NCAA Division I Softball Championship

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The NCAA Division I Softball Championship tournament is held each year in May and June and features 64 college softball teams in the United States, culminating in the Women's College World Series (WCWS), which is played in Oklahoma City.

Tournament play and team selection[edit]

The tournament is unique in that it features three tiers of competition and a loss doesn't necessarily eliminate a team from contention. In fact, throughout the entire tournament a team can lose a total of four games and still be crowned champions.

During team selection the top sixteen teams are given "national seeds", which are used for organizing the brackets. The first tier, called "regionals", consists of 16 locations that include four teams competing in a double elimination bracket. The regional containing overall #1 seed will be matched up with the regional containing the overall #16 seed, the #2 seed will be matched up with the #15 seed, and so on. The winner of each regional moves on to the second tier, the "super regionals".

The super regionals are played at eight locations throughout the country and consist of the 16 surviving teams, with the higher seeded team usually hosting. Two teams are matched up at each location and they play a best-of-three series to determine who moves on to the Women's College World Series.

The final eight teams meet in Oklahoma City in the Women's College World Series. The WCWS is further divided into two sections. The first part resembles the regional tier, as teams are broken in two groups of four to play in a double-elimination bracket. The winners of each bracket then meet in a championship series, held at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, which is similar to the super regional tier in that it is a best-of-three series. The winner of the WCWS is crowned national champion.

History[edit]

UCLA shut out Fresno in the 1982 NCAA championship, 2-0, in the eight innings to take the fist NCAA tournament. The UCLA Bruins have the most NCAA Division I championships in softball history with 11 titles (1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2010). During the NCAA era, only Michigan versus UCLA in 2005 contested a championship game that went extra innings, a 4-1 win by Michigan in the 10th inning in 2005.[1] UCLA and Arizona softball programs have met many times in the Women’s College World Series and six times in the national championships of the series. Of those six meetings, Arizona took four of them, in 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2001.[2]

Arizona lost their opening-round game to number 15 Tennessee 8-0, but the Wildcats fought all the way back from the losers' bracket to make their way to the championship game. Beating the defending national champions and then a rematch against Tennessee where they won 8-0 and 5-2 to get them back to the championship game against UCLA Who had only played three games the whole series as well as breaking the home run record, eight in the series, beating Georgia’s record the previous year. This historical match is going to be quite interesting because when these two team come together the Arizona Wildcats have come out on top the majority of the time but with the passing of John Wooden, the UCLA women are looking to take the National Championship Title back to UCLA, and they were successful with doing so in 2010.[2]

Even though the Huskies have only won one national championship they are still one of the best softball programs in the Pac-12. They have had ten Women’s College World Series appearances from 1996- 2010 and they finally had their chance and came out on top in the 2009 World Series against number 3 Florida. Danielle Lawrie, national player of the year and the tournament’s MVP lead the Huskies to this win by striking out 48 in six complete innings when the huskies rallied back to sweep Florida in the best-of-three NCAA Division I Women’s College World Series. As well as being a great Division I pitcher she is also apart of the Canadian Olympic team.[3] The Huskies were so close to upsetting the UCLA Bruins in the 1999 Women’s College World Series but fell short after the end of their rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to a 3-2 lose. During the 1999 women's college world series the Huskies scored 8 of its 10 runs with a two out rally.[4]

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