World Cup of Softball: OU's Lauren Chamberlain poised to shine on Team USA

By Rhiannon Walker, Staff Writer, rwalker@opubco.com Published: July 10, 2013
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“It doesn't matter if you're playing in the national championship game, at Oklahoma University, it doesn't matter if you're going out to practice, it doesn't matter if you meet her in a supermarket, Lauren Chamberlain is the same,” Eriksen said. “And that steadiness as a person is going to lend itself to a lot of success. I like the way she's able to implement humor in her approach to everything. But I believe that's real key in any successful organization.”

When she was looking at schools, Chamberlain was convinced to look at OU by her former travel ball teammate Jessica Shults. In high school, the duo had played on the Worth Firecrackers in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Chamberlain said Shults encouraged her to visit the campus, and when she finally did, she said she fell in love with it.

Shults may not have known it then, but Chamberlain would break many of her own records.

In 2010, Shults hit 15 home runs, which broke the Oklahoma record for homers by a freshman. Chamberlain obliterated that number in 2012, hitting twice as many long balls, while also setting the mark for the conference.

Shults, an All-American catcher, was also the Sooners' and Big 12's all-time career leader in home runs with 59. She would watch that record go down as well.

“She was so supportive of me all year, and I give a lot of kudos to her for how comfortable I was right off the bat coming into college,” Chamberlain said. “She allowed me to settle in pretty well as soon as I got there. I’ve always looked up to her and her hitting, so I shape a lot of the way I do things behind her. ...I respect as her player, and she really helped shape who I am today.”

After overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the 11th inning of a Women's College World Series game, Oklahoma entered the bottom of the 12th with the game tied at 3.

Brianna Turang led off with a double down the left-field line, which brought Chamberlain to the plate next.

She sent the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence and just on the fair side of the foul pole, and the Sooners beat Tennessee, 5-3, in the first game of the championship series.

“Honestly, I thought it was going to go foul; I really did,” Chamberlain said. “I was going down the first base line, and I was like ‘Please stay fair, please stay fair,’ and then it stayed fair, and then I saw everyone’s hands go up, and everyone started freaking out, and that was it.
“The feeling of that 60th one was completely euphoric, and I will never forget it. ...Yeah, that was a special one for me.”

Chamberlain is taking each of the four days one step at a time. She wants to win gold, but she also wants to enjoy her first time on the National Team.

The spotlight is on her now, and the stage is set for her best performances.



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