Team Notes from the WCWS
The Women’s College World Series begins Thursday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The event has been held in Oklahoma City every year but one (1996) since 1990.
Listed below is interesting information about the teams and some of their outstanding players:
Alabama pitcher Jackie Traina, who has 37 wins, will tie the Alabama school record held by Shelley Laird (2000) if she wins her opening game Thursday against Tennessee.
Alabama coach Pat Murphy has the most number of players he’s ever had on a team with 20 players from nine different states.
This is Alabama’s eighth trip to the WCWS, which is the most in the Southeastern Conference.
The Crimson Tide has made it to the semifinal round of the WCWS three times-2008, 2009 and 2011.
Alabama has reached 50 or more wins in eight straight seasons and 10 times overall, more than any other team in the SEC.
The defending champs are seeking to become just the third team to win back-to-back titles with Clint Myers the fourth coach. The others are Arizona 07-06; 97-96, all under Mike Candrea; UCLA under Sue Enquist 03-04 and Sharron Backus, 84-85 and 88-89-90.
Myers’ postseason record is 46-11 and his overall record at ASU is 375-88, including 238-32 at home. Myers is one of five DI coaches who have multiple titles dating back to 1982. Myers and Candrea are the only active DI coaches with multiple titles. Myers’ career record is 956-129.
ASU sophomore pitcher Dallas Escobedo is 13-2 so far in the NCAA over two years. She was 10-0 last year and is 3-2 so far in 2012. ASU’s other standout pitcher Hillary Back is 11-3 with a 2-0 record in 2012, 2-1 in 2010 and 7-2 in 2009.
Bach is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and is second all-time at ASU with 87 wins and ninth in strikeouts with 388. In 2012, she hurled the seventh-ever perfect game in school history, March 4 against Wichita State. She is a four-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and an Academic All-American.
Homers have played a major role in the team’s success, especially in the postseason against Syracuse and Louisiana. Against Louisiana, the Sun Devils smashed eight homers to advance to the WCWS. They rank seventh in the nation, averaging 1.4 round trippers per game. The Sun Devils have 88 homers to 37 for their opponents.
ASU (51-9) is 27-0 when scoring in the first inning and 37-1 when scoring first. ASU also won 11 games coming from behind this season.
ASU split with their first game opponent the Oregon Ducks and lead the overall series 52-36 dating back to 1987. The last time ASU faced a conference foe in the WCWS was in 2009 against Washington.
First baseman-pitcher Valerie Arioto broke her leg sliding into second base the second day of practice in January 2011 and was sidelined for the entire season. When she returned earlier this year she hit a homer in her first-at bat. She pitches and also plays first when not in the circle. She’s batting .385 and compiled a 20-3 record on the mound.
Jolene Henderson has been named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year with Arioto being Pac-12 Player of the Year. Jolene’s sister, Danielle, also is a member of the team.
The Golden Bears have a set of twins on the team, Jamia and Elia Reid.
Julian Santos recently received the Eye of the Tiger Award and is one of the team captains, and battles Crohn’s disease. She was voted by her teammates as the main captain before the season and she wears the captain’s ‘C’ right above the Nike check on the front of her jersey. This is the first time LSU has put a captain’s ‘C’ on the jersey.
Brittany Mack, through her relationship with Miracle League Association at Cypress Mounds in Baton Rouge, has challenged the LSU softball community to share the gift of sports with special needs children this season by donating new or gently used sports equipment at home games. All items collected were given directly to the Miracle League and three local schools that Mack visited during the season. At LSU's game versus Ole Miss on April 22, Mack invited all the children to the game as her special VIP guests for "Geaux Play" day at Tiger Park.
Oklahoma has advanced to the Women’s College World Series for the second consecutive year, the first time OU has made the event in back-to-back years since making five straight trips from 2000-04.
The Sooners have won their last eight games, including five postseason games. In its five postseason games, OU has outscored its opponents 45-5 and have a 72-7 scoring edge in its last eight games.
The Sooners are now tied for the nation’s lead in home runs with 95. After four in its two Super Regional wins over Arizona, OU jumped Alabama (93) and tied New Mexico with 95. Freshman Lauren Chamberlain broke the OU and Big 12 single season records for home runs and, after hitting one against Arizona in the Super Regionals, has 27 on the year, currently the 11th best single-season total in NCAA history. Jessica Shults has 19 home runs while Keilani Ricketts has 16 to round out the top three for OU in the category.
