McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Sports

February 8, 2013

OU started softball season in Phoenix

NORMAN — The road to the Women’s College World Series, and possibly the title that came so close a year ago, begins today for the Oklahoma softball team.

The Sooners open the season with a pair of games today at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix with the first coming at 10 a.m. against Stanford and the second at 3:30 p.m. against Oregon State.

The second-ranked Sooners are loaded this season after returning nearly everyone from last year’s team that came just a few innings short of a national title. That includes All-Americans in Lauren Chamberlain and Jessica Shults as well as Keilani Ricketts, the dominant pitcher who a year ago was named the USA Softball Player of the Year.

While the familiar names are the highlights, there are plenty of talented newcomers on the roster. Chief among those is sophomore Shelby Pendley, a first-team All-Pac 12 member last year at Arizona before transferring to OU.

Joining Pendley on the team for the first time is a talented freshmen class, with seven players all from Oklahoma who are expected to provide plenty of depth to the roster.

For coach Patty Gasso, entering her 19th season at OU, the biggest challenge is moving this team forward after a disappointing end to last season.

“They have a lot of unfinished business,” she said. “They still feel it inside and it’s not something you shake off. They had a hand on the trophy and they knew it.”

But while last season is still fresh in the minds of many of the Sooners, Gasso stressed that this is a different team than it was a year ago.

“We have a lot of returners but this is a new year,” she said. “The dynamic is different with so many freshmen and the addition of Shelby. We have to put last year behind us.”

Once again the Sooners will present a lineup among the most explosive in the country. Behind Chamberlain, who set a Big 12 single-season home run record with 30 last year, the Sooners have more power than ever before. Gasso called her the best hitter she’s ever seen and expects another big year. But the power doesn’t end there. Shults and Ricketts combined for 37 more home runs, and the incoming cast adds even more.

“The freshmen group has tremendous power,” Gasso said. “In batting practice more balls are on the other side of the fence than this side.”

With such a talented lineup, anything less than a national championship will be viewed by some as a disappointment. It’s a concept the Sooners are embracing, beginning at the top with Ricketts.

“It’s all about winning a championship this year,” she said. “It’s painful to think about how last year ended, but that’s even more motivation for us this season.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Media days hot topic, 'Final Four'

    Never have the words “Final Four” been used so often at a football media gathering.

    July 22, 2014

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg King James of Akron returns to his Cleveland Kingdom

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why North Korean cheerleaders may soon descend on the South

    When you think of North Korea, "cheerleaders" may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The Hermit Kingdom is perhaps better known for less savory things like gulag-like labor camps and leadership purges.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg U.S. loss on World Cup pitch was a win back home

    Exuberant fans - even those who couldn't tell you what offsides means - cheered on the U.S. men's national team during the World Cup in Brazil. Are those fans excited enough to keep watching soccer now that the United States has been eliminated?

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Baseball should reinstate Pete Rose

    There's no question that Pete Rose's credentials as a player qualify him for baseball's Hall of Fame. Now, 25 years after he was banished for gambling on games, Charlie Hustle should be allowed back in baseball, presumably to take his place in Cooperstown.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1065.jpg The end of 'Redskins?' Social media reacts to trademark cancellation

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the trademarks of the Washington Redskins on the basis that it is "disparaging to Native Americans.” Reaction to the decision was, predictably, divided and intense. Here is a sampling from Twitter and YouTube.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mexican drug lord arrested at World Cup

    Jose Diaz-Barajas, 49, was arrested at Rio de Janeiro's Tom Jobim airport Monday night as he boarded a plane to Fortaleza, where Mexico played Brazil Tuesday, Luiz Cravo Dorea, head of international cooperation at the Federal Police, said. The world soccer governing body, FIFA, had informed police that Diaz- Barajas, who was accompanied by his wife and two children, held tickets, Dorea said.

    June 20, 2014

  • Donald Sterling needs to go away

    Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Clippers owner Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

    June 19, 2014

  • Kevin Durant Kevin Durant’s grace period will end soon

    After his 7th season ended Saturday with the Thunder’s Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the grace period for Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant may soon be drawing to a close.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you agree with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.