2011 secsportsfan WCWS Preview
Welcome to the 2011 secsportsfan WCWS Preview. What everyone was hoping to be a power meeting between the Pac 10 and SEC at the 2011 WCWS has turned into the Big Twelve Invitational. Yes, the Pac 10 and SEC have teams in this years edition of the WCWS, but the Big Twelve is the overwhelming surprise of the tournament by securing half of the WCWS spots. Yes, Four of the eight teams in Oklahoma City are Big Twelve members led by local teams Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and also including powerful Missouri and upstart Baylor. The Big Twelve does sport 3 WCWS titles to its credit, but hasn't brought the title home back to its league since Oklahoma won it all in 2000. The Pac 10 will still have a mighty presence this weekend with both top seeded Arizona State and seventh seeded California involved, but they will be lacking the two traditional powers and WCWS mainstays in eight time champion Arizona and the defending champions and eleven time champion UCLA, who both fell short this season.
The SEC has only two teams in the WCWS this season, but they will send their two best with both SEC West Champion and second seeded Alabama and SEC East Champion and fourth seeded Florida ready to prove their conference proud in search of the first ever SEC WCWS title. Fittingly, both Alabama and Florida are led by seniors in the circle as Kelsi Dunne will bring over 40 innings of WCWS experience with her for Alabama while Florida brings in Stephanie Brombacher and her WCWS experience from last season. Alabama and Florida are also both fortunate enough to have developed some really good freshman pitchers during the year, who will both see their first WCWS action this week in Alabama's Jackie Traina and Florida's Hannah Rogers. The fate of both SEC members may very well come down to hitting though, has all the remaining teams will carry domianant pitchers into this weekends games.
Alabama and Florida will both be facing teams that they haven't crossed paths with much this season. In fact, a 3-1 Alabama victory over Missouri in late Februrary is the only meeting this year between the remaining WCWS field and Alabama or Florida. The Gators did knock out both Arizona State in the Super Regionals and Missouri in the WCWS last season so, both Alabama and Florida know of the challenges of the level of competition they are facing this weekend. Alabama will get things started off against PAC 10 member California and its right handed ace Jolene Henderson, who dispatched another SEC member, Kentucky, in the Super Regionals this season. Florida will be up later in a return tilt from last season against the Missouri Tigers. Alabama and Florida both have legitimate shots of working themselves through this weekends Big Twelve heavy field and making it into the championship game. That is about all you can ask for this year is a spot in the finals and hopefully, the SEC will bring home its first ever WCWS title to the south.
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