All season long it felt like an inevitability that the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma softball would lift the trophy once again. Patty Gasso would win her sixth championship and the Home Run Queen, Jocelyn Alo, would ride off into the sunset.
While the flight to the title was paved with run-rule victories and sheer dominance, this all-time team still had some trials and tribulations along the way. Though every bit of adversity seemed to be met with a counter punch that would bloody its lip. Oklahoma dominated its peers and made it look easy.
Oklahoma finished with an overall record of 59-3 placing the Sooners squarely in the conversation of the greatest softball team of all time.
Scratch that. This Oklahoma softball team has cemented itself as the greatest team of all time. Oklahoma softball is one of the greatest dynasties in American sports right now, having won five of the last nine national titles.
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 10, 2022
The sheer domination
Oklahoma outscored their foes 579 to 65 this season. The average score in the Sooners’ games has been 9.5-1. Oklahoma averages a run-rule win per game. The Sooners led the nation in scoring, home runs, batting average, shutouts, and team ERA.
Head coach Patty Gasso’s power-laden lineup hit a whopping 155 home runs, which ranks third all-time behind last year’s Sooner squad and 2010 Hawaii. Oklahoma set a multiple NCAA records this season.
The Sooners had the most wins ever recorded by run-rule at 40, they had the best start to a season ever at 38-0. They scored the most runs ever in the WCWS championship series game and they beat both Texas and UCLA by 15 runs the largest margin of victory in WCWS history.
The six-time national champions defeated Texas A&M 20-0 in the regional round, the largest margin of victory in postseason history. The Sooners had five All-Americans and Jocelyn Alo won her second straight National Player of the Year award. In addition, freshman ace Jordy Bahl was National Freshman of the year.
Oklahoma’s best player, Jocelyn Alo, became the only player in NCAA history to hit 30 or more homers in three different seasons. She of course is the owner of the career home-run record at 122 dingers. Former Oklahoma great Lauren Chamberlain is the closest to that total with 95. If you removed the 2020 season stats for Alo, which that were canceled after 24 contests, she would still own the record at 114.
Alo also is the only player to ever bat .500 with 30 home runs and 80 RBI ( .515-34-85, respectively). If that isn’t a case for the Sooner slugger being the greatest hitter in the history of softball.
— ESPN (@espn) June 10, 2022
How could it be possible for a team that was so dominant to face adversity? Certainly, there is some adversity in the loss to UCLA, in which you now have to win or go home. Objectively, however, OU placed itself in that situation due to strategy, because the games were played back-to-back. Gasso held her ace, Hope Trautwein, for the possible second contest. But the Sooners did punch adversity in the teeth, routing UCLA 15-0, much like they did the other adversity through the year.
Adversity started for the team early on when all-world catcher Kenzie Hansen began suffering from some undisclosed injuries. Hansen is one of the best players in the nation when healthy and easily the game’s best catcher. She struggled much of the year to have the same impact with her bat that she had in 2021, when she hit 24 dingers. Lynnsie Elam had to step up and did so in a major way, and in the second game of the WCWS championship series, Kinzie did nail a three run blast in what might have been OU’s most important at-bat of the year.
Unexpectedly, Mackenzie Donihoo was dealing with personal issues and struggled at the plate. She did not play much despite being expected going into the season to be one of the team’s major contributors. Ultimately, she entered the transfer portal and was a virtual non-factor for the Sooners.
Then, in the Big 12 Tournament, Jordy Bahl, the team’s best pitcher got hurt and was unable to play much at all the rest of the way. For most teams, that amount of adversity would typically derail their season, but not Oklahoma. Adversity has a saying that when Oklahoma happens it needs to find a way to pick itself up.
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 10, 2022
The final legacy
The 2022 Oklahoma Sooners softball team is the greatest team in the history of the game. They were complete in every phase of the game, including fielding elite defenders. Like the sure-gloved Jana Johns, and the greatest shortstop in the sport Grace Lyons.
Oklahoma hit for average and power on the strength of the greatest hitting duo in the history of the sport in Jocelyn Alo and Tiare Jennings. The Sooners had the best pitching staff in the nation, shutting out opponents in 33 games. OU run-ruled so many opponents that it shaved the equivalent of nearly 10 total games off of the schedule. The Sooners had an incredible all-time caliber team a season ago, but this team was on a whole other level.
Oklahoma will certainly be losing incredible players. Alo, Trautwein, Elam, Johns and Taylon Snow. The loss of these players cannot be understated. In addition, Lyons and Grace Green have decisions to make regarding whether or not they will take advantage of the extra season of eligibility granted by Covid19.
However it all turns out, Oklahoma returns all of the other major contributors to this roster and adds more elite players in recruiting, like LHP Ella Parker. Returning players Hannah Coor, Sophia, and Turiya Coleman are highly anticipated freshmen who have played a limited role to this point. Oklahoma will likely be preseason No. 1 and the favorite to win again in 2023. The Sooners don’t rebuild, they reload.