Softball Championship Series, Day 1

Oklahoma College Softball

Softball Championship Series, Day 1

Monday’s first game of the NCAA Championship Series was the Strikeout Cancer Night with Oklahoma deep snapper Austin Woods throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Woods spent last season battling Hodgkin lymphoma while practicing and playing. The NCAA and Northwest Mutual, along with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the American Cancer Society, worked together to bring the fifth annual StrikeOut Cancer Night.  The NCAA donated a dollar for every ticket sold. The proceeds are directed to the Oklahoma Region of the High Plains Division of the American Cancer Society.

Monday’s attendance of 8,300 set a Session 7 record and brought this year's total to 62,156 (average of 8,879), which is ahead of last year's then-record 60,761 through the same number of sessions (average of 8,680).

Madison Shipman, who was hitting .182 entering Monday’s game, hit her first homer of the WCWS and 11th of the season in the 11th  inning to give the Lady Vols what some people thought was enough—a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 11th. But  OU felt and proved otherwise with an amazing comeback capped by Lauren Chamberlain’s dramatic two-run homer just inside the foul pole in the bottom of the 12th against losing pitcher Ellen Renfore, who threw 180 pitches. Some wondered if Tennessee should have brought her a fresh arm, mainly her sister Ivy.

The 12-inning contest marked the longest WCWS championship game or championship series game since 1984 when UCLA beat Texas A&M, 1-0, in 13 innings to win the title.  The win for Oklahoma was its first against Tennessee in four tries. The teams last met in 2010, with the Lady Vols taking a 4-2 victory. Oklahoma improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games this year while Tennessee fell to 2-3.  The contest was the longest in OU postseason history and the longest game in UT program history.

The Sooners won the game on a two-run walk off home run by sophomore Lauren Chamberlain in the 12th inning. It was her 30th home run of the season, making her the second player in NCAA history to reach that plateau twice (she hit 30 last year also). Chamberlain, who also doubled in the third inning, has hit safely in 15 straight games, a career-long streak. She leads the 2013 WCWS with 18 total bases (in just four games), which is seven more than the next highest total. She has three homers in this year’s WCWS.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, junior Brittany Williams doubled with one out to score senior Keilani Ricketts from second base. Junior Destinee Martinez added a two-out RBI-triple, cutting the deficit to 3-2. The triple was the third for the Sooners in the WCWS after entering the tournament with just one on the season. Callie Parsons, the next batter, plated Williams with an RBI-double to tie the game before being thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

The Sooners have fallen behind three times in four WCWS games. Each time they have responded with at least three runs in the next half inning and never trailed again.  Oklahoma is now 54-0 this season when scoring three or more runs in a game.

Both pitchers (Tennessee junior Ellen Renfroe and Ricketts) pitched complete games, marking career-long outings for each of them.  Ricketts allowed five hits and six walks. With 13 strikeouts, she recorded her 16th double-digit strikeout performance of the year and her third in this year’s WCWS. She hurled 188 pitches. Renfore allowed 10 hits and walked three batters while striking out 13.


Softball College World Series Central