Saturday, November 26, 2022

Oklahoma beat Texas, repeats as softball national champions

OKLAHOMA CITY ( Associated Press) – Jocelyn Alo and Tiare Jennings put Oklahoma on the verge of a national championship once again with their stellar performances in the Women’s College World Series.

His companions brought it home.

Kinzie Henson and Grace Lyon hit three-run homers, Jayda Coleman made brilliant defensive plays and No. 1 seed Oklahoma beat unseeded Texas 10-5 on Thursday night to win their second straight title.

A two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, Allo was named Most Outstanding Player. He scored .666 runs for the World Series, tied Jennings for a series-record five home runs and set a series mark with 12 runs.

Elo ended his career with a Division I run with 122 home runs. Most important to her, she ended one of the greatest college careers ever with a win.

“These are the moments I will always remember,” she said. “I’m happy to step off the top and just know that the hard work we put in has paid off.”

The Sooners (59-3) claimed a 2-0 best-of-three series against their Big 12 rival after winning Game 1 16-1 on Wednesday. It was Oklahoma’s sixth overall national championship and fifth of the previous nine World Series.

In the sixth inning Elo hit a hard single in his final at-bat and scored later. In the seventh, he stepped to play left field and caught two fly balls for outs before leaving the game at a standing ovation.

The future looks bright for Sooners. Jennings – just a sophomore – set a World Series record with 15 RBIs. Coleman is also a sophomore.

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And then there’s Jordi Behl (22-1) of Oklahoma. NFCA Freshman of the Year settled in after a poor start. He conceded two runs and four hits in four innings.

“We’re all competitors, and when you’re a competitor, if there’s something else you can have, you want to get it,” Bahl said. “So I never worry about losing our appetite for ever winning more national championships. I’m going to enjoy it.”

Texas was also not expected to reach the World Series, but the Longhorns were expected to outperform what they delivered in Game 1. Texas coach Mike White on Wednesday called Oklahoma an embarrassment and thought Thursday’s effort was better.

“My job was to raise them back, (make them) come back and fight,” White said. “Fight Texas. I thought we did it. I thought we fought well. Just didn’t get our way.”

Texas pitcher Estelle Czech (13-2) started Thursday’s game with three shutout innings but ran into trouble in the fourth and fifth and was replaced.

Mia Scott hit a three-run homer and JJ Smith hit two for the Longhorns (47-22-1), who had survived six elimination games in NCAA Tournament play earlier Thursday.

“I think it was worth saying in the end that we just left it there and emptied our gas tanks where we are,” said Texas catcher Mary Ikopo.

Longhorn looked ready to compete on Thursday. He loaded the base with no out first and scored two runs, but Coleman jumped over the fence for a brilliant grab, which robbed Courtney Day of a two-run homer and ended the innings.

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Bahl said, “I’ve seen Jayda do this over and over again in practice, but when it’s in a game and we have your back as well as everyone else in our defense, that stuff keeps me safe from any strikeout.” sets fire to more,” Bahl said. , “It speeds us up and really lets me take a deep breath because they’ve got me.”

Oklahoma eventually joined the board in fourth place. After Sooners got his first run after a throwing error, Tylon Snow’s RBI single tied the game at 2-all.

In the fourth, Coleman had another defensive gem, throwing a Texas runner into second off the warning track.

Alyssa Brito’s RBI double in the fifth gave Oklahoma the first lead, and Hansen’s blast later in the innings put the Sooners up 6-2.

Anticipating another blast, the crowd stood for Elo’s bat in the sixth. Instead, his singles loaded the bases. The two batsmen later leveled at 10-2 by Lyons’ homer.

Then in the seventh was the moment of Aalo. Tears welled up on her face when she ran away from the field.

“Going back-to-back – there’s no better way to end your career,” Elo said. “I’ve had a great five years here, and it’s been tough at times, but I won’t change that … I’ve enjoyed my journey here, and sadly it’s coming to an end.”


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