6th-seeded Florida State clinched their first WCWS title in program history with an 8-3 win over #5 Washington.
Florida State (58-12, 21-3 ACC) had previously been the team with the most WCWS appearances without a title, having made 11 trips to college softball’s Holy Grail. Meghan King (26-6) got the win for the second straight day against the Huskies, while Taran Alvelo had her rough
Washington (52-10, 15-8 Pac-12) came up two wins short of the 2nd national championship in program history, having won it all in 2009. This was the Huskies’ 4th appearance in the finals, having also made it in 1996 and 1999.
Taran Alvelo (23-5) took the loss for UW in her roughest outing of the season, giving up 7 runs (6 earned) on 7 hits in just 3 1⁄3 innings.
A couple of unfavorable calls early helped FSU get some of their early runs and take the lead. In the past, Alvelo has been very good at channeling her frustration into pitching better. This time, the close calls seemed to linger in her mind, as she missed her spots on multiple occasions.
Washington jumped on top early. Three pitches into the game, UW already had a 1-0 lead, as Taylor Van Zee singled on the first pitch, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored when Sis Bates’ sac bunt was thrown away, allowing Bates to end up at second. Julia DePonte lifted a popup to shallow right-center. 2B Sydney Sherrill tried to make the catch over sliding CF Morgan Klaevemann but the ball bounced away, allowing Bates to get to third and DePonte to end up with a strange double.
The next two hitters couldn’t reach, but managed to do what UW couldn’t do yesterday, getting productive outs to bring in runs. Noelle Hee lined out to deep right for an out, but easily deep enough for both runners to advance, scoring Bates. Taryn Atlee grounded one to short for an RBI groundout as DePonte came in to make it 3-0 before FSU stepped to the plate.
With Warren at first and 2 outs in the first, Alvelo’s 1-2 pitch to Anna Shelnutt looked to be a pretty clear strike three, but went uncalled by the home plate umpire. On the next pitch, Shelnutt blasted a home run to center to shave the Husky lead to 3-2.
FSU grabbed the lead for good in the 2nd. Zoe Casas doubled past the reach of Kelly Burdick in left-center, then Cali Harrod took a borderline 3-2 pitch for a walk. UW appeared to catch a break when Klaevemann couldn’t get down a sac bunt, popping it up to Kirstyn Thomas.
But the hero on Sunday for FSU came up big again, as Elizabeth Mason lined a single to right-center. Casas was able to score from second fairly easily with the tying run, but Melhart overran the ball and it got past her all the way to the wall. Harrod came around and scored all the way from first to take the lead, as Mason made it to third. The Seminoles would pick up another run when Jessie Warren lined a single through a drawn-in infield to score Mason.
The only significant threat for the Huskies to get back into the game came in the top of the 4th. With 2 outs and nobody on, Emma Helm and Thomas hit back-to-back singles to left field. Melhart bounces a ball right back to the mound, but King couldn’t find the handle, botching the play and allowing every runner to be safe to load the bases. Kelly Burdick tried to chop one over the head of Sherrill at second into right, but the freshman for FSU made the play to get King out of the final jam she would face.
With King settling into a groove, she got enough run support to put the game away with some blasts in the 4th. Klaevemann got hit on the arm with 1 out, then stole second and went to third on an error. Mason came up huge once more, chasing Alvelo from the game with her 7th home run of the season to make it a 7-3 game.
Gabbie Plain’s day started just as poorly. Jessie Warren launched her 21st homer of the year way out to dead center as Burdick just had to watch it fly.
The Huskies could not find a way to rally against King the rest of the way, with just a leadoff single by Noelle Hee over the final 3 innings.