By Bradey King
It’s that time of year again – the top NCAA Division I softball programs are making their final push to end up in Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series while our Triple Crown Sports staff is gearing up for the 12th annual TC OKC fastpitch event.
TC OKC offers great competition and the opportunity to experience the WCWS in person, so it’s no surprise that the 2018 event is already sold out. It will be an exciting schedule featuring teams from across the country that have never crossed paths before. Nearly 160 teams from 20 different states near and far will be represented.
Among the lineup of programs, there are several Oklahoma City locals and teams from Oklahoma and surrounding states.
“TC OKC brings out all the local Midwest talent. There’s good competition and good umpiring. I don’t bring my team here looking to win, but to have fun and get better,” said Randy Williams, head coach of Team Synergy 16u out of Wichita, KS. “And I love taking them to the WCWS as an end-goal opportunity, watching the elite players and realizing that could be them one day.”
While most teams are in driving distance, others are traveling from as far as Washington and Florida to play in OKC. Cindy Corrado is the head coach of the Central Florida Eagles Select “Rip-It” 12u and 14u teams, and her teams were first to pay in each age group, showcasing how eager they were to be a part of this event.
“When coach Lori Castellano and I took a 16u team a few years ago, I came back to Florida determined to give younger student athletes an opportunity to experience this (TC OKC) event. I felt by exposing them to the WS at a younger age would help them envision themselves playing at that level and encourage them to establish goals for their own personal success,” Corrado said. “The opportunity and experience for them is priceless. The kids I train in Florida all have a dream to play college softball one day and taking them to OKC to experience the WCWS, to play in the Triple Crown tourney, to tour Oklahoma University and the ASA Hall of Fame is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young student athletes.”
The five-game guarantee begins with the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, June 1st at 2:00 p.m. All players, coaches, parents and family members are welcome. Coaches are required to be present to check in their teams and pick up any purchased WCWS tickets.
Tournament Director Sarah Pow is currently working hard on the brackets. She’s excited about the turnout and is ready to get the ball rolling.
“It’s a special event. Opening ceremonies will be really cool; we’ll have a photo booth, airbrush tattoos, pin-trading and tons of vendors. Our allotment of WCWS tickets is sold out so we’re excited that teams will get to enjoy the games,” added Pow.
Tournament play begins Saturday, June 2nd and will continue through Monday, June 4th. Full schedules will be released on Friday, May 4th. Visit www.triplecrownokc.com for more event details and to pre-order the official Triple Crown OKC tournament T-shirt.
The National Invitation Softball Championships (NISC) returns for its second year, offering a fresh postseason opportunity for dozens of talented D-I softball programs. This event gives teams a chance to enjoy the experience of a postseason run, while building momentum and player development that is key for next year.
Important 2018 NISC Dates
Sunday, May 13 (shortly after NCAA Selections)
Wednesday, May 16-Friday, May 18
(Saturday, May 19 is weather day)
Wednesday, May 23-Saturday, May 26
(Sunday, May 27 is weather day)
Schools in consideration will begin receiving participation agreements and invitations starting the week of April 16.
We will be announcing our automatic qualifiers as the conference tournaments unfold – check back often at www.womensnisc.com.
Dave King - Executive Chairman & NISC Director
Kelly Berry - Assistant NISC Director