Becoming a dynasty is the pipe dream most programs never see fulfilled. Alabama has reached dynastic status in football. Connecticut has also achieved it in women’s basketball. Dynasties aren’t an unfamiliar concept in Oklahoma, either. Sooner football has had its stretches as the best in the land. And currently, both the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams have had some impeccable runs over the past four years, winning a combined six national titles over that span. However, there’s yet another team right here in Oklahoma that is on the verge of becoming the next national dynasty, and some would argue that they’ve already achieved that status.
Oklahoma softball has gradually become one of the most dominant programs in all of collegiate athletics. The No. 2-ranked Sooners have won three of the last five national titles, including the last two. Even with all of that success in the past, this year’s squad could be the best one yet. The combination of veteran grit and talented underclassmen gives this team a dynamic that most others cannot match.
Naturally, the level of fan interest has risen in correlation to the softball team’s ascension to national prominence. The more they win, the more attentive and excited the fans become. Speaking of winning, Oklahoma has won 25 consecutive games, and is quickly approaching the school’s all-time record of 31 straight wins set in the 2016 season. Fortunately, this isn’t the kind of team that will easily falter to looking ahead at such trivial matters. With Patty Gasso at the helm, the focus will remain on one game at a time.
So if you’re one of the last remaining Sooners who hasn’t kept up with the state of Oklahoma softball, and none of the aforementioned was reason enough for you to dive in, check out these three reasons why you should absolutely pay more attention to this team:
The pitching staff Oklahoma has assembled is one of the deepest in the nation, and the quality of their depth is totally off the charts. Seniors Paige Parker and Paige Lowary are the headliners. Parker leads the nation with a .40 ERA (!!!), while Lowary is ninth at .76. Lowary has one of the hottest fastballs in the game today, and Parker’s rise ball has struck out the best of batters.
The pitching greatness doesn’t stop with the two Paiges, either. Sophomore Mariah Lopez already has Women’s College World Series experience and is only getting better by the start. Lopez stands to be the future in the circle once Parker and Lowary move on after this season. In addition to those three, the Sooners can also call upon Missouri transfer Parker Conrad, promising sophomore Melanie Olmos and jack-of-all-trades Nicole Mendes.
On a team full of stars such as Paige Parker, Shay Knighten and Kelsey Arnold, it’s hard to single out just one for why you should start paying more attention to the softball they’re playing at Oklahoma. That being said, if I had to choose one player who just brings it to every single at-bat in every single game, I’d have to go with Sydney Romero.
Sure, Romero can send one the distance, and she’s a gifted base-runner, but what makes Romero particularly special is her tendency to find success at the plate. Out of all the hitters on the team, Romero could very well be the toughest Sooner to strike out. In 110 at-bats, she’s only been struck out three times all season. She simply has a knack for picking her spots and giving a pitcher all she can handle, and that’s why she’s such a crucial piece to Oklahoma’s loaded line-up.
If you’re a fan of an absurd amount of home runs, freshman phenom Jocelyn Alo is the only reason you need to watch more Sooner softball. You might remember a former player by the name of Lauren Chamberlain, who is most notably known for sending a record number of softballs out of the park during her career (95 to be exact). Well, it looks like Oklahoma has itself another great one in Alo, and she’s well on her way to contend for Chamberlain’s record.
In fact, Alo is currently second in the nation with 17 home runs, but she’s played in three fewer games than the nation’s leader, yet still only trails by one homer. Alo is also tenth in the nation in batting average at .460. Her combination of strength and precision make her the ideal player for drilling any pitch out of the park. If you haven’t watched Alo play, you’re doing yourself an incredible disservice.
So if you needed any more reason to go all-in on the Oklahoma Sooners’ softball team, there you go. There are some serious records on the verge of being broken, and of course, the ultimate prize at the end of the season is the Sooners’ for the taking. I assure you, you’ll want to ride this one out to the finish. No matter the end result, the road to Oklahoma City figures to be one epic run.
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