Softball America’s Staff of Brady Vernon, Tara Henry, Gray Robertson, Sydney Supple and Aaliyah Jordan answer five questions ahead of the Women’s College World Series.

ENTER THE SOFTBALL AMERICA X AU BRACKET CHALLENGE

What is the toughest regional?

Brady Vernon: Durham – The Blue Devils will have to earn their way back to a Super Regional. South Carolina has had its ups and downs but has the pitching to matchup against Duke’s offense. Meanwhile, Utah has started to peak at the right time as Mariah Lopez has looked like the girl who got the Utes to Oklahoma City last season. 

Tara Henry: Los Angeles

Gray Robertson: Los Angeles–Virginia Tech is a very tricky two-seed, San Diego State just won the LA Regional last year, and Grand Canyon is back AGAIN after beating UCLA in 2023. Honorable Mention to Stillwater, because Michigan is a brutal three-seed and Kentucky is an enigma that can always get hot.

Sydney Supple: Stillwater – This regional has one the toughest two-seed and three-seeds and the most depth where it wouldn’t surprise me if both Kentucky and Michigan were giving Oklahoma State a run for their money late in a game. The Wolverines are a team that has grown tremendously within Big Ten conference play and are peaking at the right time after winning the Big Ten Tournament, with Lauren Derkowski in the circle who can make some of the best hitters off time and uncomfortable at the plate.  

Aaliyah Jordan: Los Angeles

What unseeded team can make a run to the Women’s College World Series?

BV: Charlotte – The Niners enter the NCAA Tournament on a 16-game win streak. They have a very good pitching duo in Georgeanna Barefoot and Sam Gress. They got a good draw with a struggling Georgia team and even UCLA for a potential Super Regional feels like a good matchup with the Bruins possibly shorthanded pitching staff.

TH: Mississippi State

GR: Washington–I love the Regional draw for the Huskies, and a Super at Duke could be promising if Washington truly turns it on this postseason.

SS: Washington

AJ: Washington

Which potential Super Regional are you looking forward to the most?

BV: Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas

TH: Texas vs. Texas A&M

GR: UCLA vs. Georgia

SS: Stanford vs. LSU

AJ: UCLA vs. Georgia

What Mid-Major player can become a national star during the tournament? 

BV: I’m going off my unseeded pick with Charlotte. Arianna Rodi would’ve had a good case for the AAC Player of the Year if not for CC Wong’s incredible season. Rodi has smashed 21 home runs with a .362 batting average this season. If the Niners will make a run in the postseason, she’ll have her hand in it. 

TH: Jessica Mullins

GR: Olivia Lackie. All she does is beat SEC teams, and she’s going to Gainesville to take on the red-hot Gators. If South Alabama and Lackie find the magic again, she’ll become a true star.

SS: Jessica Mullins has the heart of a lion and gets to stay close in state in regionals and potentially super regionals which helps mentally and has a strong fan presence. 

Which eight teams are making it to Oklahoma City?

BV: Texas, Stanford, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Duke, Tennessee, UCLA

TH: Texas, Stanford, Florida, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Duke, Tennessee, UCLA

GR: Texas, Stanford, Florida, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Duke, Tennessee, Georgia

SS: Texas, Stanford, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Duke, Tennessee, Georgia

AJ: Texas, Stanford, Florida, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Duke, Tennessee, UCLA