It took 137 NCAA tournament games, and for the second year in a row, Oklahoma softball is the champion of the Women’s College World Series.
Led by home run queen Jocelyn Alo, who broke Lauren Chamberlain’s all-time record in March and shattered it throughout the 2022 season, the Sooners set WCWS record after WCWS record by beating Texas 16-1 in Game 1 on Wednesday and 10-5 in 2 game on Thursday.
Alo, MVP of the tournament, and teammate Tiare Jennings broke previous records for WCWS homers (five) and WCWS RBIs (13), helping coach Patty Gasso to become her sixth national champion.
The Sooners, who led the nation in scoring average, scoring and ERA, set records as a team for most home runs (17) and runs (64) scored in WCWS, breaking previous records they set last year (15 , 49).
Last year, our analysts chose what they thought was the best team in college softball history. Some chose the 1994 Arizona, which won 64-3 and was part of a dynasty that won five titles in seven years. Some chose 2008 Arizona State, which had a 356-point lead over the competition during the season. When we put it to the fan vote, our audience chose the 2001 Arizona, which broke the then Division I record of 126 homers and was led by Jenny Finch, dominating the circle.
But this year, the Sooners have made a strong showing on the GOAT label. They went 59-3 and led the nation in batting average, scoring and ERA. Forty of their 59 victories were by the run rule.
How good is this year’s Sooners historically? Our experts break it down and also add an overly early look at the 2023 season.
Where does this year’s Oklahoma team rank among the best ever?
Kayla Braud: The first. The best team of all time. No. 1. They are probably overtaking … last year’s team. I think there are some incredible teams that have played but I don’t remember a time when we saw 1-9 as good on offense. We’ve seen pitchers get better and better, but not an entire team like this. I think you can go back to some of the great UCLA and Arizona players, but in this era of competition, it’s quite rare for someone to come through and dominate so much.
Beth Movins: I think this year’s team and last year’s team are very comparable. You have to go back to those teams in Arizona in the 90s that could win five championships in a row – and this lineup was just a monster. I think these two belong to the 1992 UCLA team that only lost twice in a year.
Jenny Dalton Hill: Our team from Arizona in 1994 would have given a team from Oklahoma a great opportunity to compete for the title. Susie Parra and Nancy Evans in the circle, the first team to hit 100 home runs, amazing field. Our group was quite special – very similar to this group in Oklahoma. Maybe a software developer can create this simulation for us! In any case, both teams deserve respect.
Jess Mendoza: I think this is the best team. Even though we have seen the most talented teams, they have not seen the kind of competition that we have seen this year. I look at the 64 teams that have qualified for the tournament and the fact that there is an unseeded team in the championship. So what did Oklahoma do, including mercy in the finals and all their way to this point, thinking about how much talent there is across the country, and they Still By doing this, I think they are #1.
Madison Shipman: It is a crime. It’s amazing how many times when they swing, they hit the ball just in time and so confidently, with such a consistent 1-9 score throughout the attack. Jocelyn and Tiare, sure, but Jayda Coleman in first place was huge to them too—she set the tone and took the base so she could come back and score. Even Riley Boone had a great postseason. When you have players who can take the lead, and Jocelyn and Tiare who can hit a long pass, there is never a break in their offense. And I know pitchers can talk about it too. It’s suffocating. You cannot make mistakes.
Amanda Scarborough: Last year we talked about how their team is the best, but I think this year, especially given the experience they had, it’s needed. Jana Jones has always been a player for them. She always intervenes at important moments and completes their attack. If you’re so focused on Alo and Jennings, there are so many other weapons behind these two that can take you down as well.
Michelle Smith: I think you have to put their offense with some of the best ever, right up there with some Arizona teams from the mid 90s. Their power is overwhelming. Jocelyn Alo will be known as the best power hitter of all time and she hit over .500.
Does Oklahoma have what it takes to maintain that success next year?
Daniel Laurie: You get Jordi Bala with one more year of experience; she will get much better. They’ll probably need another pitcher, a transfer.
Movins: I think it would be foolish to think that without Alo there will be no step back and we will wait and see what the pitching staff will look like next year. The transfer portal has served them well in recent years.
