OU softball routs Texas for Game 1 win
Oklahoma crushes Texas 16-1, cruising to a Game 1 victory in the WCWS championship series.
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OKLAHOMA CITY — If you weren’t aware prior to Wednesday evening, the Women’s College World Series shelves college softball’s mercy rule exclusively for its best-of-three championship series.
Consider the 2022 Oklahoma Sooners ample reason to reconsider that policy.
OU made a mockery of its archrival Texas, en route to a 16-1 win in Game 1 of the WCWS final and will try to secure national title No. 6 at 6:30 p.m. CT on Thursday.
The Sooners (58-3) suffocated the Longhorns from the start. Well, after OU got past a bases-loaded walk in the top of the first inning that gave Texas a brief 1-0 lead.
Then Jocelyn Alo homered.
As did Taylon Snow.
And Jana Johns.
And Tiare Jennings.
And Alo again.
And Jennings a second time for good measure.
Yes, OU’s six home runs is a single-game WCWS record. Its 16-1 win is the largest margin of victory in the championship series. And the Sooners have set a new scoring record over the Women’s College World Series with 54 runs.
As the Sooners ripped the Longhorns’ hopes of a Game 1 win to shreds, it was difficult not to think about OU’s 2019 trip to the championship series when a similar beatdown took place.
Grace Green, a freshman and All-America selection on that squad, certainly felt the déjà vu.
This time, however, it wasn’t her team on the receiving end of the rout.
“When we started scoring a lot of runs, yeah, it brings back those memories,” said Green, whose Sooners lost 16-3 to UCLA in Game 1 of the 2019 championship series.
“Just being on the other side of it feels a whole lot better.”
The Oakdale, California, native’s role has decidedly changed with the Sooners since she posted 61 hits, 54 RBI, 17 home runs and a .359 batting average in 2019. Green, now a senior, earned a starting spot as the offense’s designated player but after a few lineup and defensive shuffles over the past few seasons, she has become one of the most overqualified reserves in the country.
The transfer portal, she says, never entered her mind, even as her at bats decreased. She’s found strength through her faith, trusting if the opportunity presents itself, she’ll be competing for playing time next season as she plans to take advantage of her extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ultimately, this team is just stacked and with changing roles, it's really helped me find my true identity in Christ, which honestly has been a blessing,” Green said. “Regardless if that's how God was using it or not, that's how I'm gonna take it and just being able to try to be a really good teammate and use the opportunities that I do get.
“Hopefully, I just continue to work and get a starting spot again. But if not, then I'm just gonna stay the same and try to be the best teammate I can be and still work hard and do whatever I can to help the team.”
Green did receive a chance to help on Wednesday.
Pinch-hitting for Rylie Boone, Green hit an RBI groundout to bring across the Sooners’ 50th run of this year’s Women’s College World Series.
“To get that tonight,” Green said, “was just a big deal for me.”
It was just as big of a deal for her coach.
“It was good to see her come back that way,” Patty Gasso said. “She works hard. It's a stacked lineup. If you're not really in defense, it's hard to get into this lineup. I have a lot of great potential designated players, but that's [Jocelyn Alo’s] spot, so where do I feed these other players?
“Any time I can give that opportunity to Grace, I try to. We got some other freshmen in, as well, which is important for their experience going forward. So a lot of good things happened tonight."
“One of the real good ones was seeing Grace Green get that RBI.”