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College Softball

Jessica Warren named greatest third baseman ever in college softball

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Jessica Warren had a remarkable college softball career. The former Alonso standout led FSU in nearly every offensive category as a senior, including batting average (.470), home runs (21) and RBIs (70). She also finished her career as the school and ACC leader in home runs (82) and RBIs (273) en route to guiding the Seminoles to their first — and only — national title in 2018. 

Photo credit (including feature above): FSU athletics

Those offensive numbers were impressive.

What about defense?

She had that, too.

In 2019, Warren became just the fourth female ever to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, joining former Countryside and LSU star A.J. Andrews on that exclusive list. Warren’s most memorable defensive play came in the opening game of the 2018 championship series against Washington. The third baseman made a full-extension diving catch, an acrobatic play that was the top highlight on SportsCenter and has forever lived in FSU and Women’s College World Series lore.

That resume helped Warren land on ESPN’s list of the greatest third basemen to ever play college softball. Fans voted on the best at each position and the results were broadcast on a special the network aired on Tuesday. 

Warren said she never tried to pump up support among the Seminoles’ faithful. 

“I kind of just let it play itself out,” she said of the voting process. 

Among the fans, Warren finished third with 13 percent of the vote. Former Auburn standout Kasey Cooper was the winner with 25 percent.

After the fan results were revealed, the 7-inning Podcast crew, which includes former Olympian and Treasure Island resident Michele Smith, disclosed their list. Warren was the greatest third baseman in college softball according to the expert panel. 

“It’s so cool being put in a lineup with literally some of the best players to ever play softball,” Warren said. 

These days, Warren plays professionally. In a few days, she is going to Viera to start training with the USSSA Pride, which will team with the Scrap Yard Dawgs in a barnstorming tour that lasts through July. After that, Warren will head to Chicago to play in a new league, Athletes Unlimited, which starts in August and finishes at the end of September. 

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College Softball

Softball: Four locals playing in Women’s College World Series

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The championship series of the Women’s College World Series features a quartet of local softball players (three from FSU and one from Oklahoma). Here are the four to follow.  

FSU

OF Cassidy Davis, Sr.

High School: Newsome

The redshirt senior, who has already won a state high school title and national title, decided to return after her senior season was cut short last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. A utility player who spent time as a pitcher throughout her college career, Davis became an outfielder this year. She had two homers in the Tallahassee Region finale against UCF, and had game-winning sacrifice fly outs against LSU in the Super Regional and Arizona in a College World Series elimination game. 

C Kaia LoPreste, Fr.

High School: Riverview

The redshirt freshman had an immediate impact with the Seminoles, appearing in 20 games during last year’s abbreviated season and hitting .304. This year she has a .227 average and two doubles. 

UTIL Elizabeth Mason, Sr.

High school: Gaither

One of the Seminoles’ most versatile players, Mason can play just about anywhere in the field. She played a critical role in FSU’s run to the national title in 2018. She has been a consistent producer on offense throughout her college career. In the playoffs, Mason has come up big, hitting a game-tying homer against LSU in the Super Regionals and blasting a three-run shot against Alabama in the deciding game to reach the World Series. 

Oklahoma

P Shannon Saile, Sr.

High school: Land O’ Lakes

Saile already made headlines by starting in game two of the Sooners’ Super Regional series with Washington that aired on ABC, the first nationally broadcast game in the sport. Saile helped Oklahoma advance and will likely pitch in at least one game in the College World Series. Saile helped Land O’ Lakes reach the state semifinals during her high school career and is trying to cap her college career with a national title.  

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College Softball

Shannon Saile has spotlight in history-making softball game

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Former Land O’ Lakes standout Shannon Saile had the spotlight when she took the mound in Saturday’s history-making moment in college softball. 

Saile, a redshirt senior, was named the starting pitcher for Oklahoma in game two of its Super Regional series against Washington. The game is being aired on ABC, the first time a college softball game has appeared on national television. 

A star initially at Florida International, Saile transferred to Oklahoma, where she compiled a combined 18-4 record and 215 strikeouts the past two seasons.

She decided to return to the Sooners once last season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

To prepare, Saile works out with former Land O’ Lakes pitcher Callie Turner, now at Tennessee. They throw off a makeshift mound in an area neighborhood designed by Gators assistant coach Vinny Guarracino. The rubber is made from pieces of an old tire. Home plate is assembled from wood. 

There are other workout items Saile has at her disposal, all courtesy of the Sooners. She has body bands, medicine balls and jump ropes. Oklahoma even sent her a diamond kinetic ball that can track the velocity, as well as the spin rate and direction, on each pitch. 

Saile (featured photo above courtesy of OU Athletics) spent the summer playing for the Bradenton Slice in the seven-team FGCL, the first league of its kind for college softball players. She was dominant, finishing first in strikeouts and third in ERA. 

This season, Saile is 16-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 116 strikeouts entering the second game of the Washington series. 

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College Softball

Softball: FSU-LSU Super Regional has plenty of local angles

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The Super Regional between FSU and LSU, which starts tonight, will feature plenty of familiar faces. Four former bay area softball standouts (three with the Seminoles and one with the Tigers) are expected to be in the starting lineup. Here are the four to keep an eye on. 

LSU

Photos courtesy of LSU Athletics

OF Aliyah Andrews, Sr.

High school: East Lake

The fifth-year senior, one of the country’s top players, will be playing professionally after being selected ninth overall in the Athletes Unlimited college draft two weeks ago. Her older sister, AJ, was a standout at Countryside and with the Tigers. In fact, there has been at least one Andrews sister in the outfield for LSU the past nine seasons. Aliyah currently is hitting a team-leading .370 with 19 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. But she known more for her acrobatic catches that often end up on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays.

FSU

Photo courtesy of FSU Athletics

OF Cassidy Davis, Sr.

High School: Newsome

The redshirt senior, who has already won a state high school title and national title, decided to return after her senior season was cut short last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. A utility player who spent time as a pitcher throughout her college career, Davis became an outfielder this year. She has nine home runs this season, including two in last week’s Tallahassee Region finale against UCF. 

Photo courtesy of FSU Athletics

C Kaia LoPreste, Fr.

High School: Riverview

The redshirt freshman had an immediate impact with the Seminoles, appearing in 20 games during last year’s abbreviated season and hitting .304. This year she has a .227 average and two doubles. 

Photo courtesy of FSU Athletics

UTIL Elizabeth Mason, Sr.

High school: Gaither

One of the Seminoles’ most versatile players, Mason can play just about anywhere in the field. She played a critical role in FSU’s run to the national title in 2018. She has been a consistent producer on offense throughout her college career and has nine doubles and seven home runs this season. 

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