Parity in NCAA Softball Tournament
Last weekend, the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament was underway and regionals started off with a bang. In the tournament, the top-16 teams are awarded national seeds and have the ability to host regionals at home. All 16 teams were not able to escape from the confines of their home stadiums and advance as five of those national seeds were upset this weekend.
No. 2 Florida State
After falling to Oklahoma in the national championship series last year, the Florida State Seminoles looked to get back to the championship this year. The Seminoles had no trouble in its first two regional games, earning back-to-back run-rules over Howard and USF. The 2021 runner-ups were one win away from advancing to super regionals, but Mississippi State fought all the way back after suffering a day-one loss, defeating the Seminoles twice on Sunday.
No. 6 Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide saw its 44-game regional win-streak come to an end on Saturday, dropping a 6-0 decision to the Stanford Cardinal. The Tide were able to bounce back from the loser’s bracket and force and if-necessary winner take all game, but ultimately got shutout once again by the Cardinal. This is the first time ever that Alabama has failed to make it to super regionals.
No. 11 Tennessee
After getting upset in regionals during the 2021 season, the Tennessee Lady Vols looked to make it back to super regionals for the first time since 2019. The Lady Vols won its first two regional games against Campbell and Oregon State, but the Beavers fought back and won twice on Sunday to take down the Lady Vols in Knoxville.
No. 13 Washington
Led by All-American pitcher Gabbie Plain, the Washington Huskies looked to make its sixth straight Super Regional appearance. The Huskies led for the majority of the 1-0 game, but the Texas Longhorns put up eight runs in the final two innings, knocking the Huskies into the loser’s bracket. Washington was able to fight back and force the if-necessary game, but ultimately fell short.
No. 15 Missouri
The Missouri Tigers ended the season strong coming into regionals, winning eleven out of its last fourteen games including upset wins over Tennessee and Alabama in the SEC Tournament. The Tigers were only able to put up five runs total in the Columbia regional, falling to the Arizona Wildcats in the regional final.
Will the surprising results of regionals cause these highly-ranked teams to be disappointed for a while or will it be motivation heading into the offseason?