The 2023 DI Softball bracket has been announced, and the tournament starts on May 19 with regional games. Before the bracket was released, the writer usually picked 8 teams that they thought had the potential to make it to OKC, but it was unrealistic until seeing the bracket. Oklahoma and Clemson, UCLA and Utah, and other teams could not both pass. Looking at the bracket, the writer chose eight contenders for the 2023 Women’s Collegiate World Series.
The first contender selected is the back-to-back winner Oklahoma, located in the upper left portion of the No. 1 Oklahoma bracket. The Sooners have had 43 straight wins and are the most dominant team in college softball for the past three years. Their batting lineup has the highest-scoring power in the country, and their pitching staff has the top team ERA of 0.86. Oklahoma’s regional opponents are Cal, Hofstra, and Missouri. If they make it to the Super League, they could face Clemson or Auburn. The writer chose Oklahoma over both teams.
The next pick is the Blue Devils, located in the No. 8 Duke bracket. The Blue Devils have Campbell, Charlotte, and George Mason at home. If they win, they will face Stanford University, ranked ninth in the region. The writer chose Duke to win again since they already defeated Stanford in February. Both teams have strong pitching staffs, but Duke’s offense will likely get through. Duke scored 6.13 points per game, ranking 15th in the NCAA, while Stanford averaged 4.47 points per game.
The writer chose Alabama as the next team to compete in the WCWS, but it comes with conditions. The team needs to have a healthy Montana Fouts in the circle. Fouts had the majority of innings pitched this season and an NCAA-topping 311 strikeouts. Their most challenging opponent is central Arkansas, ranked third in the nation in team ERA. If Alabama makes it through the region, they could face Northwestern at home. The matchup could go either way, but the writer chose the Tide.
The writer’s next pick is Tennessee, one of the most balanced teams right now. The team has the second-best scoring offense and the fourth-lowest team ERA in the NCAA this season. They are led by Ashley Rodgers in pitching with a 0.70 ERA and 160 strikeouts. On offense, Kiki Miloy is one of the top three finalists for U.S. Softball Player of the Year with a batting average of .421 and 23 home runs.
The writer chose Maya Brady and the UCLA Bruins because of their offensive prowess. The team can compete with just about anyone in the country when they enter the circle. If both national seeds advance, there will be a crazy rematch of the Pac-12 Championship between Utah and UCLA. The writer chose the Bruins since they won three of the four matchups between the teams this season.
The writer’s choice for the No. 7 seed is Washington’s Bailey Klingler. The power hitter is averaging over .400 this year with 11 homers and a 1.205 OPS. Ruby Meylan leads the Huskies with a 2.11 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 152.1 innings. If both national seeds advance, they will face LSU in the Super. The writer chose Washington since they have more motivation after their frustrating last year as a seeded team.
The writer selected Wichita State as the sleeper contender for the WCWS. Wichita State, ranked sixth in the region, has already beaten Oklahoma State University twice this season. Their regional team will face No. 11 Arkansas, a strong SEC team. They have talented and experienced players, including Sidney McKinney, who has a batting average of .519. The writer thinks they can beat Arkansas again and potentially reach the WCWS.
Finally, the writer chose Florida State to win no matter what. They have tough regional competition against South Carolina and UCF and could face a strong No. 14 Georgia offense in Super. The Shamcox are hot right now, with Donnie Gobourne rolling for them. Tara Henry named Tallahassee as the toughest region in the bracket breakdown.