OU boasts the nation’s top pitching staff with an ERA of 1.15. Between Keilani Ricketts (393), Michelle Gascoigne (139) and Kirsten Allen (21), the Oklahoma staff has 553 strikeouts this season.
Junior captain Jessica Shults is back in the postseason and making the most of it. After missing last year’s postseason run with pan ulcerative colitis that included a two-week hospital stay, Shults has rebounded and is second on the Oklahoma team with a .382 average. The catcher has played in every game this season.
Freshman back-up catcher/infielder Liz Brenner is the first three-sport women's athlete for the Ducks in 25 years. An All-Pac-12 Freshman Team honoree as an outside hitter in VB last fall, she then unexpectedly joined the basketball team when its top forward went down in December. Ultimately she started eight games on the hardwood and played 21, and averaged 5.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 23.8 minutes a game at forward (with a season scoring high 16 points against USC in late January). As a prep senior, she was the Oregon 6A state basketball and volleyball player of the year, won state shot put titles in 2010 and 2011 (and was a javelin runner-up), and was a 2009 6A first-team all-state softball choice, not to mention an 11-time racquetball world champion.
Oregon's last three-sport female letter winner, Peg Rees, should be in attendance at the game and is the current softball home game P.A. announcer. She lettered in 1974-75-76 (bb/sb/vb).
Becky Sisley, the first Duck softball coach in history (1974-79, 57-49) led UO to its two AIAW World Series trips, and later became the team's first women's a.d. (when the men and women had separate departments). She, too, will be in the stands at the game, and is one of the team's loudest fans. In her 70s, she is still one of the most active people you will ever meet (she was hiking in Machu Pichu three weeks ago and hiked in Austria last summer), and is also a multiple masters world champion in various track and field events.
Oregon coach Mike White, a native of New Zealand, was an outstanding pitcher during his playing career including being a member of the USA National Team. Mike’s daughter, Marist, is a freshman at Stanford.
Jessica Mouse transferred in after finishing her undergrad at LSU, and immediately took over a leadership role for the Bulls, solidifying 3rd base with consistent jaw-dropping defensive plays. With LSU, Mouse never advanced to the Super Regionals. Now, USF and LSU sit on the same side of the bracket in the college world series. Mouse still knows and stays in touch with most of the team and spent Sunday sitting at home cheering on LSU as she watched them on ESPNU.
Laura Fountain had a different kind of ride after the Bulls won the Super Regional Saturday night. The senior catcher’s sister had gone into labor two weeks early, meaning Fountain was piling into her car Saturday night and driving all the way home to Fort Lauderdale, arriving at 2:30 a.m. and just in time to see the birth of her first niece.
South Florida head coach Ken Eriksen, also a former major fast pitch player, is also the head coach of the USA National Team. The Bulls reached the 50-win plateau for the sixth time in school history, all under Eriksen.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Nevins evolved into an elite pitcher this season, combining a strong arm and good movement with a stronger knowledge of the game and a confidence in all of her pitches. This vaulted her into a position as one of the best in the country and she was recognized for it, becoming a top ten finalist for USA Softball’s National Collegiate Player of the Year award. Nevins tossed three no-hitters – one of them a perfect game – and has a stingy 1.03 ERA to go with 323 strikeouts. That strikeout total eclipses Leigh Ann Ellis’ school-record for strikeouts in a season (320, set in 2003), Nevins is getting it done in 70 less innings.
Ivy and Ellen Renfroe’s sister Anna (who will be a freshman at Tennessee next season) recently helped take Trinity Christian Academy to the TSSAA Class A “Spring Fling” State Tournament as a pitcher/infielder. She was part of the 2009 and 2010 Tennessee State Champions alongside her sisters at Trinity. She attended the 2010 WCWS to root for UT, while sitting next to Ellen when they were both still in high school and will likely be in attendance again this week with her parents Marty and Emily. That means we’ll have three Renfroes on the roster in 2013…Anna will likely play on the infield at UT (not expected to pitch).
Junior infielder Melissa Brown’s twin brother Trevor currently plays baseball as an infielder at UCLA (.326 avg., 12 doubles, three HR’s, 46 RBIs)…meaning both will likely be in NCAA Tournament action at the same time as the Bruins are the Pac-12 Co-Champions and will open NCAA Regional play potentially on Friday, June 1.
Freshman Kat Dotson’s dad Gene Dotson played baseball for numerous years in the St. Louis Cardinals organization as well as in Japan and her mom Marie Dotson coached Kat in softball from a very young age and is considered by Kat to be her greatest influence.