School Softball – The harshness and aggressiveness of the Florida state introduced Seminoles to the brink of the WCWS title
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Face of Tenacity of the Florida State is a 19-year-old freshman with a seven-line bio, with “Dreaming to Become a Dentist” being one of the main highlights, with an average of .167 in 10 NCAA tournament games included in the Enter the Women’s College World Series championship series on Tuesday night.
Kalei Harding played last in order, which was supposed to ease the pressure, and then all she had to do was play in front of 12,000 fans, with about 11,500 screeching for number 1 Oklahoma.
“Less pressure in 9th place definitely helps,” said Harding. “But honestly, it’s just a short memory and knowing that I can do it. It only takes a pitch.”
Harding took one throw over the left wall of the field and another to the gap in the right midfield. She drove four runs, knocking out a runner in third place and leading tenth-placed No. 10 Florida State to an 8-4 win over top-seeded Oklahoma on the opening night of the best-of-three championship series.
The Sooners came into the night with the video game offensive numbers, the six thugs at over .400, and the home run record in a single season in sight. They beat two homers – drew within one of Hawaii’s 2010 record of 158 – but they were irrelevant in a game where they were overtaken, overtaken, and beaten by a team that only had a .300 hitter on their line-up.
Kalei Harding finished 9th on Florida State’s roster, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a double home run. Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
The 49-11-1 Seminoles were the aggressors, hitting 11 hits all night and racing the base paths and diving around the field all night. The warm, humid night was drama and although Oklahoma fell 7-0, the Sooners never really seemed to go off the rails – not until FSU’s Josie Muffley clashed violently with OU catcher Lynnsie Elam in the top of the seventh inning .
It seemed like OU had escaped the inning when Hansen marked Muffley as she charged for home plate. But the home plate referee called them to safety due to obstruction and put the Sooners in a four-run hole that they could not negotiate.
Muffley, who suffered a severed shoulder, broken back, and broken ankle in her career, lay in the dirt for a few horrific moments. But she eventually got up on her own and went through the concussion log. She did not return to the field despite FSU coach Lonni Alameda saying Muffley has been examined by a doctor and “will be fine”.
The Seminoles shuffled around their infield after Muffley, their shortstop, left the game but never missed a step. When Jocelyn Alo shot a double on the right wall of the field, Sydney Sherrill, who is usually the third baseman but switched to second, shot a relay throw home that nailed Tiare Jennings to the plate.
“You can’t wait,” said OU coach Patty Gasso after the game. “You can’t sit back and wait. And when you’re on a stage like this, you just have to play well. We just wasted time, not quite finished, not very easy swinging.
“Well, (I’m) not taking anything away from Florida State. They just put it on us, bottom line. I mean, they were good tonight. Everything they did was solid. The defense was pretty solid. Pitching, Very good. Their offense was absolutely on point in everything they did. Aggressive base running. We have to play. We didn’t play. “
The Sooners were trying to be aggressive in the lower part of the second inning when Nicole Mendes switched on a popout and raced to third base. But it was thwarted by a right fielder Harding’s rifle. A few minutes later, Harding hit her homer and she scored the 4-0 with double doubles in the fourth inning.
Three years ago, when Florida State won its only national championship, Harding was a high school student and watched the game on her cell phone during the travel ball. Alameda is not surprised that she is now at the center of the Seminoles and one win away from a national championship. The rookie has played various positions this season and beaten in the entire order. Alameda said Harding is so experienced at this point that she’s basically doing a second time.
Like Oklahoma, Florida State had to win four playoffs in a row to reach the championship. It didn’t have the gross offense to fall back on like the Sooners. Alo and Jennings themselves teamed up over the season to outdo the Seminoles.
“I don’t know if anyone has ever played in these surroundings unless you’re playing Oklahoma at home for a national championship. At this second level, that’s a different story. It echoes. It’s really, really cool. And I was so proud of it. ” we all. “FSU coach Lonni Alameda
They put their hopes in the circle on Danielle Watson, a thrower who statistically turns out to be the number 3 starter of the FSU. Watson kept the Sooners hitless for the first three innings, and when they struggled in the sixth inning, she made her way to Kathryn Sandercock, who came out of a two-on-two-out jam.
“(The crowd was) amazing. It’s amazing for the game,” said Alameda. “I don’t know if anyone has ever played in these surroundings unless you’re playing Oklahoma at home for a national championship. At this second level, that’s a different story. It echoes. It’s really, really cool. And I was so proud of it. ” all of us, even myself. I know I’ve coached a lot of games and been to a lot of places, but I often think: Wow, that’s so loud, that’s so cool for our sport. And all of our children just got it and felt absolutely comfortable at the moment. “
Despite the home crowd, Oklahoma faces a daunting task that, according to ESPN stats and intelligence, only 1 in 5 WCWS teams that lost their first game has ever done.
But no team has beaten the Sooners twice this season.
“I definitely choose this team,” said Mendes. “This team is one of the most talented teams I’ve ever been on. And we know how to fight. So I think when we get out tomorrow, not only will our backs be against the wall, I know who” is in my team. I know who is in my lineup. I know who can come in and crack. And I know who’s in our bullpen. And I see that and I am, this is the team that I want to go to. This is the team that can. “