WCWS Semifinals Set As Washington, Alabama Survive Elimination Saturday
OKLAHOMA CITY – And then there were four. Survival Saturday turned into Survival Sunday, as four teams battled late into the night and early morning for their WCWS lives at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
The first game of Saturday's nightcap featured a dominant pitching performance from Washington's Taran Alvelo that sent the Huskies to a national semifinal for the second straight season, as they defeated Oklahoma State, 1–0. Game 2 of the night ended in a 2–0 victory for Alabama over Arizona, which ended the Wildcats' season.
Next up, Washington will face UCLA on Sunday, while Alabama will take on Oklahoma, with spots in the championship series on the line. Both the Huskies and Crimson Tide will need two victories over their opponents on Sunday in order to advance.
Below, you will find three takeaways from Saturday's elimination nightcap at the WCWS.
Taran Alvelo Was On Fire
Following Taran Alvelo's 11th strikeout of the game through just four innings of work, Alicia Keys' 2012 hit song "Girl on Fire" blared through the speakers in Oklahoma City. And for good reason.
Alvelo, who finished the night with 16 strikeouts in a complete-game effort, was nearly untouchable against Oklahoma State. The senior, who allowed just three hits in seven innings, only needed one run of support from her team on Saturday to book Washington's trip to the national semifinal. That run came thanks to Amirah Milloy's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Huskies a 1–0 advantage they would not relinquish.
"[It was] one of the most mature games she's thrown as a Husky," Washington head coach Heather Tarr told reporters after the game. "It's great to see her be able to thrive, take all the things she's learned, continue to stay tough and do it for her team and for this program."
Robbery Of The Year?
With one runner on base and two outs in the bottom of the second inning between Washington and Oklahoma State, freshman Chyenne Factor made arguably the best home run robbery of the season. The Cowgirl center fielder pulled back what appeared to be a no-doubter off the bat of Milloy to end the inning and the early threat.
Bailey Hemphill Did It With Both Her Bat And Glove
A third-inning double off the bat of Bailey Hemphill scored the only two runs Alabama would need against Arizona on Saturday. But her best highlight of the night was perhaps an acrobatic catch she made with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and the bases full of Wildcats.
Earlier in the day, Hemphill set Alabama's single-season record for both home runs and RBIs.