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WCWS Player Diary: Live From OKC

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Whether it’s their first time participating in the Women’s College World Series or a return trip to the sport’s biggest stage, teams never take any moment in Oklahoma City for granted.

The daily diary entries from players allows readers to experience the event through their eyes during the championship run. From the hotel to the dugout to the media appearances, players will be providing behind-the-scenes access to all the action.

Friday, May 31

Kathryn Ogg, Oklahoma State

Welcome back to another day in the life with the Cowgirls.

We started off the day with the most important meal of course… breakfast. We headed to Honey Bunny Biscuit (bomb coffee there BTW). After that, we returned to the hotel and grabbed some merch that was given to us (super swag, as per usual).

We got a chance to then hangout with our strength coach in the weight room, hitting some good mobility and stretching. Good to keep the bodies loose when there’s a later game time of course.

After that was complete, I took a lil nap! Gotta recharge the tank when you can.

After feeling well rested & ready to go, we went to Classen Curve… naturally I opted for CAVA! CAVA to me is defined by a simple phrase “CAVA IS LOVE, CAVA IS LIFE.” Absolutely wonderful meal.

After filling ourselves up, we headed back to the hotel.

Some of us set up a little birthday surprise for Lexi, as it was the queen Lexi Kilfoyl’s birthday today…

We love her.

Shoutout my sister for helping with the whole birthday surprise.

After celebrating her and then watching our most epic hype video (our video creative, Cooper, is LEGIT), we were ready to get changed and on the road for the game.

We got to the field around 6:30, heading to the practice field shortly after. We stretched, I shagged home run balls, I threw long toss with Lex, and then we headed to the main field.

We played our game with my most favorite team by my side. After the game, we enjoyed a meal, courtesy of our wonderful hotel, the Skirvin, and turned in our unis!

Now, I’m showered, ready for bed, and excited for another day ahead.

Goodnight softball fans & friends, sleep tight… see y’all tomorrow.

Jala Wright, Duke

Today was bittersweet. I made my debut for the WCWS yet it was not my best performance and we lost.

On the positive, what an experience to walk out onto the Hall of Fame field with thousands of fans in attendance and more watching at the comfort of their homes. My parents had HUGE smiles on their faces with their phones out soaking up every moment. I am grateful they enjoyed the moment as much as I did. 

The energy was unreal as we walked out onto the field. I made sure to do a couple 360 spins to take it all in.

As I took the mound today, I was not nervous. I just wanted to be a dawg helping my team in the best way possible.

The first two outs were grand! Two strikeouts off my bread and butter changeup. Woot woot!  Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned from there. I tip my cap to Oklahoma. Great teams make adjustments. They did just that.

But, it is time to have a short-term memory. One performance does not define you unless you allow it. Great players learn from it then move on. That’s what I intend to do.

Here’s to tomorrow! The Blue Devils are not done yet!

Thursday, May 30

Kaitlyn Lim, Stanford

The first full day in Oklahoma was a busy, yet super fun one! After not setting an alarm and choosing to sleeping in, my roommate and I decided to treat ourselves with Starbucks for breakfast. After coming back to the hotel and finishing some homework, I went with some of the team to explore Bricktown. We walked along the river and took photos with some fans. It really is such a beautiful place and I am beyond happy to be back.

After our exploring, we grabbed some lunch and started getting ready for our Media Day at the stadium. After lots of pictures, TikToks, and other funny videos, we got ready to hit the dirt for practice. It was so great to be back on the field while also getting to see those that weren’t here last year get to experience their first time on the field. After practice, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a team dinner. The team walked through Bricktown to head to Bourbon Street Cafe. We ate some delicious alligator, catfish, calamari, steaks, and pasta. We capped the day off with some ice cream and a beautiful sunset!

Kathryn Ogg, Oklahoma State

We got here yesterday at 3ish, just in time for the inaugural event. We got to hangout out the Science Museum, honor some swag award winners, and watch an explosion at the end!

This morning, after a chill night yesterday following the event, I was ready to rock and roll for my morning coffee (simply cannot survive without it). Shoutout my coffee group (Meg and Rachel) for our morning walks. After that, we went on a little mile walk to the Neighborhood Jam for some breakfast!

We then went back to our hotel, got HOOKED UP with some Nike gear, as we call it around here… Nike Christmas. Following Christmas, the hitters went to take some BP, and I enjoyed some quality rest and relaxation, aka NAP TIME!

