Today, Thursday May 28th marks the start of the 2015 NCAA Women’s College World Series of Softball (WCWS), and you should at some point over the next few days flip over to ESPN and watch some of it, or all of it.
You see, for these players, the WCWS is pretty damn close to the pinnacle of the sport. Softball isn’t currently on the Olympic program (fingers are crossed though) and while the sport does have a professional league in the NPF, it’s certainly not the MLB. This is the event young girls dream about, so you better believe that these women leave everything on the field.
Not to mention, the WCWS is like a marathon. The tournament is double elimination and spread out over just 5-6 days, so it’s pretty much a non-stop ride for the eight teams vying for the title. They’ve already had to advance through the regional and super regional rounds and there really won’t be any rest days from here on out. That’s especially true for any team who ends up in the loser’s bracket as they’ll have to face at least two double headers if they expect to make it to the best of three championship series, which begins Monday night.
Plus, this isn’t baseball. Pitchers don’t just come in for an inning here or three innings there, some will carry their teams the entire way. Last weekend in the super regionals round, Alabama’s freshman pitcher Alexis Osorio threw 241 pitches. That’s both impressive and kind of insane.
Still need some convincing? Here’s three simple reasons to watch softball this weekend.
I could rattle off a bunch of stats about batting averages, home runs, strikeouts, and the like, but ESPN’s Sports Science probably makes the best case for why softball is so fascinating when it comes to throwing and batting, check it out.
Bases in softball are just 60 feet apart so defensive players have to be on the ball, literally, all the time if they want to get an out. Expect to see plenty of diving plays, catchers throwing down, players attempting to turn two, and other wild athletic feats all in an effort to keep runners from scoring. Plus, the top eight seeded teams all made it, so all the games should be close.
You know how in college football and basketball the fans are kind of crazy and it’s fun and everyone has their superstitions, well softball is the same way, only some of that has made it’s way into the dugout. Expect to see a lot of team specific cheers, players making noise much to the chagrin of the umpire, and some pretty damn creative rally caps. Everyone might be there to win, but at the end of the day softball is still just a game, and that’s a refreshing perspective and take on college sports.
For a quick rundown on who’s who in this year’s field of eight, read Graham Hay’s espnW.com’s article “5 Questions Heading Into Women’s College World Series”.
And for the complete schedule of games, click here.