Scarborough: They won with transfer pitchers. It was Gisele Juarez last year, Hope Trautwein, Shannon Saile and last year. Hope was in the pitcher is here, and Geordie all season long, of course. Don’t forget about their amazing recruiting courses.
Dalton Hill: I think Patty Gasso has developed a culture that is now attracting the talent needed to maintain that dominance. She has created an environment where victory breeds victory and the bar is set. The expectations of incoming freshmen are conveyed through the examples of upperclassmen.
Smith: I don’t think you can replace Jocelyn Alo. If you look at her numbers – we were talking about the weighted runs she created (wRC+), they are way better than anyone else. I don’t think she will ever be replaced, but I think the question will be who are they going to hit behind Tiara Jennings’ back so she can keep doing what she’s doing. Maybe it’s Grace Lyons, but who’s behind her? Patty always has something up her sleeve.
Editor’s note: The generated run weights are comprehensive hit statistics that are adjusted to the sport and running environment. Alo’s wRC+ of 308 according to the 6-4-3 charts is higher than the Division I average of 100 and is the highest wRC+ recorded in MLB history (244 by Barry Bonds in 2002).
Besides Jocelyn Alo, which high school student will you miss the most?
Movins: I think Jaina Jefferson was the leader here in Texas. She is the consummate leader of the program and has been a big part of making the Longhorns so successful and a pleasure to watch.
Holly Row: Brie Perez of UCLA. She was one of the Bruins’ best leaders and one of their prolific players. It also completes the eight year line of the Perez sisters who have played there.
Lori: Georgina Corrick from South Florida. I can appreciate that she is a pitcher who has thrown way more pitches than anyone else – it’s kind of old school. Pitchers used to be a one-handed show, and now you don’t see it. This year she went 37-5.
Scarborough: Pitchers, Corrick, Keely Rochard (Virginia Tech), Gabby Plain (Washington), Arkansas base players Mary Huff and Daniel Gibson.
Dalton Hill: I really liked Daniel Gibson Wharton in Arkansas. She is another player who had the potential to change the game with one punch.
Mendoza: Rochard at Virginia Tech has helped bring so many talented players to this program, and looking at her serve, she has become one of my favorite players.
Smith: I think Mia Davidson. She was funny to watch in the SEC for what she was doing, although in the state of Mississippi she was kind of out of the picture. Also Sidney Cheryl from Florida. In her freshman year, by winning a national championship, the first in Florida State history, she has been a big part of the program’s success over the past few years.
Shipman: I enjoyed watching Davidson hit. It feels like she’s been there forever. I really enjoyed watching Corrick serve every day. She had such a variety of pitches that she could throw, the pace and rhythm with which she pitched. You could almost see the play within the attacking play of the different batters. She had me put on my pitcher cap when I looked at her.
Bread: I think Hannah Adams is there because she was a good second baseman for Florida, especially on defense. The plain has also been so good for so long.
What was your favorite part of the NCAA Tournament this year?
Lori: I was going to say that Katie Kistler robbed a home run against UCLA…and then Jada Coleman hit an even bigger one against Texas.
Scarborough: I liked Megan Faraimo’s strikeout with the bases loaded, then her turnaround and home run. I think I will remember this forever.
Shipman: Hannah Adams had a great run in the Blacksburg Super Regional when she ran down center, jumped and threw the ball to first base. I love these defensive games.
Bread: I enjoyed my return to the Northwest – three returns in three days in a row in the super-regional tournament. It was a pretty rare moment that you don’t see – when you lose every game and find a way to come back and punch the ticket. With all the seniors they had, it was really bold.
Row: My favorite role is Hayley Dolcini. She started her career at the University of California at Riverside, she started performing on the cow pasture, and now here she performs on the biggest stage. Even though her results here were tough, what she did in the NCAA Tournament by believing in herself by going to the bigger program from Fresno State made her journey the most interesting.
Mendoza: I enjoyed watching the Pac-12 fail. As much as we think some conferences dominate, we see things change when Stanford upsets Alabama and Oregon upsets Tennessee. I think it’s good for the game that it swings back and forth.
Dalton Hill: I loved seeing how Arizona surpassed all expectations and made it to WCWS. They entered the tournament through…