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Women's College World Series 2012


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#21
SpartanIlliniCub

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The commentary has been pretty great too between NPF commish Cheri Kempf in the studio and Jessica Mendoza and Michelle Smith in Okahoma City. The only problem is that I can only take so much of Michelle Smith's hair before I have to look away—it's only good in small doses :rolleyes:

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#22
SpartanIlliniCub

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I just heard on TV that Keilani Rickett's 16-strikeout performance yesterday was the second-most strikeouts in a WCWS game ever. The record is 18 set by Cat Osterman. Wow!

#23
SpartanIlliniCub

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Tennessee is the second team to be eliminated after losing to Oregon 3-1. Tennessee, as you likely remember from my previous post, has two sisters that share time in the circle with Ivy Renfroe and Ellen Renfroe.

Ivy is more of a fastball pitcher and Ellen is a slower pitcher but puts a lot of spin on the ball. Tennessee would use one pitcher for a few innings until the opposing team started to hit her, then they would switch it up for a different look to try and keep the other team on their toes. Not a bad strategy, but neither pitcher ever did particularly well and they both suffered from giving up runs early and putting their team in a hole.

Luckily Ivy still has one more year left and Ellen will be a junior next year, so the two-sister strategy has another chance for next year.

#24
SpartanIlliniCub

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Sun Devils sophomore standout Alix Johnson.

We are down to the final four! Arizona State walloped LSU last night 6-0. Hillary Bach got the ball for the Sun Devils and pitched a four-hit shutout with two strikeouts. Sophomore outfielder Alix Johnson had the game of her life with two hits, two runs, and three RBI.

ASU's manager has a difficult decision on who to put in the circle for today's game. Do you choose the highly talented but underperforming Dallas Escobedo, or go with the red hot but decidedly less talented Hillary Bach? I will be curious to see who gets chosen.

Much like Arizona State, Cal bounced back from a tough loss yesterday from early in the WCWS. Cal defeated its Pac-12 rival 6-3 behind ace pitcher Jolene Henderson's six-hit, three-run, nine-strikeout performance. Jolene had great power numbers with nine strikeouts but had plenty of mistakes to go with it with three earned runs. Jolene is going to have to up her game today against Alabama if they want to advance.

The matchups today are:
1. Arizona State vs Oklahoma (1 PM Eastern on ESPN)
2. Cal vs Alabama (3:30 Eastern on ESPN)

Arizona State and Cal already have one loss and will need to win twice to advance to the final.

#25
CatOsterFan

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The conference breakdown looks pretty typical. Two Pac-12 and two non-Pac-12 with Big 12's Oklahoma and the SEC's Alabama. Both Oklahoma and Alabama are REALLY good, and this year we have a great chance of a non-Pac-12 winner.

If I was Arizona State's manager I would start Dallas Escobedo in today's game against Oklahoma. You have to start the pitcher that got you there last year and who has the proven ability to succeed in the WCWS.

Bach only threw two strikeouts last night. She is not the type of pitcher that goes all the way in the WCWS. Bach is good for backup duty against the lesser competition in the WCWS tournament, but when AZ State needs to win a game you have GOT to go with Escobedo in the circle.

#26
SpartanIlliniCub

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Defending champion Arizona State has been eliminated. Oklahoma defeated Arizona State today and secured a spot in the WCWS final while sending disappointed Arizona State back to the desert.

Keilani struggled early by letting in two Arizona State runs in the first inning, but the Oklahoma bats had a huge 4-run 3rd inning and took the lead for good. Ricketts had one of the RBI off a base hit during that inning. Ricketts finished with 13 strikeouts on the game. Oklahoma is unbeaten in the WCWS so far.

Escobedo also played well with 8 strikeouts but the 4-run 3rd inning was too much for the Sun Devils to overcome.

I also found out during the game that Oklahoma has the most home runs in Division I this year. With Ricketts leading the defense and a loaded power-driven offense, Oklahoma has a great shot at the title.

#27
SpartanIlliniCub

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The final is set! Oklahoma will take on Alabama in a three-game set Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to decide the 2012 WCWS champion.

During the Cal vs Alabama matchup Alabama's ace pitcher Jackie Traina played well with 2 earned runs, 2 hits, and 6 strikeouts, but her pitching was not the big story in this game. The big story was the home run. Three Alabama players hit home runs in this game: shortstop Kaila Hunt, right fielder Jazlyn Lunceford, and pitcher Jackie Traina.

