prime teams, WCWS picks and extra

The road to the 2023 women’s school World collection has begun, and again-to-again nationwide champion Oklahoma sits unanimously atop the preseason polls.

regardless of shedding residence run queen Jocelyn Alo and swap ace Hope Trautwein, the Sooners return star infielders Tiare Jennings and type Lyons, as properly as to pitching phenom Jordy Bahl. Plus, coach Patty Gasso was energetic inside the swap portal as quickly as extra.

Can anyone cease the Sooners? UCLA, which misplaced to the Sooners in final yr’s semifinals, is the final non-OU group to win the WCWS. The Bruins return Pac-12 Pitcher of the yr Megan Faraimo and Maya Brady, who had 15 residence runs and fifty three RBIs final yr.

Oklahoma State and Texas additionally made the WCWS semis a yr in the past, with the Longhorns being the nationwide runners-up, and the two teams are additionally amongst the numerous prime 10 nationally.

Florida State returns ace Kathryn Sandercock, and Florida is the favourite in a packed SEC that additionally consists of Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.

sure, the season simply started, however we’re decrease than three months away from the NCAA event starting and barely beneath 4 months away from the WCWS in Oklahoma metropolis.

We ask our school softball consultants how good Oklahoma will be, who can dethrone the Sooners and which gamers will stand out on the diamond this season.

soar to:
Oklahoma’s reign | Who can cease OU?
shock picks | prime newcomers
POY picks | WCWS predictions

How good is that this Oklahoma group in contrast with the previous two championship years?

Jenny Dalton-Hill: Oklahoma has discovered the way you may handle depth of a roster, consistency off the bench, vitality 1-to-9, and continues to choose up in all likelihood the most elite talents out of the swap portal every season. Jordy Bahl and Tiare Jennings shall be main the numbers for this 2023 squad, however with reference to place gamers they plucked, Cydney Sanders and Haley Lee out of the portal will take over infield spots with vitality sticks, and freshman expertise Jocelyn Erickson will study from stellar catchers forward of her whereas on the purpose of anchor behind the plate. i am curious to see who will step up as a consequence of the second go-to arm inside the circle. Will or not it is Michigan swap Alex Storako or will Nicole may declare these innings? evidently, opponents shall be unable to loosen up merely as a consequence of some huge names have graduated. If something, new hungry expertise has entered the ring, and Oklahoma will nonetheless be on the biggest.

Madison Shipman: i suppose this yr’s Oklahoma group will be simply pretty a lot as good as final yr’s group. Bahl comes into yr 2 healthful with an complete season of expertise beneath her belt. including Sanders and Lee will assist increase the offense that already has established hitters like Grace Lyons and Jennings.

Kayla Braud: Ditto to all the things listed above. What gadgets Oklahoma aside is their depth. Jayda Coleman may even be one in all many essential electrical gamers inside the sport to look at, from her bat to her potential to make huge performs inside the outfield; she’s an unimaginable athlete. Lyons is the biggest shortstop inside the sport, and she or he swings a great stick. This group has every bit to be pretty a lot as good or greater than it was a season in the past.

Michele Smith: Oklahoma has expertise and expertise wins video games. The Sooners have depth. they’ve vitality — not as a lot as final yr, however vitality that steps up in huge situations. they’ve an complete pitching workers, and in the event that they maintain healthful, this group can three-peat.

Amanda Scarborough: Oklahoma reloaded with presumably in all likelihood the solely swap portal jackpot we now have ever seen for the purpose that swap portal started with Alynah Torres, Haley Lee, Alex Storako and Cydney Sanders. Not solely have they acquired one in all many scariest batting lineups inside the nation, they’ve amongst the numerous biggest pitching staffs and amongst the numerous biggest catchers inside the nation, Kinzie Hansen. it is a group that is nonetheless hungry, extremely effective and is aware of the way you may win.

Which group has in all likelihood the solely likelihood to finish OU’s reign?

Shipman: UCLA is the group that has in all likelihood the solely likelihood to beat OU. Its expertise inside the circle with Megan Faraimo and Brooke Yanez, and its depth offensively make UCLA a troublesome group to beat.

Braud: I like UCLA as a prime contender to beat OU, as a consequence of the Bruins additionally took benefit of some huge pickups inside the swap portal to current them extra appears to be like inside the circle with Brooke Yanez coming over from Oregon, a lockdown catcher from Arizona in Sharlize Palacios and one other weapon inside the outfield in Janelle Meono. do not sleep on Florida State, although. The Seminoles are going to be hungry after lacking the large regional spherical final yr and bolstered their pitching with seven selections for coach Lonni Alameda in ’23, led by Kathryn Sandercock.

Smith: UCLA is most definitely to face OU inside the championship collection. Faraimo has an great work ethic, working the final two years to be in in all likelihood the solely sort of her life. Her combination of speeds may very properly be ample to take OU’s vitality away.

Scarborough: for the purpose that others took UCLA, which may be my No. 1 selection as properly, i will additionally throw Oklahoma State inside the combo. OSU is a group that could be very expert on the WCWS and has one in all, if not in all likelihood the solely pitcher inside the nation with Kelly Maxwell. including Lexi Kilfoyl from Alabama, who’s a completely fully different look than Maxwell, to their workers was one in all many largest will get inside the off season.

Which group do you suppose can shock the softball world?

