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WCWS Tournament Of Champions Bracket: Session Five

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In absence of the 2020 WCWS, we bring you the Tournament of Champions! We teamed up with the NCAA to pick the Top 16 teams to walk away with the highly coveted national title. After a hotly contested first round of games, we have 8 teams remaining.

Here’s an in-depth look at the four teams remaining on the LEFT SIDE of the bracket. Make sure you vote on your favorite Championship team so they can advance to the next round!


UCLA 2003

The Bruins’ senior class entered the 2003 season as the only class without a championship title* coming off their worst finish in an NCAA tournament (5th) in 2002. The previous two seasons, the Bruins suffered consecutive runner-up finishes to Oklahoma (2000) and Arizona (2001). With the loss of two Olympians, Stacey Nuevman and Amanda Freed to graduation, the 2003 squad relied heavily on its young freshman class to bring the trophy back to Westwood. Dropping the first game to California, the Bruins clawed back to beat the Texas Longhorns twice on Saturday with Natasha Wately’s infamous slide at home.

In the finals, Keira Goerl started for the Bruins and went on to throw the only no-hitter in Women’s College Series history. Toria Auelua’s ninth-inning RBI single led UCLA to its ninth NCAA Softball Championship as the Bruins defeated California 1-0 in the National Championship Game. The game was originally scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN, but because the Yankees-Red Sox Major League Baseball, the nine-inning thriller was aired on a tape-delayed.

Players To Note: 
Natasha Watley
Senior Shortstop
Natasha Watley The 2003 Pac-10 Player of The Year and the Honda Cup Award Winner was the nation’s top female athlete. The triple-threat lefty anchored the Bruin defense and continued the long line of Olympic shortstops for UCLA. In her senior season, she hit .481 racking up the most hits (102) in the nation and

Keira Goerl 
Junior Pitcher 
In her junior season, Keira Goerl tossed 310.7 innings appearing in 48 games for the Bruins going 40-7, ranking second in the NCAA in ERA (0.63). The junior right-hander was the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the Women’s College Series.

By The Numbers:

Coach: Sue Enquist
Assistant Coach: Kelly Inoye-Perez
Assistant Coach: Gina Vecchinone
Assistant Coach: Lisa Fernandez

Overall Record: 54-7
Pac-10 Record: 17-4

Road to OKC
NCAA Regionals – Fresno, Calif.
vs. Colgate, 8-0 W
vs. Fresno State, 3-0 W
vs. Michigan State, 6-2 W

NCAA Women’s College World Series
vs. California 7-3, L
vs. Louisiana 5-1, W
vs. Washington 2-1, W
vs. Texas, 3-0 W
vs. Texas, 2-1 W
vs. Cal,  W 1-0 (9)


Arizona 2001

Jennie Finch’s perfect season.

Every Arizona game in the WCWS was decided by a single run. The Wildcats arrived in Oklahoma City to play a familiar opponent, No. 6 California Bears. The Cats picked up their first victory over the Bears due in part to a line-drive homer by Toni Mascarenas off the left-field camera tower for a 3-2 win. Arizona took on the defending national champions in their second game of the series, Oklahoma, only to fall behind, 4-0. The Cats went onto make a historic comeback in extra innings to beat OU, 5-4. After a 1-0 win over Stanford, Mike Candrea and his squad faced long-time rival, UCLA in the championship game for the seventh time in history. Amanda Freed started in the circle for the Bruins in a head to head matchup against Jennie Finch. UA scored in the fourth on a homer to right by catcher Linsey Collins, her third WCWS home run and thwarted a seventh-inning rally to take home their sixth national title

Players To Note: 
Jennie Finch
Junior Pitcher 
The junior pitcher went 32-0 and won the Honda Softball Award as was named UA’s fourth National Player of the Year. The tall right-hander finished the season with a 0.54 ERA and held lead her team to three WCWS victories. Finch was successful at the plate as well hitting .313 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs.

Tony Mascarenas 
Senior Infielder 
The All-American veteran blasted three game-changing homers during the series earning all-tournament honors. Mascarenas led the team with 25 homers tying former sluggers, Jenny Dalton and Leah Braatz for the fourth-highest season total. In fact, Arizona set an NCAA record for home runs (126) that season surpassing the 1995 Wildcats by 26 homers.

