Florida Softball Looks to Repeat

Florida Softball Looks to Repeat

Winning the national softball title at the Division I level is certainly special. But repeating after winning it is even more of an accomplishment. So will Florida, which won the 2014 College World Series, have enough to repeat in 2015 and become the first team in almost a decade to win back-to-back national titles? The last team to win back-to-back national titles was Arizona in 2006-07.

There is a certain amount of pressure involved winning the title considering a team faces elimination at the WCWS, but winning it brings even more pressure. There is the pressure of hoping to repeat as national champion as well as being a target of the opposition, which would like nothing better than to defeat the defending national champion.

As the season unwinds, the pressure can be unbearable for some teams, but the teams that handle it will in the long run come out ahead. Taking one game at a time and not getting ahead of yourself are advised. It's a long season and everything must be taken in its proper procedure. From the regionals to the super regionals, the defending national champ can't afford elimination and make the plays to return to Oklahoma City. After winning the national title in 2013, national champ Alabama didn't advance to the WCWS in 2014, losing in the Super Regional. Having the right mental attitude throughout the season and especially for NCAA tournament play is paramount if the national champion returns to defend its title won the year before.

To repeat a team needs consistent pitching, outstanding defense, and a balanced offensive attack. Through Wednesday, Florida was achieving all of these en route to a 21-0 record. The Gators were hitting .330 as a team, while the opposition was hitting only .135, indicating the three Gator pitchers are more then doing their job. Eight of the Gators are batting .316 or higher and the team has made only 16 errors in 21 games. The three pitchers, Lauren Haegler, Melanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio, each have earned run averages of less than 1.00 and have combined to strike out 188 batters in 127 innings. What's even more impressive is the Gators have stayed away from injuries and have put it all together through the team's first 21 games.

It's an impressive performance indeed, but as we all know there still is much left to the season and the key is to peak at the right time. That would be when the regionals and super regionals are played. For now, the Gators should be happy with the way they are playing and have accepted the challenge to repeat as national champs. Only time will tell if they become the first team since Arizona to repeat.