The University of Oklahoma Women’s Softball Team Completed the Four-Peat By Jon Benton

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

In any sport winning back-to-back championships is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. In Women’s college softball, this has been done more often than you might think. However, to take it to the next level and win a championship back-to-back-to-back takes a special kind of team. That is what the University of Oklahoma Lady Sooners Softball team did. Which put them in the rarified air that only a select few teams in any sport have accomplished.

As the 2024 college softball season began in early February in Norman, Oklahoma, the members of the softball team, coach Patty Gasso, and her small coaching staff, which includes hitting coach JT Gasso, yes, he is her son. Her pitching coach Jennifer Rocha, a former all-America pitcher with the Sooners, leads a talented staff of pitchers, including, All-American senior Kelly Maxwell.

As the season opener was fast approaching the players and coaches had one singular focus, the ultimate prize at the end of the season; hoisting the National Championship Trophy. What will make that feat extra special this year is that when it happens they will become the only Women’s College softball team to have ever won back-to-back-to-back-to-back championships in the game of women’s college softball.

As you probably could imagine heading into the 2024 season the Sooners would be playing with a huge target on their backs. They started the season with a 53-game win streak dating back to February of 2023. The Lady Sooners were led by a group of ultra-talented athletes that included 10 college seniors and four of them were part of the first three national championship teams.

This year’s team would be led by the five “Super Seniors”; Center Fielder, Jayda Coleman, Shortstop Tiare Jennings, Left fielder Riley Boone, Catcher Kinzie Hanson, and starting Pitcher Nicole May. What makes them super in this context is that they were all part of each of the previous championship teams since coming to OU as freshmen.

Unfortunately, the Sooners had to replace several key players who had major roles in last season’s National Championship including two of their best pitchers. With the departure of Jordie Bahl and the graduation of Alex Storako, the Sooners were going to have to figure out who was going to be their go-to starters. One of the questions was answered when former Oklahoma State star pitcher decided to leave and join the Sooners. Between Nicole May and Kelly Maxwell and a couple of underclassmen pitchers, the Sooners were able to get the job done in the circle.

They started the 2024 season on a hot streak and extended their unbeaten streak to 71 games, until they suffered their very first loss on March 3 against the University of Louisiana. They shattered the previous record and it is a feat that will likely stand for a very long time. It also surpasses the school record for wins in a row of 47 set by the Sooner football team.

They would go on to lose a total of 6 more games spread out throughout the remaining schedule. However, when it came down to the postseason; Regionals, Super Regionals, and Women’s College World Series. The Sooners saved the best for last and ran through the postseason en route to the ultimate prize.

While the OU Lady Sooners Softball team was a senior-heavy team, they were definitely helped by several strong underclassmen. The two most notable are both freshmen Kasidy Pickering and Ella Parker. Ella Parker finished the season with 13 HRs, 62 RBIs, and an astonishing batting average of .415. Kasidy Pickering had equally amazing stats in her freshmen season at OU; 12 HRs, 51 RBIs, and finished the season batting .389.

Without a doubt, the Lady Sooners are one of the most well-rounded teams in the country. They don’t just rely on team offense to win games, they also have one of the best defenses in all of college softball. Coach Patty Gasso and Pitching Coach (associate head coach) Jen Rocha have put together an amazing group of pitchers. They are led by two seniors Kelly Maxwell and Nicole May and bolstered by some of the best young pitchers in college softball.

But what has made them go is the four “Super Seniors” Jayda Coleman (team spiritual leader), Tiare Jennings, Kinzie Hanson, and Riley Boone. The four of them put up some amazing stats, hitting a combined 50 HRs, 178 RBIs, and batting an average of just under .400 as a group.

Hanson   HR 11 RBI 41 .400

Coleman HR 13 RBI 44 .385

Jennings HR 25 RBI 69 .370

Boone     HR 1   RBI 24 .410

Despite the fact that this is such a senior-laden team you can bet the farm that Head Coach Patty Gasso (30 years at OU) will just simply reload with players and once again be ready to start a new chapter of OU Women’s softball playing in the SEC,

Hats off to the 2024 University Of Oklahoma Women’s Softball team for winning it all for a record-breaking fourth consecutive season. While records are indeed made to be broken, I am willing to bet this is one of those records that just might last for many more decades to come.

 

Jon Is a 58-year-old US Navy veteran living in Oklahoma, OK for the past 30 years. He is  married to his high school sweetheart and they have three adult children. He is heavily into politics, the Detroit Lions, and the Oklahoma Sooners (BOOMER SOONER BABY). Jon is an IT Support Specialist by day and a professional writer by night. He has been writing online for the better part of 30 years and much of it for other people. He is now getting credit for his writing!

Read Jon’s writing here.