Brittany Mack, the No. 1 draft pick of the 2012 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft will lead her LSU Tigers to their first Women’s College World Series appearance in eight years this week. Mack and her Bayou Bengals squad will be among the Elite 8 programs who qualified for the prestigious WCWS, which begins play Thursday. LSU received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after posting a 34-21 regular season record. The Tigers were the No. 2 seed in the College Station Regional where they went undefeated, handing the top seed (No. 8 overall) Texas A&M Aggies a stunning upset. The Tigers then went on to pull off yet another upset against the #9 overall seed Missouri. LSU took a best of three series against Missouri to move on to the WCWS. The Tigers are skippered by USSSA Florida Pride Head Coach, Beth Torina.
Hillary Bach, the 7th overall pick by the Akron Racers will return to Oklahoma City with her Arizona State Sun Devils to defend their 2011 Championship. Bach, 19-1 in the regular season, helped her No. 3 seeded ASU squad through the Tempe Regional as the Sun Devils went undefeated in Tempe Regional play. Following that, the Sun Devils squared off against University of Louisiana Lafayette in a Super Regional that forced a game three after ULL surprised the nation by handing ASU a first game loss. ASU came back to win back-to-back Super Regional games to punch their ticket and return to the WCWS.
“I followed all of our draftees throughout the WCWS run and I am extremely proud of their performances,” said Racers President/GM Joey Arrietta. “Lexy Bennett (Texas) and Amanda Chidester (Michigan) did an outstanding job representing our game and their universities. You can’t help but cheer for Hillary and Jamia. Their performances were incredible in the Super Regional, sending their teams to Oklahoma City for the 2012 WCWS.”
The No. 1 seeded Cal Bears have two more stellar members of the NPF’s 2012 draft class on the roster. Favorite for ASA/USA Softball Player of the Year, standout Valerie Arioto was the No. 8 selection by the USSSA Florida Pride. Arioto, the 2012 Pac 12 Player of the Year, has been instrumental in keeping Cal on top of the national rankings nearly all season long. As a pitcher, first baseman, and hitter for the Bears, Arioto posted a nearly .400 batting average with 20 plus home runs on the offensive side, paired with a 1.32 ERA and 20 plus wins from the circle.
Also on the Cal roster and another big contributor to the success of the Bears, is Jamia Reid, the 19th overall selection by the Akron Racers. Reid leads all hitters on the Golden Bears roster with a .385 batting average and 47 stolen bases. On the 10th anniversary of Cal’s 2002 NCAA WCWS National Championship the Bears hosted the Regional round and the Super Regional round at home in Berkeley. They lost one game in the Regional to the Arkansas Razorbacks requiring a tough comeback before eliminating Washington in two games at Super Regionals.