Sunday, June 16, 2024

Oklahoma tops Texas for record 4th straight NCAA softball title

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  • Oklahoma players celebrate after they defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game...

    Oklahoma players celebrate after they defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series finals to win the national championship on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is a record fourth consecutive national title for the Sooners and the program’s eighth overall. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • Oklahoma players celebrate after they defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game...

    Oklahoma players celebrate after they defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series finals to win the national championship on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is a record fourth consecutive national title for the Sooners and the program’s eighth overall. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • Oklahoma’s Rylie Boone (0) holds the trophy after Oklahoma defeated...

    Oklahoma’s Rylie Boone (0) holds the trophy after Oklahoma defeated Texas in the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas watches Oklahoma celebrate after winning the NCAA Women’s College...

    Texas watches Oklahoma celebrate after winning the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Rylie Boone hoists the 2024 Women’s College World Series...

    Oklahoma’s Rylie Boone hoists the 2024 Women’s College World Series trophy after the Sooners defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game 2 of the WCWS finals on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is a record fourth consecutive national title for the Sooners and the program’s eighth overall. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • Oklahoma outfielder Rylie Boon holds the trophy after Oklahoma defeated...

    Oklahoma outfielder Rylie Boon holds the trophy after Oklahoma defeated Texas in the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma players celebrate after defeating Texas in the NCAA Women’s...

    Oklahoma players celebrate after defeating Texas in the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma players celebrate after defeating Texas in the NCAA Women’s...

    Oklahoma players celebrate after defeating Texas in the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma pitcher Kelly Maxwell (28) and catcher Kinzie Hansen (9)...

    Oklahoma pitcher Kelly Maxwell (28) and catcher Kinzie Hansen (9) celebrate by making confetti angels in the infield after they defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series finals to win the national championship on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is a record fourth consecutive national title for the Sooners and the program’s eighth overall. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings (23), Rylie Boone (0) and Avery Hodge...

    Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings (23), Rylie Boone (0) and Avery Hodge (82) celebrate the team’s 8-4 victory over Texas in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series championship series on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. The Sooners swept the best-of-three series to win their record fourth consecutive national title. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma players celebrate together in the outfield after they defeated...

    Oklahoma players celebrate together in the outfield after they defeated Texas, 8-4, in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series finals to win the national championship on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is a record fourth consecutive national title for the Sooners and the program’s eighth overall. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • The Oklahoma softball team poses for a photo after defeating...

    The Oklahoma softball team poses for a photo after defeating Texas, 8-4, in Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series finals to win the national championship on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is a record fourth consecutive national title for the Sooners and the program’s eighth overall. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • Oklahoma’s Karlie Keeney pitches against Texas during the second inning...

    Oklahoma’s Karlie Keeney pitches against Texas during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas’ Mac Morgan pitches against Oklahoma during the second inning...

    Texas’ Mac Morgan pitches against Oklahoma during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas infielder Viviana Martinez (23) throws to first after forcing...

    Texas infielder Viviana Martinez (23) throws to first after forcing out Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings (23) during the first inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Jayda Coleman (24) celebrates after a base hit against...

    Oklahoma’s Jayda Coleman (24) celebrates after a base hit against Texas during the first inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma fans cheer during the first inning of Game 2...

    Oklahoma fans cheer during the first inning of Game 2 of the team’s NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series against Texas on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Karlie Keeney pitches against Texas during the second inning...

    Oklahoma’s Karlie Keeney pitches against Texas during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma infielder Avery Hodge (82) misses the tag as Texas’...

    Oklahoma infielder Avery Hodge (82) misses the tag as Texas’ Reese Atwood (14) slides to second base during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas’ Mac Morgan (55) pitches against Oklahoma during the second...

    Texas’ Mac Morgan (55) pitches against Oklahoma during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas outfielder Kayden Henry runs into the outfield wall on...

    Texas outfielder Kayden Henry runs into the outfield wall on a hit by Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito (33) celebrates a double against Texas during...

    Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito (33) celebrates a double against Texas during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito celebrates after a double against Texas during...

    Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito celebrates after a double against Texas during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas head coach Mike White watches the team play against...

    Texas head coach Mike White watches the team play against Oklahoma during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering celebrates a home run against Texas during...

    Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering celebrates a home run against Texas during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering, center, celebrates as she runs the bases...

    Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering, center, celebrates as she runs the bases after hitting a home run during the second inning of Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series championship series against Texas on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. The Sooners won, 8-4, to sweep the best-of-three series and win their record fourth consecutive national title. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering runs the bases after hitting a two-run...

    Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning of Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series finals on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

  • Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering (7) celebrates her home run against Texas...

    Oklahoma’s Kasidi Pickering (7) celebrates her home run against Texas during the second inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso talks to the team between innings...

    Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso talks to the team between innings in Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series against Texas on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma starting pitcher Karlie Keeney (8) and infielder Avery Hodge...

    Oklahoma starting pitcher Karlie Keeney (8) and infielder Avery Hodge (82) high-five between innings against Texas during Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Cydney Sanders (1) celebrates after tagging out Texas’ Mia...

    Oklahoma’s Cydney Sanders (1) celebrates after tagging out Texas’ Mia Scott (10) at first base during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma won 8-4. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Cydney Sanders (1) celebrates after tagging out Texas’ Mia...

    Oklahoma’s Cydney Sanders (1) celebrates after tagging out Texas’ Mia Scott at first base during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas’ Citlaly Gutierrez (77) pitches against Oklahoma during the sixth...

    Texas’ Citlaly Gutierrez (77) pitches against Oklahoma during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito gestures after being walked by Texas during...

    Oklahoma’s Alyssa Brito gestures after being walked by Texas during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Ella Parker singles against Texas during the sixth inning...

    Oklahoma’s Ella Parker singles against Texas during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Ella Parker (5) celebrates with Jayda Coleman (24) after...

    Oklahoma’s Ella Parker (5) celebrates with Jayda Coleman (24) after reaching second base during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series against Texas on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma won 8-4. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Jayda Coleman singles against Texas during the sixth inning...

    Oklahoma’s Jayda Coleman singles against Texas during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma’s Kelly Maxwell (28) pitches against Texas during the seventh...

    Oklahoma’s Kelly Maxwell (28) pitches against Texas during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma utility Alyssa Brito gestures during the seventh inning of...

    Oklahoma utility Alyssa Brito gestures during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the team’s NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series against Texas on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Fans enter the stadium for Game 2 of the NCAA...

    Fans enter the stadium for Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series between Oklahoma and Texas on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas players greet fans before Game 2 of the team’s...

    Texas players greet fans before Game 2 of the team’s NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series against Oklahoma on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Texas pitcher Mac Morgan greets fans before Game 2 of...

    Texas pitcher Mac Morgan greets fans before Game 2 of the team’s NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series against Oklahoma on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso, right, and Texas coach Mike White...

    Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso, right, and Texas coach Mike White meet before Game 2 of the NCAA Women’s College World Series softball championship series Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY — Patty Gasso’s Oklahoma Sooners have done it again.

Oklahoma slugged its way to a record fourth straight NCAA softball title, getting a go-ahead, bases-clearing double from Cydney Sanders and beating Texas, 8-4, on Thursday night for a two-game sweep of the Women’s College World Series championship.

The Sooners won their eighth title overall (their seventh since 2013), all under Coach Gasso, and moved into a tie with Arizona for the second-most World Series championships behind UCLA’s 12.

Jayda Coleman, Tiare Jennings (Long Beach’s St. Anthony High), Kinzie Hansen (Norco High), Rylie Boone and pitcher Nicole May were significant contributors to each of the Sooners’ past four championship teams.

“They’ve cemented this program in history,” Gasso said. “They’ve cemented themselves in history. History can change, but these guys will never, ever be forgotten.”

The Sooners felt the pressure along the way.

“‘Heavy is a head that wears the crown’ is the one thing that really stuck out,” Gasso said. “I heard someone say that. That really has felt true. It’s been exhausting. These players are exhausted, but they keep going.”

Kelly Maxwell, an Oklahoma State transfer, was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player. The graduate student went 3-0 with a save at the World Series, allowing seven earned runs in 27 innings.

She was criticized for transferring to Oklahoma State’s biggest rival, but she feels it was worth it.

“I received a lot of hate, a lot of doubt,” Maxwell said. “But I’m just thankful for these girls and this team and this staff, just to pick me up and have my back.”

Second-seeded Oklahoma (59-7) scored eight runs in each of the two games against top-seeded Texas and pounded 21 hits total against a Longhorns team that came in having thrown three consecutive one-hit shutouts in the World Series.

