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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, Published: June 7, 2012

Lauren Chamberlain, the leader of OU's talented first-year players, returns to anchor the offense. With two home runs on Wednesday, Chamberlain finished the season with 30, adding to the single-season school record she already owned.

Protecting her in the order is Jessica Shults, OU's emotional leader and junior catcher who hit .385 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs.

And, most importantly, OU gets National Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts back.

Ricketts, who's presence turns OU from legit contender to title favorite, ended the season 37-9 with a 1.12 ERA, also contributing 17 homers and 49 RBIs to the offense.

“It's pretty exciting to know that we have so many people coming back,” Shults said. “I feel blessed to be a part of this team and have my best friends with me.”

So a return to the Women's College World Series isn't a given. But with the talent, added experience and newfound motivation, it would be tough to bet against them getting back to Oklahoma City.

And if the Sooners do, maybe they can make amends for Wednesday night.

“We've been very, very blessed to be in an opportunity to play for a national championship, and I couldn't be more proud,” Gasso said. “It wasn't our time. We know that. We know when it's right. We'll be back, and it will be ours.”