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Sooners rank among one of the best teams in softball history

Oklahoma did more than win a softball national title the other night. It made a statement.
by Jenni Carlson Published: June 6, 2013

OU's total this season: 476.

The Sooners have an offense built around power with national home run leader Lauren Chamberlain leading things off. She was followed by three sluggers — Georgia Casey, Shelby Pendley and Ricketts — who all hit better than .339.

But then the bottom of the lineup featured three speedsters. Destinee Martinez, Callie Parsons and Brianna Turang put all kinds of pressure on defenses with their fleet feet.

The power-speed combo was impossible to shut down, and even as the competition got better and better in the WCWS, the Sooners still managed to produce at a high level.

“They have the skill. They have the experience,” said Sue Enquist, another legendary coach in the college game. “Inexperienced teams come to the World Series, and sometimes hope is the strategy — ‘I hope we can play the way we've been playing' — and I don't see any of that with them.”

From outside looking in, the former UCLA coach sensed numerous intangibles on this OU team.

Competitiveness.

Strong friendships.

A love of playing together.

An ability to bounce back from failure, particularly the disappointment of falling short of the national championship a year ago.

Put all of that together, and it made for a strong cocktail.

“They really, truly love being in that uniform,” Enquist said. “Combined with the talent makes that program fit historically in a really special place.

“There's no doubt they're one of the best.”

But are the Sooners the best?

It's hard to argue against them, considering that this is an era of increased parity. More good players. More good teams. No longer is it just UCLA and Arizona and everyone else.

Never before has it been tougher to excel in college softball. Yet, these Sooners cut up the competition like butter on a summer day.

“With the parity there is today,” Candrea said, “it definitely is a special moment and a special team.”

A team like we've never seen before.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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