Oklahoma softball: Freshmen assigned to cheer loud, cheer proud

Former high school stars remain part of the team with dugout competition.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: April 25, 2013

photo - Shelby Pendley is greated at home after her home run as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners play the Baylor Bears in NCAA college softball at Marita Hines Field on Saturday, April 6, 2013  in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Shelby Pendley is greated at home after her home run as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners play the Baylor Bears in NCAA college softball at Marita Hines Field on Saturday, April 6, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

“What you're going into, like how they did last year and you're having to step into a position,” Paris said. “They already have their goals set up, knowing that and how good the team is ...”

“And how it's such high expectations,” Jules continued. “You really hit the ground running. That makes you a little nervous at first. But they really welcomed us.”

Their smiles still grow when their stars' names are brought up. There's still an “awe” factor. Gasso noticed it, too. So she gave them a challenge: each player takes an inning and cheers.

“I needed them to dive in and be a part of this team,” Gasso said.

What she didn't realize was that she created a friendly freshman competition. The freshmen took the liberty to assign each one an inning (since they only play seven innings in softball).

“I think it helps a lot,” Paris Townsend said. “You have to be the loudest and get everybody pumped about that inning.”

Whoever has their teammates score the most runs in that inning wins the game.

“We don't get anything for winning our inning,” Paris said. “We're just competitive. We bring the energy.”

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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