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8 picks to make the 2023 Women’s College World Series

Article and Photos by Jonathan Noah Padilla

8 Picks to make the 2023 Women’s College World Series from @bagthebandit
#RoadToWCWS #NCAASoftball

#1 Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma has been automatic when it comes to making it to the WCWS. They are the definition of dominance in the game of softball. Who wouldn’t pick the Sooners? They lead the NCAA on both sides of the ball. Their top-scoring offense is backed by a stable of killer pitchers who hold a team ERA of 0.86. Together, Nicole May, Alex Storako, and Jordy Bahl, have combined for a NCAA leading 32 shutouts in 55 games. The back-to-back champs look to be headed for a three peat.

#9 Stanford Cardinal

Stanford has played a tough schedule throughout the 2023 season which included games against 11 NCAA D1 tournament teams (it would of been 12 if not for a canceled game against Central Arkansas). Needless to say, this team has the potential to make a run to Oklahoma City with the sticks of River Mahler and Taylor Gindlesperger in the lineup. They have a potential match up with #8 Duke in the Super Regionals of whom they will seek to avenge a 4-2 loss to from earlier in the season.

#5 Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama is a top program in the nation. Ashley Prange carries the big stick in this lineup as she leads the Crimson Tide in homeruns. Ally Shipman and Bailey Dowling are both above .300 for the season. The biggest question for Alabama will be if Montana Fouts will be available after she left a game in the SEC tournament with a left leg injury. A Fouts-less Crimson Tide will have some overcoming to do as she is the NCAA leader in strikeouts.

#13 Texas Longhorns

Last year’s runner up has a chip on their shoulder. Texas wants to make it back the championship and to add fuel to their fire, they feel disrespected after being given a #13 seed. Ashton Maloney, Mia Scott, Bella Dayton, and Viviana Martinez lead the Longhorns offensively. Texas has four very capable pitchers in Morgan Mac, Citlaly Gutierrez, Sophia Simpson, and Estelle Czech. Mac leads the Horns with 18 wins. If Texas gets hot, they can easily find themselves back in the championship.

#3 Florida State Seminoles

Florida State got upset last year in regionals. The Seminoles will have that as motivation as they seek to make it back to the WCWS. They could quite possibly have the most difficult path to Oklahoma City with both a hot South Carolina and Central Florida team in the Tallahassee regional. After that, a potential meeting with #14 Georgia. Florida State has a lot of returners. Jahni Kerr and Kaley Mudge both hit over .350. Katie Dack, Michaela Edenfield, and Kalei Harding provide power. Kathryn Sandercock is a workhorse in the circle with the skill to shut down any lineup.

#6 Oklahoma State Cowgirls

Oklahoma State is an all around team that should not be taken lightly. The Cowgirls are in arguably the best conference for softball and they compete well. Offensively, Rachel Becker is hitting over .400 and finds a way on base more times than not. The whole lineup can hurt you at any moment in a game. Kiley Naomi is a do it all shortstop who also leads the team in homeruns and stolen bases. Other big sticks include Micaela Wark and Morgyn Wynne. The dynamic duo of Lexi Kilfoyl and Kelly Maxwell split time on the rubber but both can be lights out.

#7 Washington Huskies

Washington is another powerhouse that lost in the regional round last season. The Huskies are led by Baylee Klingler who hits over .400 while leading the team in hits, homers, and RBIs. Madison Huskey is right on Baylee’s heels in each of those categories. Sami Reynolds is another bat to worry about. Washington has a freshman sensation in the circle, Ruby Meylan. The Huskies are a good bet to make it to the WCWS with a potential Super Regional against #10 LSU standing in their way.

#15 Utah Utes

Utah is fresh off winning the PAC-12 tournament over top seeded UCLA. They are hot and ready to make a run. Aliya Belarde is the top hitter on the team and leads the Utes in runs. Karlie Davison and Ellessa Bonstrom bring the thunder in the homer category. And watch out for speedster Haley Denning on the bases. Mariah Lopez is the big arm for the Utes. Don’t be surprised if the scrappy Utah Utes make it to the WCWS.

Upset potential:

Wichita State Shockers, South Carolina Gamecocks, Baylor Bears, Louisiana Rajun Cajuns, San Diego State Aztecs, Oregon Ducks

8 Picks to make the 2023 Women’s College World Series from @bagthebandit
#RoadToWCWS #NCAASoftball

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Jonathan Noah Padilla

Jonathan Noah Padilla is the sports journalist/photographer for The Hideout. Sports are what he loves. He covers games and spotlights your local athletes in New Mexico and beyond. He worked for eleven years in graphic design, marketing, social media management, and content creation for various business’ and is a current U.S. Army officer. You can also find him officiating local high school basketball games. Be sure to say hi to “The Bandit” when you see him out at your games.

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