2014 Women’s College World Series Breakdown

WCWS Photo by Lyn Esquivel

2014 Women’s College World Series Breakdown

The road to Oklahoma City has been completed by eight teams ready to battle it out in the 2014 Women’s College World Series. There are fantastic storylines all over the place as defending champion Oklahoma returns along with top seed Oregon. These two teams headline a field that is very deep, balanced and pretty much any one of them can win this tournament. The difference is going to be who can get just enough pitching to separate themselves from the pack and win the national championship.


#1 Oregon Ducks

The Ducks have lived up to the number one national seed with relative ease as they knocked out 16th seeded Minnesota in two straight games in the Eugene Super Regional.  There is balance all over the offensive lineup led by Courtney Ceo and Janie Takeda. They have a lock down caliber of pitcher in the circle in Cheridan Hawkins that they can ride all the way to the best of three championship series. As the lone representative of the Pac-12 Conference, it is up to the Ducks to carry the banner of the league and bring the national title back to Eugene.


#2 Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide are outstanding offensively throughout their entire lineup. In the Super Regional against Nebraska, they had to scratch and claw for two straight wins. For example, in game one of the Super Regional, Peyton Grantham hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 12th inning to win the game 6-5. Sophomore outfielder Haylie McCleney leads the way with a .451 batting average along with power from Jadyn Spencer and Kaila Hunt, who have combined for 23 homeruns. In the circle, it starts with senior Jaclyn Traina as her experience on the big stage is going to be very important to the success of Alabama. Sydney Littlejohn and Leslie Jury are probably going to be called upon multiple times in the circle and will have to be lights out just like Traina is capable of for Alabama to win the national title.


#5 Florida Gators

Florida was able to wear down Washington in the decisive third game of the Gainesville Super Regional to win 8-0 and return to Oklahoma City. Kelsey Stewart is the table setter of what is a very dynamic offense when clicking on all cylinders; like they did against Washington in games one and three. If Hannah Rogers and Lauren Haeger can be on point in the circle, they would be a very dangerous contender to win a national championship.


#6 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

The Ragin’ Cajuns took advantage of being a Super Regional host in front of a raucous Lamson Park crowd knocking out Arizona. They are loaded offensively, led by Natalie Fernandez at the top of the lineup. Lexie Elkins, Hayley Hayden and Shelby Redford provide a lethal trifecta of power hitters that have combined for 52 homeruns. In the circle, Christina Hamilton is going to be key for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Hamilton is 29-2 with a 1.53 earned run average on the season. They will have an outstanding following in Oklahoma City and, if they can break through against Kentucky in the opener, Louisiana will set themselves up nicely for a run at the national title.


#7 Oklahoma Sooners

The reigning champs showed the heart of a champion in the Norman Super Regional while outlasting Tennessee. The Sooners dug down in game three to overpower the Volunteers and they outlasted a very difficult battle with Mother Nature all weekend long. If the Sooners are to repeat, it is the offense this time around is going to have to get it done. Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley lead a deep and dangerous offensive attack.  Pitching wise if Kelsey Stevens is on point in the circle then look out for the Sooners once again in Oklahoma City.


#8 Florida State Seminoles

The Seminoles took the ultimate potential knockout punch in a game one 17-3 loss to Michigan in the Tallahassee Super Regional. But, Florida State was not going to be denied as senior outfielder Courtney Senas hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning of game three to send the Seminoles to the Women’s College World Series. In the circle, Lacey Waldrop is more than capable of doing what Keilani Ricketts did for Oklahoma last year and carry Florida State to the Championship series.


#13 Baylor Bears

The Bears went into Athens and took it to fourth seeded Georgia in the first game 9-1 and held off a feisty Bulldog squad in the second game to return to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2011. Sixth-year senior pitcher Whitney Canion has been excellent in the circle all postseason long. Baylor also had a tremendous approach at the plate in the Athens Super Regional as they scored 15 runs and hit multiple key homeruns. This team is battle tested and won’t be intimidated by playing Florida and has the balance of offense and Canion in the circle to make things very interesting in Oklahoma City.


#14 Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky makes its maiden voyage to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series after rallying to win two games in the Los Angeles Super Regional to upset third seed UCLA in dominating fashion. The Wildcats quite frankly could have swept the Bruins but the 14-4 dismantling of UCLA on Sunday in two wins to get to Oklahoma City was very impressive. In the circle, Kelsey Nunley was outstanding, pitching every pitch of the Super Regional. She threw 14 innings on Sunday and kept the Bruins in check. Offensively, they have the right mix of youth and experience to score runs on anyone. In the Super Regional Nikki Sagermann had a 4-for-6 performance in the two wins and that set the tone for the rest of the lineup. This team will be fun to watch and dangerous if they can start well in Oklahoma City.

Photo Contributed by Lyn Esquivel

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