(Photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics)

The Women’s College World Series is a double-elimination tournament, but realistically speaking, it usually feels like one-and-done. With the way the format is set up, if you lose the opening game you are put in the loser's bracket, and if you want to make it to the WCWS finals you have to win every game the rest of the way (four in a row) to get there. That hardly ever happens.

So when we lost our WCWS opener 7-4 against UCLA, we knew we had our work cut out for us. If we were going to reach the finals, it would be with our backs against the wall the entire way.

What happened next is still crazy to think about. In our next game, I pitched seven innings with no earned runs as we won 7-2 against Georgia. Then in our next game against Oregon, Kylee was amazing as we won 4-1. Then, just as we were getting on a roll, we were on the brink of elimination again.

I pitched the next game against UCLA, and going into the bottom of the sixth we were trailing 1-0. Our leadoff batter, Dani Morgan, hit a deep shot to center field, only to be robbed of a home run by UCLA's center fielder, Bubba Nickles. But we never quit. We put runners on second and third moments later, and when Elizabeth Mason stepped to the plate, she crushed a deep ball to center. This time it was out of Nickels' reach, and we were up 3-1. I got the last few outs in the seventh inning, and just like that we were still alive.

Later that day we faced UCLA one last time, with the winner to play Washington in the WCWS finals. This time we were able to breathe a little easier, as we won 12-6 to make it to the finals.

(Photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics)

Our coach, Lonni Alameda, gave me the nod for Game 1, and I was lucky enough to have another great game. We traded scoreless innings until the sixth, when our offense scratched out a run, and I closed out the sixth and seventh innings to give us the 1-0 win. Now we were one win away from the National Championship - which would be the first not just in Florida State history, but also in ACC history.

Lonni gave me the ball again for Game 2, just because I had the hot hand. Having the support of Kylee was huge, because that allowed me to play freely. It also helped that we kept everything the same that day. Yes, we were playing for a national title, but we were still going to play the same songs on the bus on the way to the game (including a Christian song) and we were still going to say a prayer as a team before the game started.

Everything that we had been doing, we were going to keep it going. Unfortunately, within the first three pitches I could tell this wasn't going to be a repeat of my other games.

I gave up a hit on the first pitch, and on the very next pitch I threw it past our catcher towards the backstop. When the third pitch resulted in a bunt and error, we were already down 1-0. The game was barely a minute old and we were already trailing.

A sac fly made it 2-0 and a ground ball put us down 3-0, and that's when you probably heard this call on ESPN.

For Lonni Alameda, does she already have to consider how long she leaves Meghan King in the game?

I had never pitched four days in a row up to that point, and the discussion was already ensuing about saving my arm for a potential Game 3. But Lonni believed in me. Kylee believed in me. And most importantly, my teammates believed in themselves.

It took all of about five minutes for us to get back in the game. Anna Shelnutt hit a two-run homer to bring us within 3-2. Then in the next inning, Elizabeth Mason hit a two-run triple to put us up 4-3, and then in the bottom of the 4th, Elizabeth did it again. She hit a line drive to center that cleared the fence to put us up 7-3, and then in case there was any doubt, my teammate Jessie Warren hit another home run to put us up 8-3.

The score was still the same when I went back on the field in the top of the 7th with the World Series on the line.

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Thomas Hager