Oklahoma added its greatest chapter to a fairytale season Monday night.
Tuesday, the Sooners can write the ending.
In the most remarkable and dramatic turnaround that the Women's College World Series has ever seen, the Sooners came back from a three-run deficit in extra innings to win the first game of the best-of-3 championship series.
OU 5, Tennessee 3.
“That was the greatest game I've ever been a part of,” Sooner coach Patty Gasso said.
Same for everyone else at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Now, the Sooners are just one win away from a national championship. One win away from a spot among the greats in this sport. One win away from accomplishing what they failed to a year ago.
“This whole season we've been consistently fighting,” Sooner speedster Brianna Turang said. “That's our big thing. As we were going into those last few innings, that's all we could do.”
Through the first 10 innings, this was a pitching battle.
Sooner ace Keilani Ricketts had allowed no runs and only one hit. She was well on her way to striking out 13. That's a pretty good day at the office.
But Vol ace Ellen Renfroe was hanging with Ricketts. Through 10 innings, she'd scattered four hits, stranded eight runners and was well on her way to striking out 13.
Then in the top of the 11th inning, Tennessee started to tag Ricketts. After starting the inning with an out, the Vols strung together a pair of singles. They made solid contact on both.
Neither was as solid, though, as Madison Shipman. The Tennessee clean-up hitter smashed a three-run home run to dead center.
As Ricketts turned to see the flight of the ball, she slapped her leg with her glove. She knew she'd left the pitch hanging in the middle of the plate.
Like that, the Sooners' championship hopes seemed to evaporate. How were they going to come back from a three-run hole? How were they going to be able to rally from a one-game deficit?
The air went out of a Hall of Fame Stadium crowd that was heavy on the crimson.
But it didn't go out of the Sooners.
After a strikeout to start the inning, Ricketts ended up on second after Tennessee dropped a pop-up blown around by the Oklahoma wind. Brittany Williams drove her in with a double to the gap.
Then after another out, Destinee Martinez drove in second run with a triple to the wall.
The dramatics crescendoed when Callie Parsons smacked a double to left that drove in another run. Even though she was thrown out trying to get to third, the rally was already complete and the damage was already done.
“There's no break in the Oklahoma lineup,” Renfroe said. “Every pitch, it's everything you've got.”
Renfroe was great for so much of the game, but the momentum had turned toward the Sooners.
Ricketts sat down the Vols in order in the top of the 12th, and in the bottom of the inning, the Sooners completed the comeback. Turang chopped a double over the third baseman's head, which was a great start but was rendered irrelevant when Lauren Chamberlain smashed a two-run home run down the left-field line.
She swung at the first pitch that she saw, a ball inside and low, but she muscled it out of the park.
“It was nerve wracking,” Chamberlain said of the game.
“It's the championship series. It's supposed to be a game like that.”
Well, actually, there's never been another game in the championship series like this. Win the title Tuesday night, and Monday will go down as the most amazing chapter in the Sooners' storybook ride.
“This is a team on a mission,” Gasso said, “and man, I've never seen anything like it.”
Nothing like this team.
Nothing like that game.