Feature photo courtesy of Gary Leland.
The 2015 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS), college softball’s most prestigious tournament, is currently underway in Oklahoma City. Seven teams – Oregon, Michigan, Auburn, LSU, Alabama, UCLA and the 2014 champion, Florida – remain in the tournament that at one point Thursday was popular enough to have its own Snapchat story.
Of the teams still competing, four are from the SEC, two are from the Pac-12, and one is from the Big Ten. Being at the WCWS is nothing new for some teams; between them, Michigan and Alabama have been 20 times before this year. With so much experience, teams are prepared to put forth their best softball and leave it all on the field.
The WCWS bracket revolves around a format of double elimination in bracket play, then a best of 3 games championship series, allowing teams to bounce back from defeats or surge forward with momentum from victories. While any team that made it this far must have done so through skill, determination, and teamwork, a few teams stand out above the rest and are worth tuning into if Snapchat is unaccessible.
Michigan, with its strong offense, is one of those teams. The Wolverines pulled away with a 10-4 win Saturday over UCLA thanks to rightfielder Kelsey Susalla’s 4 for 4 day at the plate. In the game before, they shutout Alabama 5-0. Their pitching has been somewhat inconsistent (pitcher Megan Betsa was pulled in just the first inning of a game against Georgia), but if they can string their hits together, their bats can prove dangerous against even the best opponents.
On the other side of the bracket is the number one seed Florida. Lauren Haeger of the Gators is potentially the best player in the tournament, and put all of her abilities on display Friday. The pitcher tossed a complete game shutout to beat LSU 4-0, but, as if that weren’t impressive enough, also hit a home run to become the first DI softball player to win 70 games and hit 70 home runs. Whether on the offensive or defensive side of the ball, Haeger has shown herself to be a tough competitor that could lead her team to a second consecutive title.
The next game is Sunday at 1 p.m.