Michele Smith, a two-time Olympic softball gold medalist and two-time All-American at Oklahoma State, once again will be part of ESPN's broadcast crew for the Women's College World Series. Smith, 43, a St. Petersburg, Fla., resident, will team with Pam Ward and field reporter Holly Rowe for several telecasts, including today's opening game at noon. She also will work with Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza during the Friday night games and the championship series. Smith discussed the tournament and her assignment:
Are you surprised four Big 12 teams made the field?
“No. The Big 12 was so strong this year, and they had such quality pitching that I knew there was going to be a really good chance that two (would qualify) and then three or four obviously had the potential. It was an outstanding league this year. We talk a lot about the Pac 10 and the SEC, but we would always say this year that the Big 12 was stronger than ever.”
Did your alma mater OSU getting back to the WCWS catch you by surprise?
“It's fair to say they are the Cinderella team being the only unseeded team in the tournament. The potential to make it, absolutely. They had to put everything together and win the big games at the right time, and they did that. Obviously their regional, beating Georgia Tech and Tennessee, that was just phenomenal. It was probably the hardest region, and they were able to come out of that and then to beat Houston, another unseeded team that advanced over Texas. That was a big win for them at home last weekend.”
Who are the favorites to win the title?
“You know, it's tough honestly to say because every team that is here has the potential to be a national championship team. But when you look at experience and having been here before, I think Florida, ASU and Missouri have the most experience on the current club. Every team has two or things they do really well and maybe one area where they have overachieved in. Take Oklahoma, they are young. They have (pitcher) Keilani Ricketts, plus the ability to score runs. They should be very confident after going into Arizona and beating Arizona at home.”