskies team previously.
The game started off slowly with neither team really dominating. Players drew walks; Kimi Pohlman stole a base, keeping her perfect stolen-base record in tact (20-for-20 if you care); players were stranded on base; and pop outs and strikeouts were abundant.
The game started to pick up in the bottom of the fourth. Brianna Hesson made a nice dive to first base to tag out Alicia Blake. But freshman and No. 9 hitter Nikki Williams homered with two outs to help the Huskies take a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs, known for their comebacks, cut the lead to 2-1 in the next inning. The Bulldogs got a stand-up lead-off double from Kristin Schnake and later Taylor Schlopy doubled, scoring the one run.
The final run for the Huskies came in the bottom of the sixth, from a RBI single from Pohlman. Georgia was able to get a lead-off single in the seventh, but was unable to bring in any runners. The game ended with the Huskies pulling a double play, and they are now 25-0 when leading after six innings.
Winning pitcher Danielle Lawrie pitched a complete-game, only allowing six hits, while striking out five and walking two. Losing pitcher Christie Hamilton surrendered three runs while allowing seven hits to fall to 24-9 in her complete-game effort.
The Huskies move to the winning side of the bracket, while the Bulldogs fall to the losing side.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Washington's Nikki Williams
ARIZONA STATE DOMINATES MISSOURI IN 7-2 THRASHING
OKLAHOMA CITY - If this game were to be summed up into one word, it would be: domination. Last year’s WCWS champions No. 10 Arizona State came out with near perfection, whether it was their defense or their offense.
The first inning already had the Sun Devils on the board. Out of the eight batters in that inning, they loaded the bases and had four hits, leading to three runs.
Missouri Tigers just could not get into a rhythm and three up, three down in an inning was no big surprise.
The second inning looked like déjà vu for the Devils, loading the bases once again with no outs. They were able to score three more times, making the score 6-0 in their favor.
The third inning found the Tigers with their first hit of the game, coming from Marla Schweissberger. Rhea Taylor is able to get a RBI, but gets the last out trying to stretch double into a triple.
The Tigers also had a pitching change in the bottom of the third, bringing on Stacy Delaney, who helped her team find some rhythm on defense. They made the outs and didn’t load the bases this time.
The Tigers defense started lacking once again, allowing the Devils to add to their already large lead.
The Eight-Run Rule was now on people’s minds; the score was 7-1 at the bottom of the fourth. If Arizona had scored twice more, the game could have ended at five.
But they didn’t and the game continued.
*I couldn’t avoid the hunger pains yelling at me anymore so I took a food break.*
Back to the game at the top of the sixth, I see I didn’t miss much.
The Tigers did manage to score once more in the sixth and a solo home run from Schweissberger in the seventh inning.
This, however, was not enough, as Arizona went on to win 7-3, advancing to the winners bracket.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: ASU's Taylor Haro, 4-4, 3 RBI.
The Tigers have a game recap.
Due to time constraints, I cannot finish the last two.
Alabama lost to Michigan and Florida beat Arizona.