It has been a very exciting weekend in Oklahoma City, the site of the Women’s College World Series. History was made, stars were born and we’re finally down to two teams. The Florida State Seminoles and University of Washington Huskies will battle it out over the next three days to determine the National Champions for the 2018 softball season.
This is Florida State’s first trip ever to the finals, while it is Washington’s fourth appearance. Each team will be bringing three All Americans with them to the finals. For FSU, they’re pitcher Kylee Hanson, third baseman Jessie Warren and second baseman Sydney Sherrill. For Washington, they are pitchers Taran Alvelo and Gabbie Plain, along with shortstop Sis Bates.
This is sure to be a heavyweight matchup, as both teams are coming into this series after knocking off some pretty tough opponents. For Washington, they shut out the defending back-to-back champions Oklahoma twice, and also beat the number one seed Oregon, who swept them in a series earlier in the season during Pac-12 play. Florida State, who lost their opening game to UCLA, went on to beat Oregon and then defeated UCLA twice to secure their spot in the finals.
Runs are going to be incredibly hard to come by in this series, as both teams are coming into this series ranked in the top 10 in the country for team ERA. Washington had the number one team ERA (1.10) while FSU is currently sitting in eighth (1.53). UW’s All Americans also both finished in the top 10 in individual ERA, as Gabbie Plain finished the year with a 1.02 ERA and Taran Alvelo had a 1.11. FSU’s All American Kylee Hanson isn’t far behind though, with her 1.23 ERA. FSU can also turn to Meghan King, who finished the year with a 1.33.
Washington’s lineup also finished 14thin the country in team batting average. Led by Taylor Van Zee and Sis Bates at the top of the lineup, this team knows how to get runners on base. FSU’s offense is a dangerous one as well, led by Jessie Warren who hit .394 during the regular season. This will definitely be an exciting matchup to watch in all aspects of the game, as there is a combined total of 11 hitters with batting averages over .300. An incredible seven of those 11 hitters come from Washington’s side.
In a game as fast-paced as softball, defense is incredibly important. Both teams finished inside the top 10 in fielding percentage rankings at the end of the season. Washington’s fielding percentage of .981 was good for fourth, while FSU came in seventh with a .978 fielding percentage. Washington’s defense has been one of the talks of the tournament, and that fierce defense is led by the Pac-12’s defensive player of the year, Sis Bates. She made only three errors all season long and combined with Taylor Van Zee at third base, the left side of Washington’s infield is almost impenetrable. Trysten Melhart has also shown off for the Huskies in right field, as she’s made two incredible diving catches against Oklahoma, that each time, saved the ballgame.
Take some time out of your schedule and watch this matchup, as this will definitely be a WCWS for the ages. Washington and Florida State are both incredibly sound all around teams, and runs will be difficult to come by. Gabbie Plain is the biggest player to watch in this matchup, as the freshman from Australia has definitely made a name for herself on the biggest stage in the game.