Since the beginning of this summer, Keilani Ricketts, the two-time National Collegiate Player of the Year, had plans to play for the USA Softball Women’s National Team.
That was until the former Oklahoma pitcher was offered a long-term contract by USA Softball, and the organization wanted Ricketts to sign the contract before the World Cup of Softball. She didn’t feel comfortable with that.
“I called Ronnie (Isham, a USA Softball spokesman) on July 3, and I asked him if I could be able to think about it until the end of summer, because I was so committed this summer,” Ricketts said. “I asked him if I could be able to make a decision after this summer, and he told me I need to make a decision before World Cup.
“So I didn’t actually call him to tell him I’m not on the team, I called him asking if I could still be on the team the whole summer, and then make the decision.”
Ricketts, a two-time national team player, would have more than likely started for Team USA when it faced Canada in an opening-round game. The World Cup runs Thursday through Sunday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Isham told The Norman Transcript, “She had a business decision to make, and that business decision did not include Team USA.”
Isham also said Ricketts’ decision caught USA Softball off guard.
“They told me that the contract was nonnegotiable, and that surprised me,” Ricketts said. “I just thought that they were going to be able to work with me, just because I’ve been with them the past three years. I didn’t call them up to tell them that I quit; I just wanted to be able to work with them this summer.”
Ricketts said this has nothing to do with a contract with a Japanese team. She will be going overseas in September, but she said she’s still trying to figure out if she’ll be joining National Pro Fastpitch, which would occur before her Japan trip.
Over the last two summers, the left-hander has helped Team USA win the 2012 World Cup of Softball and a silver medal at the 2012 International Softball Federation Women’s World Fastpitch Championship.
Ricketts, who pitched for the 2013 national champion Sooners, made Team USA along with OU teammates Lauren Chamberlain and Destinee Martinez. All three players took part in the three-day selection camp and were chosen out of 32 players for the 18-person roster. In addition to winning the national championship and Collegiate Player of the Year award, Ricketts was also won the 2013 Honda Cup, which goes to the nation’s top female college athlete.
Ricketts finished her senior season with a 35-1 record, a 1.23 earned run average and threw six no hitters, the last one in the Women’s College World Series.
She was also a threat at the plate, collecting 15 home runs and 60 RBIs. Ricketts drove in all four runs in OU’s 4-0 national championship victory over Tennessee.
Cheridan Hawkins of Oregon is Ricketts’ replacement on the roster. Hawkins finished her freshman season with a 19-5 record, 212 strikeouts and 1.55 ERA. She had 19 starts last season and appeared in 39 games. In the postseason, the left-hander only allowed six hits and one run in 15 innings pitched.