OKLAHOMA CITY — It became clear pretty early in the elimination game between the Washington and Stanford softball teams that one run might be enough for either team to win Sunday afternoon at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
Stanford got that run, an unearned one in the sixth inning, and the Cardinal defeated the Huskies 1-0, ending their season.
With Stanford freshman star NiJaree Canady, who entered the game with a nation-best 0.51 ERA, the Huskies probably weren’t going to have many chances to score.
She allowed just one hit, to Baylee Klingler leading off the game.
And Husky starter Ruby Meylan was at the top of her game Sunday as well, matching zeros with Canady through five innings.
Stanford scored on a soft single by Kaitlyn Lim after a stolen base and throwing error by UW catcher Sydney Stewart advanced a runner to third base. That was the only run Canady needed.
The Huskies got an early opportunity when Klingler moved to second after her leadoff hit on a sacrifice from Sami Reynolds. But Canady struck out Madison Huskey and Kelley Lynch to get out of the jam.
Meylan started for the Huskies for the third straight game in the WCWS. She struggled to get ahead in counts and walked too many hitters in her first two appearances, which were abbreviated, but she was sharp from the start Sunday.
Stanford got its first hit in the bottom of the third inning, on a one-out soft single from Ellee Eck. She stole second and with two outs, she seemed destined to score on Taylor Gindlesperger’s single to center field.
But UW center fielder Brooklyn charged forward for the ball and threw a missile to catcher Sydney Stewart, who applied the tag just before Eck touched home plate. Stanford challenged the out call, but the ruling stood, keeping the game scoreless.
Meylan got out of another jam in the fourth inning, overcoming a successful challenge that Stanford made on what appeared to be a double play that had ended the inning.
It was ruled that the Huskies obstructed with a baserunner trying to get back to first base, so rather than being out of the inning, there were runners on first and third with two outs.
Meylan kept her composure and got Lim to hit a soft fly ball to left fielder Reynolds for the final out.
Washington got a huge chance in the sixth inning, after back-to-back Stanford errors put runners on first and second base. But Huskey hit into a fielder’s choice and Lynch flew out to center field.
Last month, the Huskies won two of three at then No. 6 ranked Stanford, which was undoubtedly a big reason UW was the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and Stanford was a No. 9 seed.
But the Cardinal got some revenge, on the biggest stage.