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OU softball fights back, earns bid to WCWS championship series

Bob Przybyloby:Bob Przybylo06/04/24

BPrzybylo

OKLAHOMA CITY – OU softball head coach Patty Gasso has said a lot of things a lot of times throughout the 2024 season.

But No. 1? Her club is a team of fighters. And they had to fight, every pitch, every at-bat, every inning against an outstanding Florida team in a winner-take-all showdown at the Women’s College World Series.

You want to make history and win a fourth consecutive national championship? You were going to have to blow-for-blow with the Gators.

The final blow, though? Struck by OU. In a game for the ages, it was Jayda Coleman who got to play hero. Coleman with the walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth for the dramatic 6-5 victory.

Both teams showed the heart of a champion. Back and forth. Getting out of one jam and getting out of another. Kelly Maxwell and Keagan Rothrock, no give, no blinking from either.

If OU didn’t have the fight in it, it could have been over early. Former Sooner Jocelyn Erickson got the ball rolling early with a two-run home run in the top of the first.

But the Sooners did. Freshman Ella Parker responding with a two-run shot of her own in the bottom of the first.

Nobody said Florida wasn’t going to fight back, either. The Gators kept coming with the long ball. But OU, again, kept punching back.

Down 5-2, Cydney Sanders crushed a two-run home run to dead center in the bottom of the fourth. Sanders smashed one in the second inning long gone but foul. Oh, she straightened this one out just fine.

If there was no fight, Kelly Maxwell wouldn’t have still been in the circle after allowing a season-high three home runs and five earned runs.

Maxwell threw all eight innings, 148 pitches, four hits, five walks and eight strikeouts. As gutty as a performance as you’ll find.

The fight was, obviously, there. And because of that, the fight continues. OU and Texas, no better way to wrap up the softball season.

The best-of-three begins Wednesday night.

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