Big 12 Sports Articles

Despite Senior Losses, Future Remains Bright for Oklahoma Sooners Softball

The OU softball team finished its season at the Super Regionals in the Women’s Collegiate World Series. Even though the Sooners were defeated by Alabama twice in the ‘Best of 3’, Oklahoma was able to finish with NCAA records that show their true talent.

Three Sooners were named All-Americans after this past season, which makes Oklahoma one of nine schools with at least three athletes honored, according to Sooner Sports.

Two Oklahoma seniors, Lauren Chamberlain INF and Shelby Pendley OF, were named to the list this season. Chamberlain has been named an All-American athlete all four years of her career at Oklahoma. Chamberlain joins former Sooner Keilani Ricketts as the only members of the OU softball team to be named All-Americans all four years, according to a Sooner Sports article.

Chamberlain was named to the All-American First Team during 2012, 2013 and 2015 but in 2014 was named to the Third Team due to knee and back injuries.

Chamberlain also currently holds the NCAA All-Time Home Run Record. The record was previously held for 13 years by UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman. Chamberlain stepped in at a pivotal point against the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas at the end of April, and pushed past Nuveman who held the record at 90 home runs.

Chamberlain added 23 home runs this past season, she had 62 walks, .589 on-base percentage, 11 doubles, four triples and stole eight bases while playing 56 out of 58 total games in the 2014-15 season, according to a Sooner Sports article.

While Chamberlain is the popular softball name in Norman, there is another senior that has been a part of the team’s success.

Pendley was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and becomes only the eighth Sooner to be named an All-American three times. Pendley joins four other Oklahoma softball players that have been named to the First Team All-American list multiple times.

Pendley, according to the Sooner Sports website, is fifth in home runs, sixth in homers per game at about .44, seventh in slugging at a percentage of .95, 10th in runs per game at 1.20 and 17th in runs batted in.

Although it’s mainly seniors that stand out, there are up and coming stars that are already making waves.

Freshman left-hand pitcher Paige Parker started out her first season with the Sooners with a fast pace but nevertheless, full of success.

Parker was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Freshman of the Year, according to a Sooner Sports article. She also was named to the All-American Second Team, which makes her the first freshman to be given the honor since Lauren Chamberlain in 2012.

Parker made 42 appearances this past season with 31 starts and a 1.65 run average. Parker, according to Sooner Sports, had 9 solo shutouts, combined with 6 others and made 6 saves in relief.

Parker also threw four perfect games this season, she joins two other players in softball, University of Louisiana Lafayette (1994) and Boston University’s Audrey West (1994) that have had four perfect games during their career.

In addition, Parker is the 16th player in Division I history to have 4 perfect games in her career but 2015 is her first season.

As well as being honored as the NFCA Freshman of the Year, Parker was honored with Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year. She becomes the fourth player to have earned both of those honors in one season.

On April 14, Parker was named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week and NFCA National Pitcher of the Week after OU dominated a weekend in Austin. OU swept UT by going 2-0, with Parker getting a save and striking out 21 batters without giving up a single run.

While there have been many players that have been integral to softball at OU, the future is bright for those that remain on the team. There are 5 seniors that ended their career this past season, but the future of the team is in good hands if Parker continues her current success.

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