Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

June 13, 2013

The best — by far

Oklahoma’s softball team proved that few could hang with it during the 2013 championship run.

NORMAN — It began the way it ended: in utter dominance.

Keilani Ricketts threw the first of six no-hitters this season in a 6-0 victory over Stanford on Feb. 8. It was the first of Oklahoma’s 57 victories, and it came in the first of many examples of the Sooners’ supremacy.

It ended when Michelle Gascoigne shut out Tennessee on June 4, exactly a year after Oklahoma defeated Alabama in the opening game of the 2012 championship before losing the next two.

It was that experience that planted the seeds of the juggernaut to come. The Sooners redoubled their efforts in the offseason and came away from the experience a stronger and more experienced team. Gascoigne developed from a good pitcher to a great one. And Ricketts developed from a great one into one of the greatest.

The arrival in the fall of All-Pac 12 transfer Shelby Pendley — who went on to be named the Big 12 Player of the Year — was the final piece of the puzzle. And when OU took the field against Stanford in February and a week later was named the No. 1 team in the country — a designation the Sooners never lost — the pressure cooker that was the 2013 season was turned on. Especially on Ricketts, who was the last out of the 2012 season.

“After last year’s national championship game, it definitely gave us one of the most painful feelings I’m sure all of us have ever felt,” said Ricketts, who was named the USA Softball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. “It wasn’t our time. That just gave us so much drive and determination to get back to this moment. We knew that we were the favorite all year.”

They were the favorites for a reason. The Sooners rolled to a Big 12 title and didn’t lose in the postseason. They finished 57-4 and are the first team in more than 10 years to win a championship with fewer than five losses. They are one of just three teams to have a player win Player of the Year more than once. They are the only team to ever lead the NCAA in scoring, with 476 runs, as well as ERA, at 1.16. Lauren Chamberlain led the nation in home runs with 30, while Gascoigne led the country in ERA at 0.88.

Since the 4-0 victory over Tennessee earned OU its second nation title in program history and first in 13 years, the Sooners have been discussed as one of the greatest teams in softball history, and Ricketts has drawn praise as possibly one of the game’s best-ever all-around players.

Part of that praise has come from her coach, Patty Gasso, who has seen a lot of the game’s top players in her 19 years at the helm of the Sooners.

“I can’t compare her to anybody,” Gasso said after the Sooners’ title-clinching victory, talking to Ricketts as much as the audience. “Being able to work with her every day makes me know her a little bit more as well. So, to me, she is definitely one of the greatest of all time in this sport. This kid has been living with that for a while, and it’s been wearing on her. I think you can now say you are.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks