NORMAN — The last nine months for Georgia Casey, Oklahoma's first international softball player, have been about adjustments.
Casey has adapted to the food, the lifestyle and the enhanced magnitude of the sport she loves in the United States.
Driving is the one that still gets her; every once in a while, Casey still feels the urge to drive on the left side of the road like they do Down Under.
“I still have my moments, but I'm pretty much fine with it now,” Casey said with a laugh.
Despite all the changes, coach Patty Gasso calls Casey the most advanced freshman she's ever had at Oklahoma.
High praise considering this year's Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Lauren Chamberlain, dons crimson and cream and broke OU's single-season home run record with 26.
Casey, OU's second baseman and leadoff hitter, has a .393 batting average and nine homers entering Game 1 of an NCAA Super Regional against Arizona, which is set for 1 p.m. Friday.
She left her native Sydney, Australia, in August to begin a college softball career at Oklahoma.
It all started a few years ago, when Casey's coach on Australia's junior national team, Paula McGovern, came to Norman to shadow OU's program and left as Gasso's friend.
The two coaches corresponded regularly, and McGovern frequently talked up a talented young pitcher and infielder on her team.
“She would tell me about this girl Georgia Casey,” Gasso said. “She sent me some video of her pitching, and I liked her style on the mound. I thought her ball moved well and looked like she could get a lot stronger.”
A scholarship opened up, and Gasso brought Casey to Norman for a visit, which went well. Gasso then went to Australia to see her play for the first time in person, and was even more impressed with the environment in which Casey competed.
Softball isn't as big in Australia as it is in America, so the girls that do play often compete with much older athletes.
“As a young athlete, her playing as much with older athletes was special,” Gasso said. “I've seen the results when some of our athletes have gone and played with the national team; they're just so much more grown up.”
Continue reading this story on the...
MORE FROM NEWSOK
NCAA Super Regional: Game 1
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 13 Arizona
When: 1 p.m. Friday
Where: OU Softball Complex, Norman
TV: ESPNU (Cox 253)
Radio: KREF-AM 1400
Notes: Game 2 is Saturday at 11 a.m., and Game 3, if necessary, is right after that. Those games will be televised on ESPN (Cox 29). ... This series is a rematch of last year's Tucson Super Regional, which OU won to advance to the 2011 Women's College World Series. ... Junior Keilani Ricketts leads OU with a .406 batting average, and is 31-7 with a 1.05 ERA in the circle. ... Arizona leads the overall series 26-15, but the Sooners have won the last four meetings. ... Hallie Wilson leads the Wildcats with a .354 batting average and 64 hits.