OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s defense kept things close until the Sooners’ prolific offense came to life late Thursday night with a pair of grueling homers to beat rival Texas 10-5 and claim its second national championship. consecutive.
The Sooners have now won six Women’s College World Series under head coach Patty Gasso, including four of the last seven. The 2020 playoffs have been canceled due to COVID-19.
Oklahoma set a WCWS record with 17 home runs, breaking its own mark of 15 from last season. He also set a record for total runs scored during the WCWS with 64.
The question became apparent even before the confetti was thrown into the night sky to celebrate the victory: Was this the greatest softball team ever? The team led the country in batting average, home runs and ERA. He only lost three games.
While his teammates wouldn’t participate in the debate, Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo was happy to offer his thoughts.
“I would say as a senior,” she said, “I think it’s the best team.”
Gasso said it’s best to leave the answer to others who want to break down the stats, but she ended up offering an opinion anyway.
“I could rank them very, very high, if not the highest,” she said, “because everything they do feels so easy to me, and they do it so fast.”
It certainly played out that way in the deciding game against Texas, which took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and held Oklahoma scoreless until the fourth inning, when the hits began to arrive in clusters.
Oklahoma center fielder Jayda Coleman helped keep the score tight early when she went over the fence and brought home a potential two-run homer at the top of the first. Not to be outdone, Sooners shortstop Grace Lyons had her own shining moment on the field later when she snatched a ground ball deep in the hole to her right, fell to one knee and sent her to second base where Tiare Jennings tapped the sack and threw to first to complete the double play.
Then, after scratching two runs and tying the game in the fourth, the Oklahoma bats finally came to life. A double from Alyssa Brito down the left field line gave the Sooners a one-point lead. Four pitches later, Kinzie Hansen hit a three-run homer over the left field fence to open the game. It was Hansen’s first home run since April 16.
After a sacrificial volley from Jennings in the top of the sixth, Lyons hit a three-run homer to extend the lead to eight.
“Our pitch with Jordy [Bahl] was hanging on, but the defense is what really built that momentum for us over and over until we found a way to get on the board,” Gasso said. “Once we did, it just started to open. Just hit at the right time, clutch hit when we needed it.”
Alo, the all-time career home run leader, had a rare night in which she didn’t kick a ball over the fence or drive in a single run.
In a 16-1 loss in Game 1 of the Championship Series, Alo hit two homers to bring his tally to five for the WCWS.
Fifth-year senior Alo will play professionally but did not say whether it will be in the professional women’s fastpitch league or Athletes Unlimited, where she was drafted No. 1 overall in May.
She finished her senior season with a .515 batting average, 34 home runs and 85 RBIs.
“Man, she loves the Sooners,” Gasso said of Alo. “She loves the state. She loves everything about OU, and she just wanted to feed the OU fan base with everything she had. She left it. She left it on this land, and she left it in the history books forever.”