The Shining Stars at OKC

After a year long absence, the Women’s College World Series returned to Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. Through blistering heat and intense competition, these young women put on a show. James Madison, Alabama, Florida State, and Oklahoma made up the final four.

James Madison was looking to make history as the first unseeded team to make it to the championship series. An improbable run lead by outstanding pitching from Odicci Alexander. Her final pitch count was 1,057 and up until she was taken out during the elimination game against Oklahoma, she had pitched every inning for the Dukes. Her teammates helped by making clutch plays in the field and getting important hits consistently from Sarah Jubas and Kate Gordon. They gave Oklahoma a run for their money in the series, but ultimately a powerful batting order and the loss of Alexander’s command did them in. Alexander rose to national stardom. There is some hope that she is invited to compete on the Olympic team as she left the pitching circle to a standing ovation to JMU and OU fans. Alabama also relied heavily on pitching and Montana Fouts delivered to get them into the final four. She pitched a perfect game on her 21st birthday against UCLA. Big hits from Bailey Hemphill, Jenna Johnson, and Kaylee Tow helped propel the Crimson Tide over the 2019 champs and UCLA softball great Rachel Garcia, who will be playing in the Olympics. The Bama bats rallied late but couldn’t top Florida State.

With strong pitching, offense, and defense on each side, the final showdown was set up to be a great way to close out the season. Florida State took game one thanks to strong pitching from Danielle Watson, well timed steals, and hits from pretty much everyone. Kalei Harding got a critical home run and double while Joise Muffley, Kaley Mudge, Emily Mason, and Sydney Sherrill added big hits for the Seminoles. Mudge was also in on the steals and only became a regular starter during the tournament. The Sooners were able to win game two and break the all time single season homerun record thanks to Jocelyn Alo, which was her 33rd on the year. It’s only fitting that Alo is from Hawaii, and that is who set the original record back in 2010. A moment that seemed like it was scripted. The Sooners also broke every other single season category over the course of the tournament. The homerun by Jada Johns got them going after a shell shocked start and was followed by hits from freshman of the year Tiare Jennings, Nicole Mendes, Jayda Coleman, and Mackenzie Donihoo. Donihoo also burst onto the scene late and had two very important homeruns during the prior series and an amazing catch in right field in game two of the world series. The Mustang, Oklahoma native brought immense passion and energy instantly becoming the favorite of the home crowd.

Ultimately, Oklahoma captured the series and the championship with a 5-1 win. Pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez was lights out as she pitched the whole game and caught the game sealing out. Alo got another homerun as did Coleman, and catcher Kenzie Jensen deserves a huge shout out for her efforts behind the plate and as a power hitter during the whole tournament. She was behind the plate for every almost every pitch but got a small break in game three due to the 101 degree weather, at times she also shifted to first base. The 2021 Sooner’s captured their fifth championship and due to the records they broke, they now hold the mantle for the best team in history.

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