McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 5, 2013

'Oklahoma Strong", Sooner's wear stickers in support of tornado victim

By CLAY HORNING
CNHI

McALESTER — Oklahoma and the other seven teams at the Women’s College World Series have gone out of their way to connect with victims of recent tornadoes. Before the series began, several teams donated time or money to the cause and the Sooners spent time volunteering at local drop-off locations. At the tournament, they’ve worn “Oklahoma Strong” stickers on their helmets, while “One Moore” was the rallying cry before the final game.

They took it a step farther on Tuesday.

Before the game began, tournament officials presented a game ball to Bring It ‘04, the youth softball team that 9-year-old Sydney Angle played on before being killed at Plaza Tower Elementary on May 20th. Her sister Casey has also served as OU’s batgirl this postseason.

The ball was signed by each of the head coaches of every team at the series, and the youth squad was honored in a brief presentation before the first pitch. The team also led the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the fifth-inning stretch, and they were near the field as the Sooners wrapped up a national championship two innings later.

“We were playing for more than ourselves,” coach Patty Gasso said. “There were a lot of people we wanted to give pride to and make happy.”

Six Sooners made the all-tournament team

While Ricketts was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, five other Sooners joined her on the all-tournament team.

Those players were sophomores Lauren Chamberlain, Georgia Casey and Callie Parsons, as well as seniors Brianna Turang and Jessica Shults.

Defensive gems for both teams

Both teams threatened to score early, but a pair of web gems kept the game scoreless headed into the third inning.

The first came in the top of half of the inning as the Sooners threatened to get on the board. Destinee Martinez singled to left field and looked like she would advance to third when Jessica Vest hit a hard single in between first and second base. But Tennessee’s Lauren Gibson made a diving grab at second base and fired from her knees to nail Vest at first and end the inning.

The Sooners returned the favor in the bottom half, when Melissa Davin hit a shallow fly ball into centerfield with a runner on second. But Destinee Martinez charged the ball and made a terrific sliding grab to earn the out and prevent the runner from advancing. Michelle Gascoigne followed that up with a strikeout to end the inning.

Chamberlain sets career mark

If a walk-off home run in the first game of the championship series wasn’t enough, Lauren Chamberlain set another mark on Tuesday when she singled in the third inning.

The hit was her 16th game in a row with one, good enough to set a career-best streak.

Pendley breaks slump

After a nightmare start to her World Series, OU sophomore Shelby Pendley finally broke out on Tuesday night.

In her first World Series appearance, Pendley had just one hit through the first four games. But she changed that in the title game, going 2 for 3 with a double off the wall.