By The Numbers:

Coach: Mike Candrea (16th Season)
Assistant Coach: Larry Ray
Assistant Coach: Nancy Evans
Record: 65-4
Pac-10 Record: 19-2

Road to OKC 

Regionals
vs. Saint Peter’s, 4-2 W
vs. Texas Tech, 8-0 W
vs. Cal State Fullerton, 5-4 W
vs. Southwest Texas State, 6-2 W

NCAA Women’s College World Series
vs. California, 3-2 W
vs. Oklahoma, 5-4 W
vs. Stanford, 1-0 W
vs. UCLA, 1-0 W


2003 UCLA vs 2001 Arizona

  • #9 Arizona (2001) (67%, 14 Votes)
  • #1 UCLA (2003) (33%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Oklahoma 2000

Oklahoma’s title run was historic on many levels. Not only was it the first national title in program history, but the first by any OU women’s program. The Sooners beat UCLA 3-1 in front of a then-WCWS record crowd of 8,049 in Oklahoma City. Jennifer Stewart held the Bruins to one run in the clinching victory despite striking out just one batter. The Sooners overcame a 13-strikeout performance against UCLA’s Amanda Freed by registering eight hits, including a two-run home run by All-American Lisa Carey. The national title came in head coach Patty Gasso’s sixth season at the helm. Oklahoma’s 66 wins were the most in a single season in program history.

Players To Note
Lisa Carey
Junior
Infielder
The All-American first baseman hit a two-run home run in the third inning of the title-clinching win over UCLA. It was Carey’s second home run in as many days after hitting a game-winning solo shot in the semifinals against Arizona. The Big 12 Player of the Year finished the season leading OU in batting (.405), hits (90), home runs (20) and RBIs (77).

Jennifer Stewart
Sophomore
Pitcher
Stewart earned victories in all four of Oklahoma’s WCWS wins, and was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player. The third-team All-American finished the season 34-6 with a 1.34 ERA and 171 strikeouts.

By The Numbers
Head coach: Patty Gasso
Assistant Coach: Melyssa Panzer
Assistant Coach: Tim Walton
Graduate Assistant: Jennifer Jaime

Record: 66-8
Big 12 Record: 17-1

Road to Oklahoma City
Vs. Cal State Northridge 2-1 W (Regional)
Vs. Oregon State 5-3 W (Regional)
Vs. Oregon State 3-2 W (Regional)

Vs. Cal 2-1 W (WCWS)
Vs. Southern Miss 3-1 W (WCWS)
Vs. Arizona 1-0 W (WCWS)
Vs. UCLA 3-1 W (WCWS)


Photo by Kelly Streeter

Florida 2015

The Gators went wire-to-wire as the nation’s top team. Florida captured the program’s second straight national title by defeating Michigan 2-1 in the championship series at the Women’s College World Series. Florida won the opener against Michigan and took the winner-take-all Game 3 with a 4-1 win to become the third program in history to win back-to-back NCAA titles. Two-way senior star Lauren Haeger shoulder a big load for the Gators and was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player. The SEC champion Gators had an SEC-heavy postseason route, beating Kentucky in the Super Regionals and Tennessee, LSU and Auburn at the WCWS.

Players To Note: 
Lauren Haeger
Senior
Pitcher
Haeger did it all for the Gators during their national title run. A pitcher who can rake, the two-way star finished her career with 73 wins and 71 home runs. The right-hander was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, USA Softball Player of the Year, SEC Pitcher of the Year, SEC Female Athlete of the Year and given the Honda Award for softball. Haeger finished the season 32-2 with a 1.23 ERA, 214 strikeouts and 43 walks in 222.1 IP. She batted .348 with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs.

Kelsey Stewart
Junior
Infielder
Stewart led the Gators in hitting (.435), runs scored (71), hits (101), doubles (19), triples (11) and stolen bases (26). She reached base safely in 63 of Florida’s 67 games. She was a first-team All-American, SEC Player of the Year, SEC All-Defensive team selection and named to the WCWS All-Tournament team. Stewart recorded a hit in 10 of Florida’s 11 NCAA games.

By The Numbers
Record: 60-7
SEC Record: 18-5

Head Coach: Tim Walton
Assistant Coach: Jennifer Rocha
Assistant Coach: Sharonda McDonald

Road to Oklahoma City
Vs. Florida A&M 6-0 W (Regional)
Vs. Hofstra 7-0 W (Regional)
Vs. Florida Atlantic 1-0 (8) W (Regional)
Vs. Kentucky 7-0 W (Super Regional)
Vs. Kentucky 1-0 W (Super Regional)

Vs. Tennessee 7-2 W (WCWS, Game 1)
Vs. LSU 4-0 W (WCWS, Game 2)
Vs. Auburn 3-2 (9) W (WCWS, Game 3)
Vs. Michigan 3-2 W (WCWS, Game 4)
Vs. Michigan 1-0 L (WCWS, Game 5)
Vs. Michigan 4-1 W (WCWS, Game 6)


2000 Oklahoma vs 2015 Florida

  • #4 Florida (2015) (94%, 51 Votes)
  • #5 Oklahoma (2000) (6%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 54

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