USA Softball Women's National Team goes for fourth straight World Cup title
The GIST: The world No. 1 American women will chase another World Cup trophy this month…but we’re not talking about our fave soccer girlies. The USA Softball Women’s National Team — featuring seven current or just-graduated NCAA stars — begins the hunt for their fourth (!!!) straight WBSC title tomorrow. LFG.
How it works: Eighteen teams will compete for international glory, but the U.S. only has to contend with five of ’em this week. Under the World Cup’s new format, this month’s group stage and the finals take place a full year apart — the next champ won’t be crowned until July 2024.
- The 12-time world champion U.S. Eagles and the five other members of Group A kick off the group stage tomorrow in Dublin, Ireland — and by Saturday night, the group’s top two teams will have sealed their spot in next year’s finals.
- The other two groups will follow suit throughout July until eight tickets to the finals are punched, with the top two teams in each group advancing, plus two wild cards. Eyes on the prize.
The NCAA icons: Every member of Team USA is or was a bonafide Division I (DI) superstar, but four — Washington infielder Baylee Klingler and the fierce pitching trio of UCLA’s Megan Faraimo, Alabama’s Montana Fouts, and Florida State’s Kat Sandercock — just hung up their collegiate cleats this season.
- But that’s not all: Outfielders Maya “the most dominant” Brady (UCLA) and Kiki Milloy (Tennessee), plus ex-Oklahoma State pitcher (and rumored Oklahoma transfer) Kelly Maxwell, will all rep the red, white, and blue before returning to campus in the fall.
- Stellar Washington Huskies HC Heather Tarr will helm the Eagles, with three other DI HCs assisting. Stacked.
The matchups to watch: The U.S. must contend with No. 16 Great Britain, hosts No. 17 Ireland, and No. 43 Botswana, but the Eagles’ toughest tasks will be tomorrow’s 9 a.m. ET tourney opener against No. 3 Chinese Taipei and Thursday’s 10 a.m. ET game vs. No. 9 Australia. Snag some Cracker Jills, then stream the action all week on GameTime. Batter up!