Second straight national championship leaves one more question (or does it?)
Winning the program's sixth national championship since 2000, it's fifth since 2013 and second straight, inquiring minds seem to want to know
OKLAHOMA CITY — How about it doesn’t matter if Oklahoma’s the best college softball team ever to take the diamond.
How about we just remember what the Sooners did, how they did it, game to game, inning to inning, pitch for pitch.
Can we do that?
Thursday night at Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahoma topped Texas 10-5 to claim its sixth national championship since arriving at the Women’s College World Series for the first time in 2000, its fifth since Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain led the charge in 2013, its fourth since 2016 and its second straight.
The Sooners finished the season 59-3, winning their first 38 games on the schedule until the same Texas team it beat Wednesday and Thursday topped it 4-2 on April 16.
If the postseason began at the Big 12 tournament, the Sooners lost only one regular season game and if it began when regional play began, they lost two.
Since opening the Norman Regional against Prairie View A&M, Oklahoma went 10-1, outscoring its regional, super regional and WCWS opponents 117-20.
Come on, really?
Patty Gasso doesn’t want to make the call and she coaches them.
“I’m going to let you decide. You guys have all the stats and stuff,” she said. “I could rank them very, very high, because everything they do looks so easy to me and they do it so fast.”
She could, but she didn’t.
Instead, think about what happened.
Think about how Texas opened with two hits off Sooner starter Jordy Bahl, then got a walk, then got two shots to the wall that became two very loud sacrifice flies and then a shot from Courtney Day that cleared the left-center field fence but could not clear center fielder Jayda Coleman’s glove, which brought it back.
“She’s robbing all of our home runs in practice all the time,” Sooner catcher Kinzie Hansen said.
Think about how Oklahoma broke the game open in the fifth inning, when Texas pitcher Estelle Czech had three chances to get the third out and become only the second pitcher all season to throw five innings at the Sooners without allowing an earned run.
Czech, if you can believe it, allowed 26 earned runs over her last 24 1/3 innings prior to the World Series, yet had given up just two over 16 2/3 at the World Series entering the top of the fifth inning, when she would first face Coleman, hitting well over .400, and then Jocelyn Alo, softball’s sultan of swat, hitting well over .500.
Both flied out.
So there Czech was, an out away from going where only Alabama-Birmingham’s Sarah Cespedes had gone on April 2, when she blanked the Sooners for 5 2/3. Czech didn’t have a shutout going, just a 2-2 tie thanks to her team’s difficult defense, but she was pitching wonderfully.
Then Tiare Jennings flicked a hit up the middle, Grace Lyons managed to get hit by a pitch and Alyssa Brito doubled home Jennings.
Then came Hansen, who’d struggled through injury much of the season, who was the only bat in Thursday’s starting lineup not hitting .300. She deposited a three-run home run between the foul pole and the left-field bleachers.
As the bottom of the order scored five runs and drove in six on Wednesday, it was the closest thing to an anonymous Sooner who broke the game open Thursday.
“It’s like you blink, you give an inch and they take a mile,” said Texas coach Mike White, a good quote to the end.
So, great team.
Best team ever?
Stop it. Stop it right there.
If you can believe it, the Sooners hit .371 for the season, got on base more than 47 percent of the time and slugged .734.
Alo, because her numbers are too big not to mention, finished hitting .515, getting on base more than 64 percent of the time and slugged 1.212.
Thursday, she even recorded her first two putouts in forever.
The Sooners up 10-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Gasso made a change, sending Alo, her designated player, to left field, just so she could take her out again with two outs, giving her one last huge ovation.
Would you believe both those outs found Alo’s glove, one at the wall?
You can’t make it up.
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Gasso made another move when Alo came off, bringing Hope Trautwein into the circle to get the last out. She wound up allowing a three-run home run to Mia Scott before she got it, but finally it was done, Alyssa Washington grounding to second base.
Gasso wasn’t the only Sooner to field the best ever question.
“There’s been a lot of chatter all season,” Bahl said,” but one thing we just did was stay focused on ourselves … I think we were just trying to maximize every day and just be focused on ourselves.”
Coleman — “We were just doing us,” she said — didn’t go there either.
Then it came around to Alo.
“Me being a senior” she said, "I think this is the best team.”
No, it’s not that important.
Yeah, she’s probably right.