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WCWS: Oklahoma's quiet confidence

COMMENTARY — These Sooners don't panic when faced with adversity. That's how they run-ruled Texas on Saturday.
by Jenni Carlson Published: June 1, 2013

This Oklahoma softball team is like our recent spate of bad weather.

It isn't a matter of if but when.

You know the storm is coming.

Two days after spotting Michigan an unearned run in its Women's College World Series opener, OU gave Texas a couple early runs on Saturday afternoon. But just as they did against the Wolverines, the Sooners rendered those runs irrelevant.

OU 10, Texas 2.

The Longhorns got off easy; it would've been way worse had the fifth-inning mercy rule not kicked in.

On a day the tournament contenders separated themselves from the pretenders, the Sooners served notice that they are a step above. And it's not just that they have the best pitcher in the college game. Or that they have three hitters who'd bat cleanup on any team and another three who'd do so on about three-fourths of teams.

This team is mentally better than any other.

These Sooners don't panic.

“This team knows that they're good and that it's very difficult to shut them down,” Sooner coach Patty Gasso said. “We know that, so it's a matter of just being patient for our time.”

That isn't always easy in a sport where pitchers are dominant and games are routinely decided by a score of 1-0. Give up a run or two, and it can feel like you're scaling Mount Everest to get back into the game.

But these Sooners never have that sense of dread.

“Our offense puts up a lot of runs,” catcher Jessica Shults said, “and we're pretty good at answering when something doesn't go our way.”

They sure were Saturday.

After going three-up, three-down in the first two innings against the Longhorns, Sooner ace Keilani Ricketts started to struggle in the third. She walked the leadoff batter, who stole second. Then after a strikeout, Ricketts surrendered a hit for the first time in 12-plus innings.

Then another walk.

Then another single.

This one scored a run.

Texas scored again when Ricketts issued a bases-loaded walk. The Longhorns were surging. The Sooners were struggling. It was a mess of an inning.

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