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Blog #4: The Need For A League of Their Own (Part 3)

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Tuesday, June 8
Championship Series Game 1
This Series marks the first time in CWS history that both finalists came out of the Elimination Bracket, Both teams had to play a total of six games each just to make it this far, which was a positive for Oklahoma because they had a chance to warm their bats up, and by this time, the Bash Sisters and their bats were red hot. Florida State continue to show the moxie that they displayed all tournament long.
Florida State 8, (1) Oklahoma 4 – OU continued their habit of starting slow in the first game, and it cost them dearly. FSU RF Kalei Harding threw out a Sooner baserunner at third on a double play in the 2nd inning before hitting a 2-run HR in the 3rd. She added two more RBI in the 4th to lead a charge that put FSU up 7-0 before OU’s Kinzie Hansen and Nicole Mendes hit back-to-back solo HRs in the same inning. The Sooners scraped together 2 more runs before Katheryn Sandercock got the last four outs for the Lady Seminoles.

Wednesday, June 9
Championship Series Game 2
Oklahoma has played from behind the whole CWS. Why should today be any different? They knew that they had hit the ball hard but right at the defenders, and Florida State caught many breaks that a good team takes advantage of. An overflow crowd arrived early and ready to make noise as the two teams took the field, with one playing for survival, and the other for history.
(1) Oklahoma 6, Florida State 2 – FSU’s Elizabeth Mason’s 2-run HR in the 1st inning was the only runs that OU P G Juarez gave up this game, Jana Johns had a solo HR in the 3rd; then the game, and then the Series swung to the Bash Sisters for good when “Hammerin” Jocelyn Alo smacked a long 2-run HR that led to a 4-run 6th that was preserved by Juarez getting the last three outs as the capacity crowd roared its approval. All even with one more game to go.
The location of the CWS is a match made in heaven because as quoted by an ESPN article last year, “The CWS is not in Oklahoma City because it is a destination. It is in Oklahoma City because it works there.” Truer words have never been spoken, for OKC IS College Softball, thus it has become THE destination for every little girl to young woman who has ever dreamed of a chance to play the sport at the highest level. The synergy between the city and the sport only gets stronger and stronger with time, and the CWS is committed to OKC through 2035 (at least).
Speaking of higher level, why doesn’t Major League Baseball underwrite a Professional Fast-Pitch Women’s Softball League as the NBA has with the WNBA? The market is clearly there, and although these bright and talented ladies will be successful at any vocation that they choose so they don’t necessarily need it, it would be nice if they had the option to continue to play. Just a thought…

Thursday, June 10
Championship Series Game 3
While Florida State came into the deciding game shell-shocked and a little weary, Oklahoma looked energized and strengthened by yet another capacity crowd that was slightly delayed because of the 2pm local time start, which was necessary because of ESPN’s commitment to their NBA Playoffs coverage that night and the rain delays moving this game back one day. Manager Patty Gasso and OU’s fourth title in the last decade had an air of inevitability at this point, and it seemed like everyone in the stadium knew it, especially both teams.
(1) Oklahoma 5, Florida State 1 – This rubber game was decided early when OU P Juarez shut FSU down in the top of the 1st before Jocelyn Alo, maybe the greatest home run hitter in the history of Women’s College Softball, hit her record 35th HR of the season to put her Sooners up 1-0. It may as well have been 100-0 the way that Juarez was pitching; she gave up only 2 hits and 1 run, Jayda Coleman also homered as The University of Oklahoma Sooners cruised to the 2021 Softball College World Series Title in front of over 13,000 boisterous, partisan fans at OGE Energy Field at Hall of Fame Stadium in the Adventure District in Oklahoma City Oklahoma.

The Championship Lineup:
Tiare Jennings – Second Base
Jocelyn Alo – Designated Player
Kinzie Hansen – Catcher
Nicole Mendes – Right Field
Mackenzie Donihoo – Left Field
Jayda Coleman – Center Field
Grace Lyons – Shortstop
Jana Johns – Third Base
Taylon Snow – First Base
Rylie Boone – Pinch Runner/Left Field
Lynnsie Elam – Pinch Hitter/Catcher
Grace Green – Pinch Hitter
Giselle Juarez – Pitcher
Nicole May – Pitcher
Olivia Rains – Pitcher
Shannon Saile – Pitcher

That they did it the hard way made the ensuing celebration all the more satisfying as the Sooner ladies enjoyed their time in the sun, while Manager Patty Gasso won her fifth National Title to take her place in University of Oklahoma Sports Legend with Football coaches Bud Wilkerson, Barry Switzer and Bob Stoops. Her accomplishments are no less impressive than any of them, and it shows no signs of abating. With the lure of a powerful program, legendary coaching, top-notch facilities and the College World Series in neighboring Oklahoma City as a virtual home game, this Oklahoma Sooners Softball express train is built to keep on moving.

See you next year. Same time, same place.


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