California tops list with most softball players in College World Series

While eight teams qualified for this year’s Women’s College Softball World Series, it all came down to the University of Oklahoma and Florida State for the title. Their best-of-three series started Wednesday, June 7, at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, which is widely regarded as the mecca of softball. Oklahoma softball won its third consecutive title, taking Game 2 of the 2023 NCAA Women’s College World Series championship series against Florida State, 3-1, Friday June 9.

Although Stanford University was the sole representative from California, the Golden State dominated the tournament in terms of representation and Temecula had their own ties to the series finale as well. Quincee Lilio, a 2021 Great Oak graduate, got to ride the emotional roller coaster with Oklahoma every step of the way. Lilio, who was a redshirt freshman last year, hit .275 with eleven hits and one home run this season. Other schools with players that made the big tournament and have ties close to the Valley News coverage area included Norco and Santiago.

Former Great Oak standout Quincee Lilio hit .275 with eleven hits and one home run for Oklahoma this season en route to a National Championship. Valley News/Courtesy photo

If you are a player, or coach, and aspire to compete for the championship, it would be wise to recruit talent from California. Each of the eight participating programs in the final tournament featured at least one former California player.

Florida State, who were hoping to end the Sooners’ three-peat chances only had one California alumna, and is coached by Loni Alameda, who played her high school softball at Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills, Calif.). Ten California high schools have two or more players who competed in this year’s tournament as Los Alamitos and O’Connor (Phoenix) each have three players.

Overall, the Women’s Softball College World Series had 50 players competing in Oklahoma City that played prep ball in California, including these players from LA, San Diego and Riverside County:

Giulia Koutsoyanopulos, Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo) — Tennessee

SilentRain Espinoza, Christian (El Cajon) — Washington

Ella Nadeau, Citrus Valley (Redlands) — Stanford

Hannah Coor, Esperanza (Anaheim) — Oklahoma

Julia Jimenez, Etiwanda — Utah

Madison Huskey, Gahr (Cerritos) — Washington

Quincee Lilio, Great Oak (Temecula)— Oklahoma

Aly Kaneshiro, Hart (Newhall) — Stanford

Jordyn Gasper, Hart — Utah

Shelbi Ortiz, Huntington Beach — Utah

Jadelyn Allchin, Huntington Beach — Washington

Lair Beautae, JW North (Riverside) — Tennessee

Claire Timm, Kennedy (La Palma) — Oklahoma State

Hailee White, King (Riverside) — Utah

Leilani Melendez, La Mirada — Utah

Kendall Lundberg, Lakewood — Utah

Sophia Nugent, Los Alamitos — Oklahoma

Sarah Ladd, Los Alamitos — Utah

Aliya Belarde, Los Alamitos — Utah

Kinzie Hansen, Norco — Oklahoma

Abby Dayton, Norco — Utah

Allison Morikawa, Northwood (Irvine) — Stanford

Brooklyn Carter, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) — Washington

Grace Green, Oakdale — Oklahoma

Sydney Sandez, Olympian (Chula Vista) — Utah

Alyssa Brito, Pacifica (Garden Grove) — Oklahoma

Sydney Steele, Poway — Stanford

Rylie West, Roosevelt (Eastvale) — Tennessee

Cydney Sanders, San Marcos — Oklahoma

Stella Bennett, Santiago (Corona) — Utah

Kaylah Nelsen, Santiago (Corona) — Utah

McKenna Gibson, Saugus — Tennessee

Grace Keene, Saugus — Tennessee

Avery Weisbrook, South (Torrance) — Florida State

Tiare Jennings, St. Anthony (Long Beach) — Oklahoma

Zaida Puni, St. Anthony’s (Long Beach) — Tennessee

Kyra Chan, Torrey Pines (San Diego) — Stanford

Emily Capobianco, Upland — Utah

Ally Shipman, Valencia — Alabama

Kylie Chung, Westlake (Westlake Village) — Stanford

Emily Jones, Westlake — Stanford

Brooklyn Carreon, Whittier Christian (La Habra) — Utah

Kaitlyn Lim, Woodbridge (Irvine) — Stanford

Complete info from the 2023 College Softball World Series can be found online at www.ncaa.com/championships/softball/d1.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.