There is simply nothing like the Women’s College World Series, and the journey to get there. This year has been no exception— in fact, this has been one of the craziest tournaments in recent history. I have been covering Ohio State softball all season long, and although their season has ended, I encourage you to learn about what has happened so far in Super Regionals and jump right into the WCWS.
Starting with the regional round which happened last week, the top 64 teams in the country played in a double-elimination tournament at 16 different sites with four teams at each site. For the most part, the 16 teams that hosted the regionals advanced to the next round. However, there were some HUGE upsets.
Perhaps the most shocking knockoff of all came in Tallahassee, when Mississippi State defeated No. 2 Florida State twice to become the winner of that regional and move on to Super Regionals. The Seminoles’ 49-5 record in the regular season was the highest winning percentage in a regular season in school history (.907). FSU also earned its 18th ACC Championship this season. Suffice to say, finishing their season this early was quite shocking for the Seminoles.
The other gigantic surprise in regionals was No. 6 Alabama getting shut out twice by Stanford to close out its season. For the first time since Super Regionals were introduced in 2005, Alabama did not advance out of the first round. The Crimson Tide had a phenomenal start to the regular season, going 20-0 before struggling in the second half. However, they still earned themselves a top-16 seed but simply could not pull it together at regionals.
Focusing solely on Oklahoma softball now, they have been their typical dominant selves this entire year. They are comparable to the Patriots with Tom Brady, the 90s Bulls or the most recent Warriors dynasty. They are just unreal. The Sooners finished the regular season 49-2, earning a perfect record at home. They are the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s tournament, led by home run queen, Jocelyn Alo.
If you haven’t heard her name by now, you have to be living under a rock. She has a .497 batting average and crushed 29 home runs this season alone, knocking in 72 RBIs. Alo has hit 117 home runs in her career, breaking former Sooner Lauren Chamberlain’s record of 95 set in 2015. I seriously don’t know why anyone pitches to her.
However, she isn’t the only Sooner to be feared. All nine girls in the everyday lineup are hitting over .300, hitting a total of 138 home runs. Their three pitchers all have sub-one ERAs. The team has a .977 fielding percentage. They are almost flawless in every way. If you have to pick one team to win it all, Oklahoma is definitely your safest bet.
Super Regionals just finished this past weekend. As expected, No. 1 Oklahoma crushed No. 16 UCF to advance to the WCWS. No. 5 UCLA, perhaps the biggest softball powerhouse of all time, fell to No. 12 Duke once, but bounced back to win the remaining two games, as Super Regionals is a best-of-three series between the remaining 16 teams.
No. 14 Florida had a huge series win against No. 3 Virginia Tech, who had its greatest season in program history. The Gators lost the first game, yet bounced back to win the remaining two games, putting the exclamation point on their game three win with a 12-0 run-rule victory.
History was made as well for Clemson softball, as the Tigers made it to their first ever Super Regional, as the program was established in 2020. Although they lost both of their games to No. 7 Oklahoma State, No. 10 Clemson has a lot to be proud of this year, with a lot to build upon moving forward.
The last headline I want to highlight is Texas upsetting No. 4 Arkansas in three hard-fought games, winning the final two. Unfortunately, this has some negative news attached to it. Because Texas was not favored to win at all, they did not get any shirts or hats made that the other teams who had advanced had gotten. They didn’t get the big cardboard punched ticket, either. This is yet another poor reflection on NCAA softball, who has not treated its teams right. I’m not sure why they didn’t make merch for both teams playing, but the Texas AD promised to investigate.
That is just a glimpse of what has been happening during the past two weeks of the softball postseason. There are now officially eight teams remaining, with the WCWS starting June 2. There is a great mix of underdogs and seasoned veterans, which will certainly make for an interesting tournament. Follow along for the amazing players, teams and storylines that are sure to happen. The WCWS is the best, and a lot of people are quickly finding that out!