Florida junior left fielder Bailey Castro crushed a mammoth home run over the left-center bleachers near where team buses park behind the flags in center during the Gators 4-0 win over No. 1 ranked Oregon.
“She’s hit ’em a lot farther than that,” said Florida pitcher Hannah Rogers.
Gators coach Tim Walton said: “That one was probably 260 feet. She’s hit them a lot longer, over our scoreboard at our stadium, but it’s the easiest swing I’ve ever seen her have. Usually she swings out of her shoes.”
BAMA’S GRANTHAM LIKES HER HAT
There are plenty of hair accessories to be seen among the players at the Women’s College World Series, but Alabama third baseman Peyton Grantham has one corner of the market all to herself.
While many girls wear visors, Grantham wears a full baseball cap — and for good reason.
“I just like it,” she said. “I think it’s easier to play in. Plus, I played baseball until I was 14 years old, so I was used to playing in a hat.”
IS THE SEC THE NEW DOMINANT CONFERENCE?
The two teams that are 2-0, one win away from the finals, are both from the Southeastern Conference, which received an astonishing 11 bids into the NCAA Tournament. The SEC has three teams at the WCWS.
“I’ve said all year if you took the top two teams out of the SEC and took out the bottom two teams, those teams bunched in the middle I haven’t seen any better (conference),” Walton said. “It was strong competition all years and it’s showing right now.
“It’s a credit to the athletic directors and the (SEC) administrations that they’re made softball important. Schools are pouring a lot of money into resources. That’s the key. These kids are treated first-class.”
Every year the Friday night winners’ bracket session is one of the biggest crowds at the Women’s College World Series.
Through three sessions, the attendance is 25,726. Friday’s crowd was a sellout of 9,062. The 8,818 fans that attended the second session was the second largest Thursday night crowd in Women’s College World Series history.
PITCHING DEPTH MORE IMPORTANT
Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson, whose team is making its first-ever WCWS appearance, said she believes the days of one pitcher taking a team to the national title are over, and a well-developed bullpen is necessary to win this tournament.
Lawson followed that up by saying she will use her ace pitcher, Kelsey Nunley, will be in the circle as much as possible this week.
“I don’t think any team can win the World Series with one pitcher anymore,” Lawson said. “I think those days are probably over. I think if we’re going to go deep into the tournament, we are definitely going to have to go into our pitching staff.
“But you definitely have to give Kelsey the ball as long as she can take it.”
The last national champion to use only one pitcher was Alabama in 2012, when Jaclyn Traina threw 791 pitches in six games. Last year, OU’s Keilani Ricketts threw every game up to the championship series clincher, when coach Patty Gasso went with Michelle Gascoigne to keep Tennessee off balance.