After that, the team got ready for media. Rare makeup day for me today but I did in fact get fully ready. We rolled out at 3, after we got some pizza pre media in the team room. We went to media until about 6ish, stay tuned for some video board content…

At 6, we did some warm up things on the practice field then headed over at 6:15 for on field reps. After practice, we got back to the hotel, changed for a nice dinner and enjoyed a wonderful meal at Michael’s. 10 outta 10 recommend spending a meal sitting next to Jilyen Poullard. Funniest person I know.

Now, I’m just chillin in bed, waiting for another fun day here in OKC and GAME DAY!

Goodnight y’all. Sleep tight.

Jala Wright, Duke

WCWS/ESPN media day, setting foot on THE field of WCWS, getting Holly Rowe to bark like a free swaggy dog, and being named ALL-AMERICAN.

Those are just a few highlights of what my day held on Tuesday. Sounds boring right?

LOL…WRONG. This day goes down as one of the best days of my entire life. It may even top the day I get married. I was an emotional wreck today!

I have never felt so much joy running from station to station like a chicken with its head cut off for the promos and teasers. My favorites were all of them, every single one of them. I experienced an interview with THE voices of softball – Beth Mowins, Michelle Smith, Jessica Mendoza, and Holly Rowe. Acting like Beyoncé, dancing and model walking, for the ESPN tag shoots. Talking through happy tears in a radio interview. Lastly, making TikToks with a whole lot of attitude.

When all the media madness was said and done, I completely forgot I had to practice! I hopped on a golf cart so quickly to the field so Coach Young wouldn’t be mad.

Setting foot onto the Hall of Fame Stadium sent chills through my spine. Of course, millions have seen it on TV but there’s nothing like being their firsthand. The walk underneath the tunnel set the floodgates of chills loose. I made sure to take slow steps as I wanted to take in every single crevice of the field. Cameras positioned precisely at every single angle were focused right on the dirt. Rows on rows of seats waiting to be occupied stared back at me. Finally, the circle – my happy place – echoed to me that I belonged here.

After practice, we always do a quick wrap up about the vibes during practice, what to expect from a weekend series, and any shoutouts for girls of the team. Around this time, I am trying my hardest to stay locked in a little more because I am craving food. Coach Young mentioned she had a few shoutouts…my intuition started sounding alarms in my head.

Coach said – “We continue to make history this year yet again…we have a few ALL-Americans to announce. Claire Davidson our first unanimous first team All- American, Aminah Vega our next All-American…” Then, Coach Young looked at me!

“Finally, Jala Wright is our last second team All-American!”

I couldn’t do anything but smile at that moment. For one, I didn’t know if I heard her correctly that she attached All-American to my name. Two, my eyes began to water so I couldn’t quite see the reactions. As soon as Coach Young hug me … I turned into a wailing baby. Coach kept saying, “You did it J, you did it! This is what you’ve been dreaming of. All the wins, losses, experiences, was worth it!”

I’ve been dreaming of being an ALL-American ever since I started my collegiate career. I have had a vision board hung over my bed with an All-American logo right in the center. There are no right words to describe the feeling when you finally accomplish a dream you held in your heart for so long.

To wrap up the day I had an All-American press conference with my girls – Claire & Aminah, laughing, crying, hysterical phone calls with my parents, a magnificent team dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse, and getting ice cream with THE Megan Betsa, one of my favorite people and mental coaches.

As I lay in bed typing this out for you all, I can’t help but smile from ear to ear reliving the whole day all over again. I knew this was going to be the best week of my life. Yet, Day 2 is already doing its big one! Also, I haven’t even played yet! I can only imagine what game time will hold!

Madison Pacini, UCLA

Wow, only 24 hours before we take the stage here in OKC. I’m so fired up and excited to take the field. Day 2 was filled with lots of poses and photos as my team and I had our media day shoot at Hall of Fame Stadium, followed up with practice and a visit from Easton reps at our hotel.

We had an early start to our day, having team breakfast at 7 and heading out to the stadium for our 8 am photo shoot. The Bruins got nice and glammed up wearing our all bruberry blue uni’s (Aka my Fav uniform). Majority of my teammates made TikToks doing dances and we also took a few flics for the gram. We took professional pictures in the concourse and eventually had the chance to record a couple of individual/group videos for the video board. Three of my teammates and I (Jadelyn Allchin, Janelle Meono, and Thessa Malau’ulu) were the designated hype group for the video board hype shoot and also got to pair up to play heads up and read my lips. Thessa and I absolutely killed the games and then we were off to go to practice.

