Game one between Oklahoma and Texas Wednesday evening was a shocker as The Oklahoma Sooners we’re hitting on all cylinders with their powerful offensive prowess while Texas looked like a stunned prize fighter who got off a good first jab (Texas taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.) but then gets nailed with an uppercut from their opponent that leaves them dazed (When Oklahoma scored 5 runs in their half of the inning.). Since there’s no run rule in the WCWS the game went the full 7 innings with the final score ending up being the most lopsided final score ever in the history of the WCWS, 16-1 Oklahoma.
Game two on Thursday night was a familiar place for Texas in this year’s tournament win the game or be eliminated. This time though the Cinderella tournament run for Texas, as an unseeded team, come to an end. Through the first several innings Texas had the lead and it looked like a game three would be necessary to decide things but then a combination of some bad fielding by Texas and Oklahoma’s bats coming to life and the game’s score quickly ballooned to a 10-2 lead by the sixth inning for the Sooners with Texas trying to mount a comeback in the ninth inning thanks to a Mia Scott three run home run leading to a final game score of 10-5. The win allowed Oklahoma to continue to cement their place in college softball history as a dynasty, going back to back as champions with this year’s title being Oklahoma’s 6th overal WCWS Championship.
It’s hard to think of any Texas team being called a Cinderella team but this year’s softball team might fit the bill. With an up and down season that at times even looked like they might not make the playoffs and entering it as an unranked team. At first I wasn’t a believer in them either picking them to lose their regional round series against Arkansas and then their super regional round against Washington. I just didn’t think they could ride pitcher Hailey Dolcini’s arm through the whole tournament. But playing through obvious pain Dolcini got Texas to the WCWS..
Once at the WCWS in Oklahoma City a surprising thing happened, pitcher’s Sophia Simpson and Estelle Czeck both got game starts and shined brightly in their winning appearances giving Dolicini’s arm a much needed chance to rest.
Texas also cut down on the fielding errors that had plagued them all year and used speed on the bases and timely hits to score the runs needed to keep winning. Along with taking full advantage of the oppositions errors to put runs on the scoreboard.
For Texas Mia Scott and Alyssa Washington have found their hitting groove and Courtney Day has become a home run machine. Add that to the ever presence bats of Janae Jefferson and Mary Iakopo and you have a winning combination.
Also kudos to head coach Mike White who has continued to get the best out of his players while trying different fielding position options until he found the winning combination.
Once again though the road is gonna be tough one in the finals to bring the championship trophy back to Austin for the first time in school history. Their opponents the Oklahoma Sooners have been called by many this season the greatest woman’s college team ever and with their numbers and stats a good argument can be made for it. Oklahoma can slaughter the ball and at times put runs up on the scoreboard faster then the roadrunner in a cartoon. Their pitching staff is loaded with aces that make you work for every run you get.
On paper it looks like an easy series win and another back-to-back championship for Oklahoma but with Texas this year I’ve learned my lesson and with that Cinderella factor they have going who knows what could happen come game time.
I like rooting for the underdog plus Texas has a special place in my softball heart since the first woman’s college softball game I ever watched they were playing in it. So I’m gonna go with my heart and pick Texas to complete their underdog mission even though my brain is yelling to take Oklahoma.