Cal's ace pitcher Jolene Henderson also played relatively well with 8 strikeouts, but she gave up 9 hits and 3 home runs. In the end, the Alabama offensive onslaught was too much for Cal to handle.

With Cal's elimination we have the first final game in more than 20 years to not feature at least one Pac-12 team. The last time two non-Pac-12 teams played each other in the final was in 1986 when Cal State Fullerton defeated Texas A&M. The only other non-Pac-12 matchup in the history of the WCWS, which dates back to 1982, was in 1983 when Texas A&M defeated Cal State Fullerton.

Other conferences are FINALLY starting to equal out the balance of power and starting to stand up to the titans in the Pac-12. How exciting that we will see some new blood in the title game.

#28
SpartanIlliniCub

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The final game is set! Alabama will play Oklahoma in a three-game set on Monday 6/4, Tuesday 6/5, and Wednesday 6/6 (if needed) to decide the 2012 WCWS champion. All games start at 8 PM Eastern and will be broadcast on ESPN 2.

This is the first time the final has not featured a Pac-12 team since 1986, and only the third time no Pac-12 team has been present in the 30-year history of the WCWS.

It should be a pretty exciting matchup. Who do you think will win it all?

#29
CatOsterFan

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Oklahoma. Keilani Ricketts is playing so well averaging over 13 strikeouts per game. Plus the games are played in Oklahoma City so Oklahoma is basically playing home games throughout the tournament.

#30
KCSoftball

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Well, I am 1/2 right: Oklahoma beat Cal for my "fantasy WCWS title," and Oklahoma made it and I am sticking with them. Ricketts is going to be the difference. She is the Babe Ruth (pitcher/hitter/player) of fastpitch and an elite pitcher/player and is going to get better as she matures. Team USA is lucky to have her leading them.

Look for the Pride to try to give away the farm to get her :) I'd sign her to a player contract in a second and then sign her to a personal services contract to make sure she joined my team! She is on a level of Cat, Monica, Jennie, Lisa and the other great pitchers of the past.

#31
SpartanIlliniCub

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No matter how many times I watch her I am always impressed with Keilani. She is really spectacular and I also think she is going to lead her team to the WCWS crown. I'm watching game #1 right now and all the players look so much happier not playing in the blistering heat of the day like they did over the weekend. There's still no score in the bottom of the 3rd; both pitchers are playing really well.

#32
KCSoftball

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Oklahoma is a "associate" member of the Pac-12. After all they have nine girls from California on their roster, including Keilani Ricketts.

#33
SpartanIlliniCub

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Oklahoma handily defeated Alabama last night in Game #1 of the WCWS final. Keilani Ricketts once again dominated with a 7-inning 12-strikeout performance, allowing 5 hits and 1 earned run. On offense, Ricketts also added a hit and a run of her own for good measure.

Traina pitched well but not well enough to win a WCWS game. She threw 7 innings, 6 strikeouts, 11 hits, and 2 earned runs. Any time you give up 11 hits bad things are going to happen. I'm surprised she only gave up 2 earned runs.

Traina is too good of a pitcher to let this one setback affect her. She and the rest of the Crimson Tide have an opportunity to bounce back tonight. But I must say the way Oklahoma is playing right now they look like a team of destiny. And tonight Oklahoma has a chance to clinch the 2012 title. Keilani Ricketts is SO good and that scowl she has while she pitches is terrifying. I can't wait to watch tonight!

#34
jlurban

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Sophomore Jackie Traina
was named WCWS MVP.

THE CRIMSON TIDE WINS IT ALL!

News article from the Alabama softball website, posted 6/7/12:

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Alabama Rallies to Take First Softball Title The championship is the first NCAA softball title by a Southeastern Conference school

OKLAHOMA CITY The Alabama softball team claimed its first national championship in program history as it downed Oklahoma, 5-4, Wednesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

"First, I just want to say thank you to everybody involved with the tournament," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "It was a heck of a run for us, a dream-come true for everybody at Alabama, and I've got to congratulate Oklahoma on a heck of a year. I definitely think they'll be back."

