The 2023 DI softball bracket has been revealed and the tournament begins with regional play on Friday, May 19. I typically make picks for the eight teams I think might make it to OKC, but it is not really realistic until you have seen the bracket. Both Oklahoma and Clemson can’t make it, and both UCLA and Utah can’t make it, so on, so forth.
So now that we have seen the bracket, here are my eight picks for the 2023 Women’s College World Series:
No. 1 Oklahoma
My first choice, in the top-left portion of the bracket, is the back-to-back champs — Oklahoma. It is hard NOT to pick the Sooners, no matter the opponent. The Sooners are in the midst of a 43-game winning streak and have been the most dominant team in college softball all season, and for the past three years. The lineup is terrifying, with the top-scoring offense in the nation, and the pitching staff also leads the NCAA with a 0.86 team ERA. They will host Cal, Hofstra and Missouri. And then if they make it out to the supers, a possible matchup with Clemson or maybe Auburn looms. Now these are two incredible teams — Clemson has the second-best team ERA in the nation behind the Sooners, highlighted by one of the top three finalists for USA Softball Player of the Year, Valerie Cagle. Cagle throws a heavy down ball that could cause some trouble for the Sooner lineup. Then when it comes to Auburn, they are extremely scrappy. Both teams can beat Oklahoma. But do I think they can beat them twice? Now that is a different story. I am going with the Sooners all day.
No. 8 Duke
I am going with the Blue Devils for my next pick. The Blue Devils will host Campbell, Charlotte and George Mason in their regional. They have faced both Campbell and Charlotte during the regular season and hold a 3-0 record against the two in-state teams. If they make it through that, they are matched with No. 9 Stanford’s regional. Now, if this super regional happens, we have a rematch on our hands, and Duke would be the hosting team. The two teams already faced once this season, and Duke took down Stanford 4-2 back in February. I am going to pick Duke to win it again. Both teams have strong pitching, with Stanford’s staff led by the nation’s ERA leader and Freshman of the Year finalist, NiJaree Canady. Duke has Jala Wright, and Cassidy Curd — the freshman that just threw a no-hitter against Clemson in the ACC tournament. The difference is, I think Duke’s offense…