NFCA announces All-America teamTwo Oklahoma players earned All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, which announced its three All-America teams Wednesday. OU junior infielder Amber Flores was a first-team selection, and senior first baseman Samantha Ricketts was a third-team honoree. In addition, all eight teams playing in the Women’s College World Series this week at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium were represented on the teams, led by Washington, Alabama and Georgia with two first-teamers each. Alabama had pitcher Kelsi Dunne and utility player Charlotte Morgan. Washington was represented by second baseman Ashley Charters and pitcher Danielle Lawrie, who was also named USA Softball National Player of the Year on Tuesday. And Georgia third baseman Alisa Goler was joined on the first team by outfielder Taylor Schlopy. Other first-team selections participating at the WCWS include: Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson, Arizona outfielder Brittany Lastrapes, Arizona State outfielder Kaitlin Cochran and Michigan pitcher Nikki Nemitz.
FAVORITE’S ROLE?Florida, the top seed in the tournament, plays eight-time national champion Arizona in an opening-round game. Gators coach Tim Walton was asked if being the No. 1 seed makes them the favorite against a perennial power. "I’d say we’re the underdog,” Walton said. "(Arizona) has won more national championships here than we ever have won (games) at this stage. Our kids are embracing that role. "We have to do a good job at staying focused and staying grounded. We’re not worried about the other stuff (as to who is favored). At this point, we’re all 0-0. We just have to take care of ourselves and focus on the game.”
GREAT FOOTBALL MATCHUPAlabama is making its sixth WCWS appearance, but coach Patrick Murphy realizes outside the softball community the Crimson Tide is best known for football. "I think five or six years ago, if you would have said, ‘Alabama-Michigan,’ everyone would have said, ‘All right. That’s going to be a great football game!’ ” Murphy said. "Now we’re at a point it’s going to be a great softball game.” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins responded, "I’m excited for our football game with Alabama.”
LIGHTS, ACTION, CAMERAAn ESPN camera crew on Wednesday shot video of selected players from all the teams, clips they will use as promotion pieces throughout the tournament. Alabama senior third baseman Kelly Montalvo was asked on camera to say phrases like: "Roll Tide,” "This is Alabama’s sixth World Series appearance,” and "We’re here to make history.” "I loved it,” Montalvo said. "In front of a camera? TV time? I’m a communications major. "That’s what I’m studying. Anything that helps promote Alabama softball, I’m for it.” BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND MIKE BALDWIN