Rather about a hundred or FSU softball fans — including parents of players and former players — gathered in the parking lot adjacent to USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex here at the South Track of Remington Park. The group met prior to Game 1 of the best-of-three-championship series between No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 FSU Wednesday in the 2023 Women's College World Series.
Hugh Tomlinson, the Director of Development & Planned Giving at Seminole Booster, said there were 400-500 fans in attendance in 2021. He said he wouldn't be surprised by a similar number this year.
The Sooners, who have won an NCAA-record 51-straight games, may have the home-field advantage in the WCWS with just a 20-mile drive from Norman to Oklahoma City.
The tailgate could have convinced many that FSU was the advantage, at least in this one sub-section of OKC.
The Seminoles have won 33 of their 35 games themselves. So something has to give this series.
The Democrat spoke to a few parents and fans at the tailgate a couple of hours before Game 1.
“It's amazing. I mean, you get to hang out with your people,” said Sherry Harding, the other of FSU third baseman Kalei Harding.
“You make a ton of new friends from all over the place that you don't know they just spot you out and start talking to you. It's just like a melting pot of softball fans.”
‘Feelin 22’: Emma Wilson’s birthday
Emma Wilson, a redshirt junior, has made eight appearances and pitched 6 ⅓ innings for the Seminoles in 2023.
While it is unlikely Wilson, from North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, makes an appearance during any of the WCWS games this year around, do expect her to get some love from the crowd.
Her parents — Lance and Kelley — will lead the singing of “Happy Birthday” for their daughter’s 22nd birthday at some point during Wednesday’s game.
They have signs ready to go, as well.
“This is incredible,” Kelley said. “They work the entire season to get to this point. So, we’ll take a win for her birthday.
“Take a home a ‘natty’ and a birthday go hand-and-hand.”
The trip in 2021 was the first trip up for the Wilsons. This time around they have a better idea of what to expect.
“Ignorance is bliss, your first year round so you don't really know what you don't know,” Kelley said. “The nerves are a little bit more amped up than before. Honestly, I feel like our team is in a completely different mindset.
“The girls are more comfortable, the girls are more settled, their heads are more clear. I just think that there are different tables that can they can pull it off this year.”
WCWS prediction: How FSU and Oklahoma softball stack up against one another
First trip for the Kerr family
Kerr, a redshirt sophomore was on the 2021 team which reached the World Series, but after starting and playing in four games, she missed the season due to a knee injury.
Due to that, her family did not make the trip. Kerr was with the team, however for the experience.
“A lot of energy and I'm not sure if the new schedule is more taxing on the parents than the athletes,” Mylinda Kerr told the Democrat. “We’ve been working and then hanging out. But it's really exciting nonetheless.”
Now fully healthy, Kerr has been one of the best stories on the team this season. The two-hole hitter and raised her batting average of ..261 in 2022 to .360.
The Wesleyan School graduate — in Mableton, Georgia — has career-highs in runs (38), hits (67), total bases (106), doubles (15) and home runs (8) in just four more games played and six more at-bats.
Wilson is not the only one celebrating her birthday within the week. Kerr will celebrate her 21st birthday on Monday. Her family is also hoping it starts with a championship.
“It would be awesome to win it (for her birthday),” Mylinda said. “Coach (Lonnia Alameda’s) birthday is Sunday and Emma’s is today.”
What a year for Makenna Reid
One year ago Wednesday, Makenna Reid was pitching Tigard High (Oregon) to the Class 6A State Championship by setting a state record of 21 strikeouts in a 1-0 10-inning win over Oregon City at Jane Sanders Stadium at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.
She finished with a 27-2 record, an ERA of 0.46 with 438 strikeouts. She also added three perfect games and six no-hitters, earning Pitcher of the Year honors both in the state.
A couple of months later, her father Chris Reid helped her move to Tallahassee.
Now she's on the biggest stage in college softball.
No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 1 Oklahoma
What: NCAA Softball Women’s College World Series best of three championship series
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.; Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Friday, 8 p.m. (if necessary)
Where: USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium
TV: Wednesday-Friday, ESPN
Records: FSU, 58-9; Oklahoma 59-1
Reach Ehsan Kassim at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Ehsan_Kassim. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).
No one covers the ‘Noles like the Tallahassee Democrat. Subscribe using the link at the top of the page and never miss a moment.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State softball fans show support in Oklahoma for WCWS