By Chuck Reherman
Chyenne Factor was not having a typical series when she stepped to the plate in the third inning of the third and final game of the Super Regional in Tallahassee, FL.
One swing changed that and helped send Oklahoma State University to “the big show.”
The Yukon freshman drilled a solo home run in the inning to give the Cowgirls a 1-0 lead and eventually a 3-2 win over Florida State to send the team to the NCAA Women’s College World Series that starts Thursday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Factor, the second leading hitter on the Cowgirls’ team, had been hitless in the regionals until that third inning. Her home run led to a two-run inning and a first super regional title and trip to the World Series since 2011.
OSU, 44-15, will play Florida, 49-16, in the opening round at 6 p.m. at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Factor, just a year removed from high school, said she and the team are excited to be headed to the World Series, but players are taking it as a business as usual type of attitude.
“Everyone is really pumped right now,” Factor said. “It is now just a matter of getting there and getting the tournament started. It is going to be pretty cool.
“We always thought we could make it to the World Series and that was our plan from the start of the season,” she said. “Knowing that we could make it was one of the biggest things.”
The fact that the team was playing the defending national champions on their home field for a chance to go to the World Series didn’t have the team rattled going in.
OSU beat Florida State 3-1 in that opening game, but lost 4-1 in the second to set up a third and deciding contest.
“We have been playing good and we went to Tallahassee knowing that we could win,” Factor said. “And, we took the attitude that we weren’t playing the defending national champion we were just playing softball.
“That is how it was all year,” she added. “We didn’t look at anyone like they were better than us, we just played and played our way.”
Heading to the plate in that third inning, Factor was thinking to just make contact with the ball and then look for something good to happen.
It did when the ball cleared the fence in right centerfield.
“I knew she was a good pitcher and I wasn’t having very good at bats the whole series,” Factor said. “I was in a 2-1 count and was okay, I was just thinking to hit the ball hard and if it goes foul, its’ okay because the count would be 2-2 and I would have another chance, so I just swung. I knew when I made contact with it that it was gone.”
Factor takes a .341 batting average into the World Series. She has had 43 hits in 126 plate appearances with nine home runs and 39 runs batted in.
She was also named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team.
In the regionals to reach the Super regionals, Factor had a big weekend including a grand slam in a 13-10 win over Tulsa and also had hits in wins over BYU and the finals against Tulsa.
“I have had a good year and it has been fun,” Factor said. “This team gets along very good and it has been a learning experience adjusting to college life and softball. I’m still trying to get adjusted, the pitchers at this level are all good they throw a little faster than high school. But, it is just softball.
“I had a pretty good year for my first year of college, it probably could have been a little better,” Factor said. “But, overall, it was pretty good.”
She is looking to continue her good year into the College World Series as the Cowgirls play their second straight opponent from the Sunshine State.
“I think it is a pretty good draw,” Factor said. They played Florida two years ago (in a regional) and beat them one of the games. It is going to be a good game and I feel we can play with them.
“Playing in Oklahoma City will hopefully be an advantage for us, especially getting to see a lot of our fans there.
“We are not going to change anything that we have been doing going into the World Series,” she said. “We get to practice at the field on Wednesday and then just go out and play as good as we can on Thursday.
“We are taking the attitude of these are just another game and we don’t want to get too up for the games. I just need to play, have good at bats and be a tough out. Whatever will help the team.”