“Congratulations to the University of Oklahoma on their fourth championship in a row,” Texas coach Mike White said. “It’s an incredible feat. We know how tough it is just to get here, let alone win four. It’s an amazing achievement.”

Kasidi Pickering hit a two-run homer in the second inning for the Sooners, and Ella Parker (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High) had a two-run single in the sixth that padded Oklahoma’s lead. Gasso used five pitchers, with Maxwell getting the last four outs for the save a day after her complete game victory in Game 1.

Karlie Keeney got the start for Oklahoma, followed by Paytn Monticelli, Kierston Deal, May and Maxwell. Deal worked the fourth and was credited with the win.

Mac Morgan, who threw a one-hitter against Florida earlier in the World Series, started Game 2 against Oklahoma and gave up two runs on five hits in two innings. Estelle Czech took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in two innings.

Texas (55-10) still hasn’t won a national title. The Longhorns lost to the Sooners in the 2022 championship series. This year, Texas won the Big 12 regular-season title, but Oklahoma beat the Longhorns in the Big 12 Tournament.

Both programs are leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference next season.

“Texas always makes us better,” Gasso said. “I think that we could both agree that we do that for each other. That’s how we get here. That’s why we’re looking at each other on the national championship stage.”

Freshman Kayden Henry had two hits for Texas and drove in the Longhorns’ first run.

A baserunning mistake by Texas’ Mia Scott ended the Longhorns’ chance of tying the game or taking the lead in the sixth inning. Scott’s two-out, RBI infield single got Texas within 5-4 and advanced Ashton Maloney to third base, but Scott went too far rounding first. Oklahoma second baseman Avery Hodge flipped the ball to first baseman Sanders, who tagged Scott out before she could get back.

“It was huge,” Maxwell said. “I mean, they definitely had the momentum in that moment. … I saw Mia Scott kind of come off the bag. I was just telling Avery, ‘Turn around, turn around, let’s get her, c’mon.’ She finally heard me. We got it done.”

Two innings earlier, Hodge’s fielding error allowed Texas to take a 3-2 lead.

Texas could learn from the experience. White has a young team that he expects to return to the World Series.

“As I told the team, I want to be on the other side of the podium here one of the these days making that last speech more enjoyable than it is right now,” he said.

“This moment feels like history. It feels poetic. It feels like a storybook.”@kinziehansen to @michellachester on the emotional ending to her incredible career at @OU_Softball.#WCWS pic.twitter.com/7BGAXossFj

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

“The bond that we have…Enjoying each other’s presence bleeds out to good culture on the field.”@_tiarejennings with @michellachester on how this team accomplished four-straight titles together.#WCWS x @OU_Softball pic.twitter.com/4oQYGmy7Ou

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

“A lot of lives were changed this year — there were hard times that we fought through and there were wonderful times, but tonight was the most fun I’ve ever had as a coach.”@GassoPatty tries to sum up the 4-peat and the legacy of the senior class to @michellachester.#WCWS pic.twitter.com/jDNRYupMoS

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

“Playing everything I have to give was for these seniors.”@PickeringKasidi tells @michellachester what it meant to play such a big role in the 4-peat for the Sooners, and what’s still to come for @OU_Softball.#WCWS pic.twitter.com/6PRBLrHubo

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

“I’m just so grateful for Sooner Nation.” 👏@OU_Softball players thank fans after a fourth-straight #WCWS title. pic.twitter.com/Q7nr3a4MAe

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

The 2024 #WCWS All-Tournament Team 🤩 pic.twitter.com/5OBnyinRdo

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

FOUR-PEAT COMPLETE 🏆🏆🏆🏆#WCWS x 🎥 ESPN / @OU_Softball pic.twitter.com/Pu5TYx2Msh

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

SEE YA LATER 💣#WCWS x 🎥 ESPN / @OU_Softball pic.twitter.com/9PJmAzK8g9

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

SPEEDY SOONERS FOR THE LEAD ⚡️#WCWS x 🎥 ESPN / @OU_Softball pic.twitter.com/JnXEeNNjmH

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

The Sooners create some separation in the sixth! 💥#WCWS x 🎥 ESPN / @OU_Softballpic.twitter.com/JsarJZgM9l

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 7, 2024

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