WCWS: If she had not already, Keilani Ricketts established herself as one of college softball's greatest players

by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: June 5, 2013
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The screams began.

One camera flashed, then another and another.

“Keilani! Keilani!”

Little girls dangled their arms over a concrete divider at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium with softballs, T-shirts and Sharpies in hand.

“Keilani, can you sign this? Keilani, can I get your autograph? Keilani, I love you!”

Oklahoma superstar Keilani Ricketts' eyes were shaded by a ball cap proclaiming her a national champion.

She raised her head and squinted slightly as the flashes continued.

More than an hour had passed since Oklahoma softball celebrated the program's second national title, beating Tennessee 4-0 in Game 2 of the Women's College World Series.

What's it like to be your sports' biggest superstar? On Tuesday night, the weight of at least a year of being called “the best” was lifted off Ricketts' shoulders. But walking in her cleats proved that if anyone can carry the load it's Keilani Ricketts.

As the little girls continued to shout, an NCAA representative was pushing Ricketts and her teammates up the stairs after they completed their press conference. He needed to get the team out to speak with ESPN.

“Can I sign some?” Ricketts asked the representative, slightly pausing on the stairs.

“No,” he said.

Ricketts looked like she would take a second to argue, then looked at the young fans and smiled.

“Meet me back at the field.”

***

Ricketts grew up in a family of softball players. Both her older sisters saw success at the collegiate level, but Sam Ricketts, a former OU player, said the family knew there was something special in Keilani.

“We just didn't know it was this big of special,” Sam Ricketts said.

Little girls practice Keilani's signature twist. Little boys look at her in athletic awe. Someone even created a Twitter account of her pitching glove.

“But for real tho @laniricketts10 is my partner in crime ... We'll take on anybody that steps in the batters box. #bescared” -@OKelaini10


by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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