Dalton-Hill: i am excited to see Wichita State. With commencement affecting little or no from final yr’s roster, the Shockers are poised to make a huge splash. velocity, vitality and common from Sydney McKinney and Addison Barnard on the greater of the lineup will ready the underside for the Shockers, who will look to do precisely as their nickname says: Shock. This group put up huge numbers final season, and now it has expertise and seniority main the biggest method.

Shipman: i suppose Ole Miss can shock the softball world. The Rebels picked up good gamers by way of the swap portal corresponding to Mya Stevenson, Savana Sikes, Jenna Lord and Makenna Kliethermes, who will all make a huge influence this season.

Braud: Georgia returns amongst the numerous biggest offenses and has a terrific shot at making a run inside the postseason with its bats. the largest key for its success shall be inside the circle. Georgia will want assist from swap Shelby Walters if it hopes to make waves inside the SEC.

Smith: I think about Georgia will do properly inside the SEC with the addition of Shelby Walters inside the circle, and the Dawgs always hit properly. i suppose that Maryland will shock inside the massive Ten. The Terps are a stunning group with offense and a few good arms inside the circle they usually’re hungry for a worthwhile season. amongst mid-majors, Louisiana has a terrific pitching workers and shall be inside the hunt each recreation.

Scarborough: i suppose the college of North Texas can shock some people this yr. The imply inexperienced have been beneath the radar and getting stronger and stronger yearly that Rodney DeLong has been their head coach. They hit seventy one residence runs final yr and return lots of their prime hitters like Kailey Gamble, Molly Rainey and Kalei Christensen. Plus, Ashley Peters is a proficient LHP and a reputation you will should know.

Which newcomer can have the largest influence?

Shipman: I think about Brooke Yanez can have the largest influence for UCLA. She has a quantity of years of expertise and being left-handed she shall be a completely fully different look from Megan Faraimo inside the circle. The Faraimo-Yanez combination inside the circle shall be strong for opposing hitters to rearrange for.

Braud: Kristina Foreman is usually a distinction-maker for the Arkansas Razorbacks, who misplaced a huge bulk of their offensive manufacturing from a yr in the past (Danielle Gibson, KB Sides, Linnie Malkin, Taylor Ellsworth and Hannah McEwen). Transferring from Duke, she hit .398 with 15 HRs final season.

Smith: Lexi Kilfoyl at OSU. She is doing harm inside the lineup and shall be a terrific addition for Kelly Maxwell to assist maintain her sturdy as a consequence of the tip of the season comes round. they are a terrific 1-2 punch for the Cowgirls.

Scarborough: Payton Gottshall at Tennessee acquired here to go to from Bowling inexperienced, the place she was a two-time MAC Pitcher of the yr, had a 1.seventy eight profession period and virtually 800 strikeouts. she will be in a place to convey expertise and depth to a Tennessee pitching workers behind an All-American who has battled accidents her complete profession, Ashley Rogers.

Who will win participant of the yr?

Dalton-Hill: I simply like the appears to be like of Tiare Jennings. She has been placing up huge offensive numbers in her first two seasons, and with Alo out of the spotlight, Jennings will nonetheless be placing up these numbers and have the flexibility to grab the POY title. i’ve by no means seen a participant of their first two seasons put up the RBI numbers that she has. She is on tempo to blow my RBI doc out of the water.

Shipman: Jordy Bahl is my prediction. we now have already seen how dominant she’s going to be inside the circle (1.09 period, .one hundred forty five opposing batting common) and it seems like we’re going to see her bat inside the lineup extra this season. She did, in any case, hit 20 residence runs and fifty five RBIs as a highschool senior.

Braud: If it is not Tiare Jennings, i will give the nod to her teammate Haley Lee, who transferred from Texas A&M and has the assist of the Sooners offense that would actually bolster her stats.

Scarborough: Kelly Maxwell has amongst the numerous biggest swing-and-miss stuff inside the sport. she’s going to be dominant, deceptive and has the flexibility to take over a recreation and a season inside the circle. extra occasions than not, it has been a pitcher who has acquired POY, and with Alo worthwhile it two years in a row, odds say it is time for a pitcher to win the award as quickly as extra.

what’s your WCWS prediction?

Dalton-Hill: UCLA has the potential to be again inside the championship recreation. The additions inside the circle to assist Megan Faraimo are potent, nonetheless the Bruins should show themselves early and maintain healthful. additionally, including swap Sharlize Palacios behind the plate is precisely what the Bruins should spherical out their scoring potential. If the Bruins play to their potential, this may sometimes very properly be one other magical yr for them. attending to the championship recreation and worthwhile all of it are two numerous issues, although. in the end, I see Oklahoma worthwhile all of it as quickly as extra.

Shipman: i suppose there is a great likelihood that we see UCLA and Oklahoma inside the championship collection.

Braud: After being uncared for a yr in the past, i suppose the ACC will get simply a few teams again inside the WCWS. i am taking a look at Clemson and FSU particularly.

Smith: UCLA and OU inside the champ collection. OU wins it in three video games.

Scarborough: i am with Kayla; the energy of the ACC is rising and that i suppose the ACC will get a quantity of teams in, corresponding to FSU and Clemson, for the essential time. Virginia Tech has additionally been constructing yearly since Pete D’Amour took over, and the Hokies have amongst the numerous biggest youthful pitchers in Emma Lemley, who will be fully dominant. i do know I acknowledged a quantity of ACC teams to the WCWS final yr, too, and was flawed (oops!), however i suppose that is the yr they do it.


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