WCWS: Young Sooners lose 2012 championship, but have high hopes for future

ALABAMA 5, OKLAHOMA 4 — Oklahoma players were disappointed in defeat, but are confident for next season with so many key players returning.
BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, aslater@opubco.com Published: June 7, 2012

Stunned and dejected, the Sooners slowly walked off the field.

Silent and discouraged, they embraced in a team huddle, blankly staring as Alabama celebrated the feat OU had in its fingertips.

Reflective and teary-eyed, they gathered in a solemn postgame press conference, trying to explain a stunning reversal that turned the Sooners' second NCAA softball title into the SEC's first, as Alabama captured the national crown with a 5-4 weather-delayed win in Wednesday's deciding game.

“It hurts,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “It hurts me. It hurts them. Because I don't want to let them go right now. They're playing good softball.”

And that's what stung the most.

The Sooners weren't just playing good softball, they were playing championship-level softball.

They proved that with an impressive 19-5 run to the top of the Big 12. They reaffirmed it with a dominant 8-0 postseason run to the final series. And they were on the verge of sealing it with an early 3-0 lead on Wednesday night.

But then the rain came. And the wild pitches came. And the Alabama runs came. And eventually, the title disappeared.

“It's just the way it happened,” Gasso said. “I guess it wasn't meant to be.”

But don't take this as a disappointing ending to a somber story. It isn't a veteran-laden team that crumpled at the finish line of its final run. Far from it.

The Sooners are a supremely talented young squad, with four freshmen and only one senior in the starting lineup.

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