With softball out of the Olympics, the resulting lack of exposure and funding for the sport has the U.S. national team struggling to retain players.
With softball out of the Olympics, Team USA has a different feel. Tennessee star Lauren Gibson is among a slew of college stars leading the way with the world championships on the horizon.
Alabama hasn't been around long, but it's come close to softball's big prize a few times. Wednesday was its breakthrough as the Crimson Tide won the WCWS title over Oklahoma.
It's not necessarily a straight shot to softball success, but Florida State's Kaleigh Rafter's circuitous path from Canada to Tallahassee has paid dividends for the senior and the Seminoles.
The 2012 Olympics in London aren't an option for Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher, but after ending USA Softball's 185-game winning streak, Tincher proved she has both the talent and poise to beat the best.
As softball is set to lose its spot in the Olympics after 2008, the World Cup of Softball might be the event to bridge the gap between the sport and the casual fan.
The U.S. pitching staff stands tall in softball.
Arizona has faced internal and external challenges in its quest for a second consecutive and eighth total NCAA championship. The unlikely nature of the Wildcats' win is what makes it so sweet.