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SEC Staff

Photo: SEC Staff

With the 2020 Women’s College World Series originally slated to conclude this month, here is a look back at the previous National Championships won by SEC softball programs.

2012 – Alabama vs. Oklahoma

No. 2 Alabama advanced to the Championship Series of the 2012 Women’s College World Series to take on No. 4 Oklahoma on June 4-6 in Oklahoma City. The Sooners took game one by a score of 4-1. The lone run for the Crimson Tide was scored in the bottom of the fourth inning, as pitcher Jackie Traina crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by catcher Kendall Dawson. Traina went the distance in the circle, striking out six batters.

Traina earned the win in game two, an 8-6 victory for Alabama, to even the series. She fanned eight batters in the complete-game victory while also going 2-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored. After giving up a run in the bottom of the first inning, Alabama responded in the second inning. Designated player Amanda Locke reached on an error, and pinch runner Keima Davis moved to second on a bunt. Right fielder Jazlyn Lunceford was then hit by a pitch and moved to second on a passed ball, and Davis tied the game on a fielder’s choice by centerfielder Jennifer Fenton. After shortstop Kaila Hunt was also hit by a pitch to load the bases, Traina recorded a double to left center, plating all three runners to give the Crimson Tide a 4-1 lead.

Alabama doubled its run total in the fourth inning. Left fielder Kayla Braud was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Fenton singled to third. Braud later scored on a sacrifice fly by Hunt, making it 5-1. With the bases loaded once again, Locke doubled to left center, bringing in three more runs and giving Alabama an 8-1 lead. Oklahoma started a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring five runs on five hits, but a groundout to first and Traina’s final strikeout of the night ended the threat.

Alabama won the Championship Series with a 5-4 victory in game three, becoming the first SEC program to win a National Title in softball. Traina was named the Most Outstanding Player after her 42nd win of the season, allowing five hits and striking out six in the complete-game effort. The Crimson Tide was down, 3-0, headed in the bottom of the fourth. Hunt started things off with a single through the left side and later scored on a wild pitch. Catcher Kendall Dawson got on base off a walk, and then reached home on a single by Locke. Locke scored on a double to center by third baseman Courtney Conley, while Conley scored following a throwing error to put Alabama ahead, 4-3.

The insurance run came in the bottom of the fifth, with Traina registering a single to right to allow Fenton to cross home plate. A solo home run in the seventh for the Sooners brought them within one, but Traina struck out the last batter to secure the win. Joining Traina on the All-Tournament Team were Braud, Fenton and Locke.

2014 – Florida vs. Alabama

Three SEC teams earned a spot at the 2014 Women’s College World Series, with two of them facing off in the Championship Series – No. 2 Alabama and No. 5 Florida. The All-SEC WCWS Championship series began on Monday, June 2. Hannah Rogers threw a four-hitter to help Florida defeat Alabama, 5-0, in game one of the best-of-three series. Catcher Aubree Munroe started things off for the Gators with a solo home run to left center in the top of the third inning. In the top of the fifth, Florida had a two-out rally, starting with a bunt single by second baseman Kelsey Stewart. Centerfielder Kirsti Merritt followed with a double to left center to plate Stewart, and third baseman Stephanie Tofft singled to left field to score Merritt to take a 3-0 lead. The Gators went on to add two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Tofft flied out to left to allow Stewart to reach home, and designated player Lauren Haeger doubled to right to plate Merritt.

Game 2 took place on Tuesday, June 3. Alabama started things off early with their first run of the night in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Haylie McCleney scored on a single up the middle from right fielder Jadyn Spencer. Florida responded in the bottom of the first with a solo home run from Tofft. The Gators then took the lead in the second with Stewart singling through the right side to bring home Munro and Merritt recording a three-run homer to left field to put Florida ahead, 5-1. In the top of the third, Alabama’s Hunt homered to left field to make it a three-run game (5-2). The Gators then increased their lead in the sixth inning with Tofft reaching first on a fielding error which allowed Stewart to score. In the top of the seventh with one out, McCleney tripled to right center. Following a flyout for the second out, McCleney scored off a single to right field by Hunt. Alabama’s next at-bat was a groundout that ended the game, 6-3, and gave Florida its first National Title in softball. Rogers was named the Most Outstanding Player after earning four wins and one save at the Women’s College World Series, striking out 13 batters in 28 innings of work.

2015 – Florida vs. Michigan

The 2015 Women’s College World Series included five SEC squads in the eight-team field. Top-seeded Florida advanced to the finals to defend its title against No. 3 Michigan. The Gators opened with a 3-2 victory in game one on June 1. Haegar, the 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, started things off with a two-run homer to left field in the first inning. In the bottom of the third, Haegar doubled to center to plate left fielder Nicole DeWitt to put the Gators ahead, 3-0. Michigan got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth but got no closer in the rally attempt. Aleshia Ocasio improved to 18-3 in the circle with the win, and Delanie Gourley recorded her fifth save of the season.

The Wolverines responded with a 1-0 win in game two. In the bottom of the first, an RBI single to center proved to be the winning run. Haegar went the distance in the circle, allowing four hits and striking out one batter in six innings.

Game three would mark the fourth time that the National Champion would be decided in the third and final game of the Championship Series. The Gators wasted no time with their offensive efforts. In the bottom of the first, Stewart was hit by a pitch in the first at-bat, and DeWitt reached on a fielder’s choice. Haegar then singled to center to plate Stewart, and first baseman Taylor Schwarz had a two-RBI single to left to score DeWitt and Haegar to give Florida an early 3-0 lead. The Gators added one more run in the second inning, with right fielder Justine McLean crossing home plate on a double to left by Stewart. Michigan posted one run in the fifth inning, but Florida held on to win its second consecutive National Title, the third program in NCAA history to win back-to-back softball titles. Haegar, the 2015 Most Outstanding Player, threw a complete game, allowing five hits in seven innings and striking out five batters. Joining Haegar on the All-Tournament Team were DeWitt, Munro and Stewart.

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