One might say that “shreds” is a rather strong word. Well, when a team goes 56-4 on the year, it’s rather safe to say they did exactly that. In case you missed it, the Oklahoma Sooners Softball team took first place at this year’s Women’s College World Series. Here’s the breakdown of their championship run:
Regular Season Dominance
The team’s regular-season included 34 wins via the mercy rule, 20 shoutouts, a collective 13 home runs in one game, a collective 32 RBIs in a separate single game, four 20+ run wins, and plenty of other dumb-founding stats. The team was so dominating that their roster claimed the Big 12 Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year. Did I mention 11 selections across the three All-Big 12 teams? Or that Sooners star, Jocelyn Alo, was the National Player of the Year? Ok, ok, I’ll stop. Point is, this team is absolutely crazy. But this is just the regular season. We’re only getting started:
Coming in as the obvious one seed, the team was faced with the unranked James Madison Dukes. Ironically enough, they lost. A 3-4 fall to a team that was unranked was the perfectly imperfect way for a team like Oklahoma to lose. Thankfully for the Sooners though, the WCWS is double elimination.
The Loser’s Bracket
The team then remembered how to play like they’re used to and they shut Georgia out 8-0 followed by a 10-3 win on UCLA. For both of these games, a loss meant elimination but the unique thing about the UCLA game is that the winner was set to play James Madison — the same JMU who beat the Sooners.
Payback on JMU
The “revenge” game, if you will, went how the first game was expected to go. A 6-3 win for OU following the former two wins made it seem like the initial JMU loss meant nothing. However, the speed bump to OU’s progression was that JMU hadn’t lost prior to the OU game. Therefore, the two met again a day later.
A 7-1 win for OU is what followed. JMU, who were putting on a great underdog show, ran out of gas and running out of gas is something the Sooners simply don’t do. Juxtaposing JMU’s bad news is the good news for OU, the advancement to the final series.
The Final Series
Florida State was equally doing well in the post-season and they were OU’s counterparts. The Sooners lost game one of the three-game series similarly to how they had lost in Round One.
Yet also, similarly, OU won the next two games. Finding their stride again, the Sooners won 6-2 and 5-1 back-to-back. One could go on a tangent about individual players and how they performed but that conversation would last forever because the team is just that well-rounded. 1-9 hit homers and the fielding consistency is parallel to none.
The 2021 WCWS win makes for Oklahoma’s fifth national championship. The team was won three of the last five with the other two consisting of back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.
Between the ages of the key players and the lack of a prominent professional league to take the talent away, Oklahoma will be strong contenders come time for next year’s WCWS.