Softball Notebook

The Softball Channel’s Fastpitch Blog

10  06 2013

Sooners Become ‘America’s Team’

Overcome Regional Tragedy to Win National Championship—Again

By Kayla Knight
TSC Contributor

After millions of Americans had shared in the sorrow of Oklahoma’s two devastating EF5 tornadoes in two weeks, it was somehow fitting that the Oklahoma Sooners would win the 2013 Women’s College World Series—and in their home state.

Sydney Angle, a youth softball player and one of the tornado victims, served as inspiration for the team according to head coach Patty Gasso.

The nation’s top pitching duo—seniors Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne—led the way in the final game, blanking Tennessee 4-0 to take the title. Gascoigne got the start, her first since May 11th against Oklahoma State. She struck out 12 and allowed just three hits in her ninth shutout of the year.

The decision to hold Ricketts, who had been a pitching sensation all season and had started every other postseason game in the circle, was controversial but proved to be a wise one.

With her pitching load lightened, Ricketts lit up the scoreboard offensively, smashing a three-run homer to the bleachers in right field in the third inning and adding an RBI in the top of the seventh. It was Ricketts’ 50th career home run and 15th of the season.

By virtue of its latest NCAA championship Oklahoma has laid claim to being the most dominant team in college softball, winning the national title for the second time in three years—and coming extremely close to a third title last year against Alabama.

The Sooners also elevated themselves into the history books by becoming only one of five teams to win the coveted World Series’ crown more than once.

Oklahoma will have a big hole to fill next season with the departure of both Ricketts and Gascoigne. But its inspiring first-place finish in the face of regional tragedy has created momentum for years to come.

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