With the win, Alabama won the best-of-three series against the Sooners, 2-1, and finished the season, 60-8. The Crimson Tide becomes the first school from the Southeastern Conference to ever win a national title in softball. Oklahoma ends their season with a 54-10 record.

"For us, I don't think it's sunk in yet," Murphy added. "It's been a long time coming. It's just been an incredible nine or ten days here in Oklahoma City, and each game just got better and better and better. I'm just thrilled with the championship."

All-American sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina earned the win and finished 42-3 on the season. Traina, who was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, threw a complete game four-hitter, giving up four runs and striking out six batters. The 42 wins for Traina are a school record and are tops in the nation. She also broke the single season school record, posting 361 punchouts on the year.

The Tide overcame two rain delays, including a three hour delay to start the game and a three-run deficit to earn the win. UA tallied three of its four runs in the fourth inning after the second delay.

Oklahoma used two home runs to race out to an early three run lead after three innings but the Tide plated four in the fourth. Sophomore Kaila Hunt scored the first run for Alabama on a wild pitch and then the Tide scored three more, all with two outs.

Senior Amanda Locke ripped a single through the left side to score senior Kendall Dawson. Junior Courtney Conley then hit a double off the wall to score Locke. Conley finished off the scoring by racing to the plate on a throwing error on a Jazlyn Lunceford at bat.

UA scored its fifth and final run when Traina hit a liner into right to score senior Jennifer Fenton, who started the inning with a bunt single.

Oklahoma hit a seventh inning home run to pull within one, but Traina fanned USA Player of the Keilani Ricketts for the final out of the game.

Dawson tallied two of the seven hits for the Tide as the first four hitters atop the Alabama lineup each collected hits.

Junior Kayla Braud, Fenton, Locke and Traina all earned WCWS All-Tournament team honors. Traina led the Tide with a .400 (6-for-15) average over the course of the tournament, pacing the squad with a home run and six RBI. Fenton and Braud each collected eight hits while Locke batted .333 with a home run and five RBI.

Alabama reached the 60-win mark for just the third time in school history. The 60 wins in 2012 are the most since the 63 wins in 2005.



#35
SpartanIlliniCub

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What a difference a few days makes! After watching that 1st WCWS finals match I really though Oklahoma had the title locked down, but Alabama won the 2nd and 3rd games in dramatic fashion and captured the 2012 WCWS national title.

In game #2 Keliani Ricketts had one of her worst games of the season. She only lasted 3.1 innings and gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits. Her defense also did not help her by allowing two other unearned runs off of senseless errors while Keilani was pitching and allowing a total of 4 unearned runs throughout the game.

Oklahoma was down 8-1 after the 6th inning and mounted a small comeback in the 7th inning with 5 runs, but Jackie Traina struck out the final two Oklahoma batters and ended the inning and the game with an 8-6 win. Traina finished the match with 7 innings pitched, 5 hits, and 4 earned runs.

Game #3 was a very exciting match and a great way to end the Division I softball season. Ricketts performed much better than she did in Game #2 with 7 strike outs, 7 hits and 3 earned runs. But the difference in this game again came down to defensive errors. Oklahoma allowed in two unearned runs which ended up as the difference in the game.

Traina pitched 7 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 6 hits with 6 strikeouts. So while Keilani did not pitch in the normal dominant fashion we are accustomed to, she allowed fewer earned runs and pitched well enough to win; however, her defense failed her.

Congrats to the Alabama Crimson Tide who played very well the entire season, peaked at the exact right moment, and defeated a real juggernaut in the Oklahoma Sooners. This is the first NCAA softball national title for Alabama.

#36
CatOsterFan

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Keilani just did not look like herself these last two games. Maybe she was tired and just did not have the juice in the final two games. Keilani was striking out a minimum of 10 batters per game for the entire WCWS and all of the sudden she is only throwing 5 and 6 strikeouts. Maybe she got injured somewhere along the way. She was way too good to come up short. I cannot figure out what happened.

#37
SpartanIlliniCub

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Plain and simple, Jackie Traina outperformed her in the face of similar batters.

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#38
SpartanIlliniCub

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All is not lost! 2012 NCAA Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts is only a junior! She will have a chance again next year to take Oklahoma all the way. I am so happy I get to follow and watch her for one more year.

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"I'll be baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!"




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