Are you interested in watching Monica Abbott take in (in real time) her own WCWS performance? Well you're in the right place — and her reactions are priceless.
Abbott is one of the most dominant players in softball. Don't take it from me, take it from the fact that she still leads the NCAA in strikeouts (2,440), victories (189), shutouts (112), and single-season strikeouts (724).
Abbott re-watched her college-aged self in a Tennessee uniform as she joined me remotely and reacted to parts of her shutout win over Arizona in Game 1 of the 2007 WCWS Finals. Abbott struck out the side in the second inning and got her 700th strikeout of the season, extending her own single-season strikeouts record with every K.
Abbott is a member of Team USA and will take part in the next summer Olympics, which are scheduled for July 2021 in Tokyo.
Here are 10 of Abbott's best lines from a rewatch of this 2007 WCWS game over Arizona — and they are so fun.
1. "Wow. 700 strikeouts. That's crazy, that's a lot. WHEW!"
Even the NCAA strikeout queen is amazed by her own 700 strikeouts in a season. Abbott had already broken the previous NCAA record of 663 strikeouts in a season (Southern Miss' Courtney Blades in 2000) and ended her season with 724 Ks.
2. "I feel like I am nervous watching this a little bit, but I don't think I knew when I was playing that this was a big strikeout"
Abbott noted that she had absolutely no clue that she had reached the 700 strikeout milestone, a feat that had never been done before. Her focus was entirely on the WCWS. Abbott felt that her team had a chance to walk away with something really special — to get to the WCWS and win it. Merely playing in the WCWS was a huge accomplishment for Tennessee. The Vols had never been to the WCWS before Abbott got there, and then they made it in 2005-07. Now it was Abbott's senior season in '07 after making it the past two years, and she wanted to come out on top. Her strikeout count was the last thing on her mind.
3. "Why didn't she swing at that! swing at balls!"
Abbot laughed as she watched the 2007 version of herself throw a rise-ball way over Jenae Leles' head. She jokingly said that Leles should've taken a hack at it.
4. "I have changed so much"
One of the many things she noticed was how much she has evolved since college. Her hairstyle and form might have changed, but her knowledge and experience have grown and Abbott is still the same dominant pitcher. Following her 2008 Olympic Silver Medal where she posted a 0.29 ERA and a 3-0 record in 24 innings pitched while striking out 32 batters, Abbott's achievements include 17 different championship titles and multiple most valuable player awards.
5. "I threw the mess out of the ball ... throw it as hard as I can every pitch."
Abbott did not hold back from throwing some heat during her college years — it certainly worked. Abbott noted how much she has grown as a professional since college. "The longer you play, the better you get," she said. Abbott said her form was unorthodox in college but she really loved it. It gave her the chance to take a deep breath. Looking back at it, she loved how it has changed over the years but also thinks it is so cool to see how what she is doing now started. Her current form is slightly different. She takes her time standing up, and then goes to her low position after.
6. "LOOK AT ME, I AM SO FIERCE. I HAVE GOT THE EYE BLACK ON.... DOESN'T LOOK AT THE BATTER, I'VE GOT THOSE WARRIOR PRINCESS BRAIDS IN."
Even Monica Abbott was scared of college Monica Abbott watching it back. "All right, Monica!" she laughed, as if impressed by her own fierce look and focus. One of Abbott's sharpest observations was how focused and into the game she was.
7. "Oh, she fouled that one. That was over the middle and a little too close..... but I think she is out of the box!"
Abbott criticized her pitch that was "over the middle and a little too close," allowing the batter to take a good swing. But then she jokingly accused the lefty slapper of being out of the box. Abbott had no problem reliving even the smallest of mistakes.
8. "I am just so low. Wow." "That's gotta be tough to be a hitter, like do I even see the target?"
Abbott again was amazed at her form, saying she was so low that she wasn't even quite sure how she was able to see where she was throwing it.
9. "Deep breath, Mon, deep breath"
There's no time like 13 years after the fact to give yourself a little pep talk, right?
10. "It's fun to see the team and the girls to have a moment to celebrate and the joy on their faces."
Abbott explained the feeling of winning a game in the Women's College World Series Finals — "We got one." "Whew, what's next?" Reaching the WCWS and competing in this intense atmosphere is what every softball player imagines, and looking back at it over a decade later as an Olympian and professional softball player, Abbot just loved seeing the joy on her teammates' faces.