Softball: Florida Tops Alabama to Take Home National Championship
The lady Gators took home their program’s first NCAA title in Softball as they took home a two-game sweep of Southeastern Conference rival Alabama with a 6-3 victory at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
“This is a surreal moment for me right now,” Florida Coach Tim Walton said late Tuesday. “To be up here with Hannah [Rogers] and all the other kids that really just bought into it this year. We had a really good offseason; we just felt good about our team.”
Walton went away from his ace in the championship game after senior Hannah Rogers tossed her sixth shutout of the 2014 postseason during Monday night’s opener. Instead Walton would give the ball to junior Lauren Haeger and freshman Delanie Gourley to bring home the program’s first title, but the bats were the real headline Tuesday night. Haeger and Gourley would hold the Tide to two runs through five innings, before Walton would give the ball to his senior Rogers to close the door.
“Any time we’ve gone with Hannah after a Hannah Rogers ‘W’ and come back the next day, we’ve lost every time,” Walton said. “We went into this three-game series knowing that, and we had Lauren [Haeger] to pitch [Tuesday], win or lose. We stuck with it.”
Florida ran through the postseason tournament with heavy bats outscoring opponents 81-10, including 32-6, in five games in the Oklahoma City world series. Every major offensive category had a Gator hitter either at the top or tied for the top spot. The big time hitting continued Tuesday night as eight Gators had at least one hit in the 6-3 win.
Despite committing an uncharacteristic four errors Tuesday night, after going perfect in the field through the tournament, Florida continued to play solid defense behind their pitchers.The Gators continued to turn timely double plays, like they had done all tournament, ringing up number 6 and 7 of their double plays in the tournament. Of the nine double plays in the tournament, seven belonged to the champion Gators.
Rogers, who had allowed just three runs in 42 postseason innings, was named the WCWS’s Most Outstanding Player as the lady Gators rolled Tuesday night.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Rogers, who is one of two seniors on the roster, said following the game and announcement of WCWS MOP. “The defense behind me and the way the offense has been going this weekend; all the hard work that we put into throughout this season and to do it for coach and all the hard work he has put in the last four years, doing it with these girls is a great feeling.”