ASU softball takes down South Carolina to punch its ticket to the Women's College World Series

The ASU softball team is going to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2013

Prior to the beginning of the 2018 season, the ASU softball team was picked to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference. Flash forward to Saturday night, and things were quite different from anything that people were predicting in the preseason. 

On its home field, and in front of a sold out crowd of 2,012 people at Farrington Stadium, ASU clinched a birth to the Women’s College World Series by defeating South Carolina 5-2 in the NCAA Super Regionals.

“Nobody would have thought at the beginning of the year that we would be here right now, except for us (the team),” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “They put in the work, we molded at the right time, and I mean, this is why I came to ASU. It’s to get ASU back to the World Series.”

In Saturday night’s game, ASU senior pitcher Breanna Macha got the nod in the circle with a chance to send her team to Oklahoma City.

Macha has endured three different coaches at ASU, was a bat girl for the team when they won a national title in 2008 and has been one of the backbones of a Sun Devil team for the last four seasons.

With so much on the line on Saturday, the senior pitcher delivered a complete game while striking out six hitters to add to a fairy tale story that couldn’t be written any better by itself.

Amidst the euphoria that comes with securing a spot in the promised land for NCAA softball, Macha and redshirt senior infielder Marisa Stankiewicz could only sit back in awe of what they had just experienced moments prior on the field as they addressed the media after the game. 

“Getting recruited to come here to Arizona State, you knew their tradition of going to the Women’s College World Series,” Stankiewicz said. “Not being able to go (to the World Series) the first four years for me, and three years (for Macha) was tough ... This means everything. This is something new for this entire team that is here right now because we haven’t been there yet, but it’s exciting and I am at a loss for words.”

“Marisa and I at the end of the game ... We were just reflecting. This is our last time that we will play on this field,” Macha said. “We both grew up watching this program, and to finally live our dream out, and we are going to be living our dream in a week … I don’t have any words.”

Aside from the elation that came with everything after the game for ASU, the actual play on the field on Saturday reached its capstone in the fifth inning, when the Sun Devils dropped a four-spot to separate themselves in what was previously a 1-1 game.

After three straight singles from junior outfielder Skylar McCarty, sophomore outfielder Kindra Hackbarth, and junior third baseman Taylor Becerra, ASU found themselves with a chance to make some noise with nobody out, the bases loaded, and the heart of the team’s order coming up.

With nowhere to put junior outfielder Morgan Howe or freshman infielder Denae Chatman, the middle of the Sun Devil lineup took it upon themselves to tear the game open.

Howe came up with a single through the left side of the infield to make the score 2-1, and Chatman then delivered a three run double that cleared the bases to make the score 5-1.

South Carolina added one run in the sixth to make the score 5-2, but that final would hold behind a scoreless frame from Macha in the seventh, and the rest was sealed in the history books.

“I knew Coach Ford was going to be able to get it done, and with this team ... these are my best friends, my sisters, and I go to war with them,” Howe said. “It’s just awesome ... it’s so cool to be a part of this, and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”

With a final destination of Oklahoma City, ASU will take some time to enjoy their Super Regional victory before getting set for a date with Oregon.

Four out of the eight teams in the WCWS hail from the Pac-12, and the Sun Devils will match up with an Oregon team who they lost two out of three games to earlier this season.

Nonetheless, all stats and previous games are thrown out the window in the postseason, and ASU will get set for its Pac-12 showdown at OGE Energy Field as they continue their quest towards a third national title.

A time for the game with Oregon has yet to be determined.

Reach the reporter at or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

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