By CLAY HORNING
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Quick, come up with a name for it, because Oklahoma and Tennessee just played the best dad-gum game in the history of the sport.
Quick, because if anybody has any sense, it’ll be on ESPN Classic at 3 p.m. today, ending just in time to flip over to the mother ship for the first pitch of tonight’s game, Game 2 of the best two-of-three WCWS championship series to crown a national champion.
Quick, because it deserves something.
You’ve got the Miracle on Ice, the Music City Miracle, the Game of the Century and the Greatest Game Ever Played. And you’ve got Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, the Carlton Fisk home run game, but you had to think about it, right?
So, please, come up with a name.
One of those games was more important, historically, than what happened Monday night at Hall of Fame Stadium, but none of them were better games.
Nobody scored any runs for 10 innings — 10 innings!
Then Tennessee scored three in the top of the 11th. Then OU answered with three in the bottom half, mostly thanks to a pair of two-out extra base hits from Destinee Martinez and Callie Parsons, maybe because the Sooners not only claim Destinee, but are a team of destiny, too.
Finally, coming up in the bottom of the 12th, Brianna Turang was all set to be the hero, hitting a chopper over third base, a double that barely left the infield, because she’s the best baserunner you’d ever want to see, just as long as her coach doesn’t give her a stop sign in the third inning with two outs, which could have saved everybody five innings and about 90 minutes (but also robbed them of the best game in the history of the sport, so maybe it’s better Patty Gasso inexplicably had her best and fastest runner stop at third base after Lauren Chamberlain smashed a double to the left-center field wall).
Then Chamberlain, next up, trumped the best and fastest baserunner you’d ever want to see by clubbing another smash, this one down the left-field line and out of the park for her third home run since this World Series began, giving the Sooners their impossible 5-3 victory.
Maybe today we find out the greatest game in the history of the sport was also the most watched game in the history of the sport.
Maybe today the Sooners finally claim the program’s second national championship 13 years after they won the first one and seven World Series trips after they won the first one.
Anyway, it’s hard to see how Tennessee comes back from this loss. It’s hard to see how the Lady Vols have any miracles left.
They’d gotten to Keilani Ricketts for exactly one hit in 10 innings before they got an infield hit from Kat Dotson, a line drive single from Lauren Gibson and a three-run jack to straightaway center field from Madison Shipman.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Tennessee seemed to have slayed the unslayable dragon that is OU, the most dominating combination of pitching and hitting the college game’s ever seen.
Yet in the bottom half, the impossible became possible when Gibson, the Lady Vol second baseman, misplayed a Ricketts pop-up into the kindest one-out double ever awarded by an official scorer.
It became something to quit writing about and start watching again when Brittany Williams pounded a double to right-center field that made it 3-1. And after Jessica Shults grounded out, it became a novel possibility when Martinez slapped a triple to the center-field wall. Then it became just plain surreal when Parsons tied it up with another drive to the wall.
Chamberlain’s home run was almost a come-down from everything that happened only a few minutes earlier.
On the other hand, something had to put a bow on the best game in the history of the sport and it might as well have been a two-run home run from the nation’s top slugger.
So quick, come up with a name for what happened Monday night at Hall of Fame Stadium.
History demands it.
Something to remember.
This game was too good to forget.