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Florida softball beats Alabama to qualify for WCWS finals



Alabama’s Montana Foots entered the showdown Monday night after two of the most impressive performances in the recent history of the Women’s College World Series.

She struck 16 in her first start in Oklahoma City and then threw a perfect game in her next. But the Alabama starter failed to make it out of the third inning against the Florida Statenols.

Elizabeth Mason hit a homer three times in the first inning against Fouts, and then her teammates strung a number of productive bats to chase the U.S. state of Alabama and help the Seminoles win 8-5 on Monday night.

With the victory, FSU advanced to the WCWS finals against No. 1 Oklahoma. The Seminoles and Suners will face off in the best series of 3, starting on Tuesday night.

“When you get here, you need to make sure you can tie those bats together,”

; said FSU head coach Lonnie Alameda. “And for this ball club, we had to tie the bats together all season. So we’re very comfortable with that. We’re happy with the failure, we’re happy with the availability of quality bats, we’re comfortable with moving our runners.

“And if a curve (number) goes up because someone gets a homer, that’s a bonus for us.”

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It was obvious that Fouts would not destroy the FSU lineup like the previous two it had encountered.

The first two bullies reached the base – after zero, reached at its last start – to prepare the stage for the senior Elizabeth Mason, which once again brought a huge hit for Seminoles.

She shot a massive homer to the left center to give FSU a 3-0 lead in the first inning against one of the best pitchers in the country.

“I just wanted to take the barrel there,” Mason said. “It delivers a lot of energy. As I managed to get the barrel through the area, I knew it was going to be hit hard. I’m just glad it went through the fence. I think hosting the first inning is a great way to start the game.”

Her teammates then chased Fouts out of the game at the start of the third, playing five more games to take an 8-0 lead in the semifinals.

Kaley Harding had a double with two outs, Kaylee Mudge had an RBI single, and Sidney Cheryl followed with a double to the left to score another run. Mudge went 5 for 5 for the game, which tied the WCWS record for hits in the game and it also made a great dive to the bottom of the seventh inning.

“Home runs are great,” said Madge. “Situational hitting is great. We’re just trying to play one pitch at a time, putting the ball in play and trying to get the bases through as best we can.”

The state of Florida did not score another run and Alabama fought with two tracks in the third and three tracks in the fifth. But Crimson Tide couldn’t get any closer as the Seminoles finished 8-5 with a fruitless seventh inning.

Daniel Watson and Kaylan Arnold stood up with relief from ace Catherine Sandercock to keep the victory.

It was a record eighth consecutive win for Seminoles in an elimination game in Oklahoma City, dating back to the 2018 World Series of the College.

Alabama won 20 straight games in the NCAA semifinals before losing two straight to FSU.

Seminoles’ next opponent, Oklahoma, is at the top of the list all year. The Saunders also dropped out of the losing category after knocking out Game 1 of James Madison and now winning four straight positions on Tuesday night.

The Saunders, who lead the nation in a number of offensive categories, have lost just three games throughout the season.

The University of Oklahoma is also where Alameda went to school.

“I am extremely proud to have graduated from the University of Oklahoma,” she said. “I’m very proud of what we did. We entered the Top 25 and I know that since they did an amazing job. I’m a big fan of softball. And you always root for your alma mater, but when you play against them, you you take root in the team you coach … … I’m excited and I’m really excited to play in a full stadium.

“It will be so special. I look forward to it. Our players are waiting for it. And it will be an honor to play here and be one of the two teams that still stand.”


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