California’s Jolene Henderson pitched an incredible game — exactly the type of performance she knew was needed to get past No. 2 seed Alabama in the opening game of the Women’s College World Series. Yet even that wasn’t enough to counter the overwhelming pitching of Alabama’s Kelsi Dunne, who combined with Jackie Traina on a one-hit shutout of a typically powerful California squad.
That’s exactly the level of competition each team should expect among the final eight, where a lone run can propel one team forward while leaving another out in the cold. In this instance, it was second baseman Kaila Hunt’s RBI single in the bottom of the second that gave the Crimson Tide an unsuspecting winning run. The rest was left to Traina, who struck out 11 of the 19 batters she faced over six innings.
California’s tournament isn’t over in the double elimination bracket play, but they’re certainly on the edge and need their offense to come alive. They will face the loser of the Baylor versus Oklahoma State contest, while Alabama will face the winner tomorrow night.