Now only Goliath stands in the way of the No. 14 Texas Longhorns and the school’s first-ever softball national championship.
At 57-3, the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners have been dominant all season, recording a record 40 run-rule victories over outmatched opponents behind the pitching of North Texas transfer Hope Trautwein, who grew up a Texas fan, and the slugging of designated player Jocelyn Alo, who is hitting .506 with 32 home runs. The defending champions are looking for the school’s sixth softball championship
But don’t count out these scrappy Longhorns in Oklahoma City — they’ve made the Women’s College World Series championship series for the first time in school history the hard way. Unseeded in the NCAA Tournament, head coach Mike White’s team has faced elimination games at every step along this magical run. In the Seattle Regional. In the Fayetteville Super Regional. And three times in the WCWS, including twice in Monday, which featured a 6-5 comeback victory against No. 6 Oklahoma State and its ace, Kelly Maxwell, as Texas overcame a 5-0 deficit.
They’ve faced doubters before — and those six elimination games — and they’re still standing as the only unseeded team to ever make the finals.
“Thank you to everyone that supported us when we went 0-5 in Clearwater (in February) and was down bad,” catcher Mary Iakopo said. “Thank you to everyone that said we would go 0-2 in the World Series. That kind of fired us up in the best way possible.”
They’ve gotten big performances in the circle from right-hander Hailey Dolcini, the Fresno State transfer who closed out Oklahoma State in Monday’s second game despite battling fatigue, and left-hander Estelle Czech, who grew up a Cat Osterman fan and turned in outstanding efforts in relief against Arizona and during her start against Oklahoma State. Second baseman Janae Jefferson is the best hitter in school history. Designated player Courtney Day has hit home runs in each of the last three games, including two three-run home runs against the Cowgirls.
They’re playing with the confidence they’ve built during this magical postseason run and will enter’s Wednesday game with the confidence of knowing they’re one of only three teams with a victory over the mighty Sooners this season.
“We’ve been playing really free,” White said. “You know, we’re not supposed to be here. We play best when we’re relaxed and we’re carefree. And that’s what we’ve been doing.”
How to Watch:
Time: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Central
Radio: 105.3 FM/online
Weather: Cloudy, 75 degrees, north-northeast wind 12 miles per hour
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