Oklahoma Sooners

Why Oklahoma Softball Can Win the WCWS in 2024

Oklahoma's Alyssa Brito (33) celebrates after an out during a softball game between the Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Florida State Seminoles during the first game of the Norman Super Regional in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, May 23, 2024. Oklahoma won on a run rule 11-3.

The field for the 2024 Women’s College World Series is as wide open as most of us can remember, with all eight teams having a legitimate reason why they could end up being the last one standing next week.

There are favorites in the field, of course, as regulars like Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Stanford are all making their second or third appearance in the last three years.

However, teams like Duke—who is making its first-ever appearance—offer quite a bit of mystery and intrigue. Alabama and Florida are no strangers to Oklahoma City, but their up-and-down performances throughout the year make it hard to discern what versions of those squads we will see.

 

At their best, every one of these teams is worthy of hoisting a national championship trophy, but a single slip-up could cause them to be headed home early.

This field is going to be hard to predict, and there’s enough evidence to make a case for almost any of the teams remaining in the field. So, let’s look at the case for Oklahoma.

Here are a few reasons why Oklahoma will become the first team to ever win four Women’s College World Series titles in a row.

Championship Experience

No team in the remaining field of eight teams has more experience at Hall of Fame Stadium (now known as Devon Park) than the Sooners do. Oklahoma’s class of seniors have done nothing but win national championships since they started playing as freshmen in 2021, and there is an incredible amount of value in that. In fact, that group of seniors has played nearly as many games in this stadium as they did at Love’s Field.

 

The core of Tiare Jennings, Jayda Coleman, Kinzie Hansen, Riley Boone, and Nicole May have been to this event three times with OU. Kelly Maxwell was here in each of the past three seasons with Oklahoma State and is back as a Sooner. Alyssa Brito has won two titles with Oklahoma. Plus, Patty Gasso has been here as much as anyone, and she’s led her team to national titles in five of the last seven years.

Offensive Firepower

It seems that there’s a stigma going around that Oklahoma’s lost its offensive potency this season, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, several of the Sooners’ best players have seen their averages fall a bit in 2024, but that’s likely more about the teams they faced being better this year than they have in seasons past. Even so, Oklahoma is still an elite offensive team that can light up a scoreboard at a moment’s notice. Take a look at their team statistics and where they rank nationally heading into this week.

  • Batting Average: .366 (2nd)
  • HR per Game: 1.83 (3rd)
  • On-Base Pct: .473 (1st)
  • Scoring: 8.05 (3rd)
  • Slugging Pct: .653 (2nd)
  • Walks Drawn: 314 (1st)

While the numbers are down marginally from what we’ve seen in recent years, there’s still not a more complete offense in the country than what the Sooners bring to the table.

 

Elite Defense

Over the past three seasons, we’ve seen the OU offense steal the spotlight as the Sooners set all kinds of records with incredible power at the plate and speed around the bases. However, the one mark of a Patty Gasso-coached team has always been elite defensive play. This year’s team is no different, as Oklahoma ranks second nationally with a .980 fielding percentage and just 30 errors in 60 games on the year.

There have been more balls put into play without Jordy Bahl this season, but OU’s “struggles” in the circle have been overstated as well. The Sooners rank sixth nationally with a team ERA of 1.85, and that’s also good enough for second among all WCWS teams.

In Super Regional play, OU made some spectacular defensive plays to keep Florida State from closing the gap in an elimination game, and those web geb-type moments have almost become the expectation in Norman. Oklahoma’s consistency and precision on defense are what have truly separated them from the other teams in recent years. While the offense has certainly played a major role in their success, OU’s defense has been the driving force in their recent run of championships.

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