It’s the best time of year for softball — tournament time. All across the country, high schools are preparing for their state tournaments while NCAA teams are kicking off the Division-I Championship—including teams with four YSPN360 coaches who are seeking for their chance at the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
YSPN360 coach Lonni Alameda prepares her Florida State Seminoles—returning to defend their World Series title—for the first round, where they’ll meet Bethune-Cookman. The Lady Seminoles enter the tournament with a 51-8-0, with four seniors and five juniors on the roster—the favorite of the Tallahassee bracket with 19 previous NCAA tournament appearances. Alameda is working towards her eighth appearance in the World Series over 11 seasons with Florida.
While Alameda and FSU swing into the Tallahassee bracket loaded with experience, YSPN360 coach Mike White switches things up as the first-year head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns. White announced back in June 2018 that he would be taking over the Longhorns softball program for the 2019 season—and his reputation as a top-level coach didn’t disappoint: The Lady Longhorns claimed a 41-14 record, improving from the 33-26 record in 2018. They’ll have their hands full as they face Sam Houston St. (34-21) on Friday at 2 p.m. (PST). Texas will be the one to watch as it heads into its first tournament with the veteran coach.
Meanwhile, Kelly Ford and the Lady Titans will hold their own against Missouri on Friday at 5:30 (PST). The Titans missed out on the No. 2 seed to Missouri in the Los Angeles division despite their seven-game winning streak to close out the season, finishing 38-16. Returning to the tournament, though, Ari Williams will make her final appearance with Cal State as the Big West Player of the Year, averaging .380 on the season. While Fullerton presents a young lineup, it looks to freshman standouts Alexa Neil and Daisy Munoz as well as its three seniors to hold their own in the tough bracket.
Haylie Wagner returns for the first time to the NCAA Regional tournament since 2015 with the University of Michigan—where she was a two-time NFCA All-American and a go-to pitcher for the Lady Wolverines. Now, the Chicago Bandits’ lefty (of the NPF) heads into tourney time with the Big Ten juggernauts as a graduate manager. U-M will open against St. Francis (PA.), where they’ll be seeking their 15th-straight win since a 1-2 loss against Ohio St. in April. The Wolverines will be making their 27th NCAA Tournament appearance while hosting regionals for the 21st time. Wagner, the Lady Wolverines, and head coach Carol Hutchins will kick off the tournament at 4:30 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Michigan.