James Madison’s Odicci Alexander assists carry Dukes to Women’s Faculty World Collection

When Odicci Alexander arrived at James Madison University for the 2017 softball year, the program was already effectively on its way to becoming nationally recognized. The Dukes experienced long gone to four-straight NCAA tournaments and, just a calendar year prior, had hosted a Tremendous Regional.

With the exception of 2020, when COVID canceled most of the period, Alexander has aided keep that streak alive with the group reaching the NCAA event in each and every of her seasons in Harrisonburg. The workforce also produced the Tremendous Regionals twice, but there was anything missing — a vacation to the Women’s College or university Environment Series. 

With the season lower limited very last spring, Alexander, like all seniors, had the choice of returning for an additional year. She made the decision to do just that, tweeting past May perhaps, “We have some unfinished enterprise- let us run it back again!”

With a earn Sunday against Missouri, JMU completed some of that business enterprise. For the first time in system background, JMU will play in the Women’s University Globe Collection, facing Oklahoma Thursday at noon in Oklahoma Metropolis. The recreation will air on ESPN. 

“I think each year we got closer and nearer,” Alexander explained Wednesday afternoon through a push convention. “And I believe the College World Collection was a objective for each individual and every a person of these seniors … I imply, we are last but not least in this article and I are not able to be more enthusiastic. It is really a blessing.”

Head coach Loren LaPorte said the team has talked about reaching Oklahoma Metropolis. The earlier postseason experience undoubtedly aided thrust them toward that objective this period. 

“I believe the largest variation for us as a personnel and seeing this group is that they weren’t intimidated, they thrived in the ambiance,” LaPorte said. “And they understood what to expect, and they ran with it and they ended up prepared to go. I mean, their struggle and their fight was very remarkable.”

Oklahoma is not going to be an easy opponent to open up with Thursday. The Sooners (50-2) are the top rated seed in the match and are the only workforce with a far better history than JMU, which enters with a 39-2 mark. 

Whilst JMU is producing its initial appearance in the Faculty Planet Collection, Oklahoma has gained countrywide titles in 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017, and the previous time this match was played it concluded as runner-up, shedding to UCLA in 2019. 

“Oklahoma is a large amount like Missouri, as far as their substantial-potent offense and I believe we all know that,” said LaPorte. “Odicci knows that and what’s genuinely critical, you know, likely in tomorrow is getting ready, seeing their hitters, attempting to continue to keep them off equilibrium. Actually accomplishing the matters that she did to attack those (Missouri) hitters.

If JMU wins Thursday it will participate in Friday at 7 p.m. If the Dukes get rid of to Oklahoma, they will engage in Saturday at noon. 

Alexander is 16-1 this period with a 1.14 earned-operate ordinary. In 117 innings she has 186 strikeouts. She was named the Colonial Athletic Affiliation pitcher of the 12 months this time. 

In the postseason, she set a JMU file with 19 strikeouts against Liberty in the initially activity of the regionals. Then, versus Missouri, she was 2-1 with 18 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. She is 4-1 in the postseason. 

LaPorte reported Odicci — her nickname on the staff is CC — has matured so a great deal in her time at JMU and now, as a fifth-12 months senior, she can take care of all of this strain as the staff prepares for Oklahoma. 

“I think she’s just doing this kind of a excellent occupation at currently being equipped to manage it all and taking pleasure in it,” LaPorte explained. “And I can tell you, like, she’s just this kind of a fighter. I indicate she’s been via so considerably in her job. You know, individual items, accidents, just, you title it, she’s been as a result of it, and the fight is quite amazing.”

Patty Gasso, the head mentor at Oklahoma, known as Alexander an “absolute star,” stating the JMU pitcher has her team’s regard heading into Thursday. 

“She sort of operates the exhibit on that group, you can really feel it,” Gasso stated. “She’s their motor.”

Alexander remembers looking at the Women’s College Earth Collection on television when she was a child. Now, she will be taking part in in the tournament, just one she’s been dreaming about for several years. 

“It’s truthfully a very little overpowering for the reason that it can be like I cannot imagine it, but I am glad to be in this article,” she said. “Just striving to get it all in, embrace each and every and every second. Embrace the followers. Embrace the atmosphere. Just embrace it all.”

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Patrick Hite is The News Leader’s schooling and athletics reporter. Story concepts and tips constantly welcome. Get in touch with Patrick (he/him/his) at phite@newsleader.com and adhere to him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Subscribe to us at newsleader.com.

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