Both the baseball and softball teams were dropped from NCAA Tournament play on the same day. The high hopes of each came crashing down after the men dropped their Regional Opener and the women dropped their World Series match up. A season that was full of high hopes for the baseball team is now a season full of disappointment after disappointment. However, coming in to the season for the softball team, Kelani Ricketts promised to carry her team into the Women's College World Series. This was a feat that she cashed in on although the other star player, Jessica Shults, was unable to participate until today. It was the first time Shults made the lineup since May 8th due to an injury/illness that she was recovering from. So what went wrong?
The baseball team started off great with strong bats and solid pitching. However, it was down the stretch that these things started to disappear. While being able to pull off a few strings of wins, late in the season it seemed that the team had internal issues. These issues were made public and eventually should have been solved. But, the team seemed to lack the spark and drive it had to start the season. Batters were able to get on base but it was the clutch hitting that was missing leaving runners stranded left and right. Take for example the regional games. Oklahoma had 9 runners left on base against Dallas Baptist and the number increased to 12 runners left on base against Oral Roberts. Mental toughness seemed to get the best of this team as well. While the Sooners had 1 error on Friday's game, Saturday's game saw 6 errors from the field. These are not the numbers you want to see a winning team have. Plus, it doesn't help that the only constant on the mound was found in Michael Rocha down the stretch while the rest of the bullpen struggled. It seemed the team came into the season with a sense of entitlement. Due to the number of returning players, Oklahoma thought they deserved to play in the World Series and instead lost focus and sight of the goal. This lead to their demise. A team that was picked by most to win the Big XII and return to the CWS instead found itself finishing 3rd in the conference (thanks to OK-State gift wrapping it for us) and unable to make it out of Regional play.
On the other hand, the softball team played a very good season. Although when you look at the standing, you see Oklahoma at 5th in the conference after the regular season. Now flash forward to the WCWS and you will see that four of the Big XII teams made it as one of the eight. This bodes well for the Sooners as they played in the toughest conference this season while managing a winning record. However, when being matched up with the top national seed is never ideal, the Sooners fought hard eventually falling 3-1. This set the match up for in conference opponent Mizzou who won the regular season title. While this could have easily gone in favor of the Sooners, Oklahoma made a season high 4 errors on the day. But once again the combination of leaving runners on base along with the errors was simply insurmountable. While the Sooners did what they had promised in reaching the WCWS as well as playing long enough to get Shults back on the field, it was almost as they had checked out mentally. Granted, Arizona State and Mizzou are two very tough teams but at this level of play with these things on the line, you can't commit a season high on errors and expect to win.