Practice today was super quick and efficient as our coaches prepared a timeline for every drill we had. We had roughly 45 minutes to practice on the main field after warming up on the practice field. When I tell you how excited I was to finally touch the dirt at Hall of Fame Stadium, I was so excited! Stepping on the main field for the first time was an amazing feeling. As I looked up at the stands, I felt overwhelmed with so much humility and joy. I could feel my 8 year old self screaming inside with so much excitement to play.

After finishing practice, we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a visit from the Easton reps. For lunch, we had Potbelly sandwiches, which were extremely delicious. The visit from Easton was great as one of our Bruin alumnae, Julie Tobyansen, greeted us with some cool Easton gear. Our day was later spent with study hall, a team meeting, and team dinner. It’s time to now get some shut eye for the big first day tomorrow!!

Wednesday, May 29

Jala Wright, Duke

It all begins today! I am one of the select few who get to say she is competing for the 2024 WCWS national championship. UNREAL. As I am typing this, I immediately thought of the TikTok sound, “I think I like this little life, this little life” LOL.

First and foremost, I want to thank GOD. HE knew all along I would be here today. In this moment, in Oklahoma City, competing for a national championship while giving my firsthand account to you all. I get chills knowing he laid a hand on my life long before I could ever dream of this reality.

So to dive right into it… I woke up (Tuesday) morning anticipating the immense nerves and overwhelming emotions yet I was calm. I know I am right where I am supposed to be. Duke softball is only seven years old. Yet, it feels as though we were always meant to make an appearance here in the WCWS. The girls before me had a vision, we just so happened to reap the benefits. This first time milestone is meant for teams 1-6! Without their blood, sweat, and tears we would be nothing. So thank you!

Team 7 experienced our first practice at the University of Central Oklahoma, much needed manicure & pedicure appointments, and the annual WCWS banquet. Walking into the Oklahoma Science Museum, the location of the banquet, put everything in perspective. We are truly among the best of the best. Cream of the crop as you will. Go getters, icons, future All-Americans, and Olympians all stood before me today. Not going to lie, I fangirled a lot of the girls/coaches – Maya Brady, Reese Atwood, Coach Rocha (OU), the list goes on. My thumbs twiddled every so often sending updates to my parents that I saw this player or coach!

I’ve heard stories from other girls who got to experience the WCWS before but it’s nothing like being there truly in person to experience it all. Photo booths captured my big smiles from ear to ear. The food area saw my presence multiple times to eat away the nerves. Lastly, the long winding slide in the front corner of the museum held my squeals and joy as I slid from top to bottom.

I was truly on cloud nine.

Hearing Jaysoni Beachum and Nijaree Canady names called for the National Freshman and Player of the Year awards was the cherry on top as I got a sneak peak before the rest of the world did. The whole banquet itself was a sneak peak of what Oklahoma City – softball heaven – has in store for the Blue Devils and I this week.

If this is what Day 1 is like…man…I’m in for many more extraordinary blessings. I will be sure to capture every moment for you all.

Madison Pacini, UCLA

We had a jammed packed schedule on Tuesday with film, practice, a visit from Nike at our hotel, study hall and then ending the day going to the OKC team banquet.

We started off our day watching film for about an hour and a half for our upcoming game Thursday. All of us our very eager and ready to take on our first game here in OKC. Energy is very high, and as we say here, calm is contagious. The majority of the team is well-rested since a lot of us went to bed early after the long travel day.

After film, we drove out to Oklahoma Central University, where we practiced for around two hours. We hit BP, took infield and outfield, and unfortunately got rained on and had to move to an indoor facility.

Later on after practice, Nike reps met us at our hotel and gave us some cool new merchandise. Everyone was given a Nike hoodie/sweat matching set, running shorts, lounge shorts, bras, t-shirts, leggings, glasses, a water bottle, and a giant tote bag.

We had around an hour and a half to get ready for our last event of the day. We traveled to the Science Museum down the street of the Hall of Fame Stadium. All eight teams that made the World Series were there. There was a lot to explore at the event as well as some cool photo booth kiosks, a dip n dots stand, and a Segway ride training section. We had a great time hanging out, socializing with other teams, and enjoying the cool experiences at the museum. The event was then topped off with speeches and announcements for Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.