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OU softball notebook: Ella Parker down but not out, provides spark for Sooners

Bob Przybyloby:Bob Przybylo06/04/24

BPrzybylo

OKLAHOMA CITY – Nothing surprises OU softball head coach Patty Gasso about her two incredibly talented freshmen.

All season, Kasidi Pickering and Ella Parker have come through with clutch hit and clutch hit. But what Parker did against Florida goes a little beyond that.

Staggered, rocked and dazed but never out of it. Parker came up huge for OU in a dramatic 6-5 victory against Florida in eight innings Tuesday afternoon at OGE Field at Devon Park.

The Sooners will play No. 1 Texas in the best-of-three championship series, beginning 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.

“My teammates got my back, and I know everything that we’re all for each other,” Parker said. “I guess that’s what drives me, is doing everything for my team. That came in today, so… Love everything about them.”

Parker started the game with a bang, delivering a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. A very necessary response after Florida had taken a 2-0 lead.

Then in the fifth, though, was a scary moment. Parker collided with Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace as Parker was attempting to head to second for a double.

Both players were laid out and were on the ground for a period of time. Both got up and returned to the game.

“She was talking, but she didn’t want to move,” Gasso said. “I think her bell was rung pretty hard. It was a little bit scary because she’s pretty tough. She just did not want to move. First thing you’re like, did something really happen?

“She started to move around a little bit. We took her helmet off. She slowly got herself up. Her bell was rung. Both got hit pretty hard.  But we had our doctors right here in the dugout waiting to see her, gave her the okay. She passed all of the protocols, all the tests for concussion protocols.”

Gasso asked if Parker was OK, you know the response. Parker was back out there. The freshman came through with another massive hit. This time around, it was an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 5-5.

Under the radar moment with Hodge

And who did Parker bring home with that single? Avery Hodge.

Talking about someone embracing their moment when their number is called, that has been Hodge the last two days.

Alynah Torres’ status remains to be determined with her eye injury. However, Hodge has been ready. And she ripped a double down the right field line to set the stage for Parker.

“But she’s been waiting for this moment. She practices hard,” Gasso said. “She does everything right at practice. Just waiting for her name to be called a little more often. She showcased herself big-time today. I don’t think anybody was expecting that rope down the line that turned into a double. She had really, really big-time hits for us the last couple of days.

“Alynah is sitting there doing the best she can. We’re trying to play for her and get her back on the field. This girl has been waiting her whole life. These guys are waiting their life to be in this position. So hopefully we get a dose of Alynah as well. But Avery has gotten that opportunity, made the most of it. Really helped our team win today.”

Hodge, however, was 2-for-4 with a run scored for OU.

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