At the moment when the Oklahoma softball players had most earned the right to celebrate for themselves — just minutes after they won the Women's College World Series — the Sooners instead reminded everyone that their quest since May 20 has been about more than OU softball.
As the players took a victory lap around ASA Hall of Fame Stadium following their 4-0 win to sweep Tennessee in the WCWS championship series Tuesday night, they carried a large Oklahoma state flag.
“We were very pleased to represent the University of Oklahoma, as well as the state of Oklahoma,” coach Patty Gasso said. “You've heard a lot about it this week, and that is who we were representing.
“The phrase is, ‘It's Moore than ourselves.' We had a lot of people we wanted to give pride to, make happy and just forget about things that have been going on in the last three weeks or so.”
Since the deadly tornado that hit Moore on May 20, the OU softball team has been at the forefront of the effort to show support for Norman's neighbors.
The “OU” on the front of their helmets was replaced with a blue sticker in the shape of Oklahoma with “Home” across the middle.
Casey Angle, who lost 9-year-old sister Sydney Angle in the tornado, sat in the dugout with the team the last two weeks.
In the stadium Tuesday night, fans held signs with phrases like, “One Moore Win.”
Though most of the roster comes from other states, they've all been Oklahomans the last two weeks.
“Being able to come together as a team and to be able to play for Moore has been amazing,” said left fielder Brianna Turang, who is from Corona, Calif. “Seeing the strength that these families have to get through it inspired us to keep strong this whole time and play for them, but also bring back a national championship for the whole state, and bring joy to the whole state.”