1. Oklahoma’s potent offense remains potent
The Sooner offense has been called a lot of things this year. Historic seems the deepest and most accurate adjective that’s been used. Whatever descriptive word you want to put on it, the Sooners are deadly at the plate. Jocelyn Alo’s home run officially set a new single-season team record in Division I (#159 on the year for the Sooners) and that statistic alone shows how impressive this offense has been this year. Even though the Sooners have been slow in the scoring department for some stretches in this World Series, until the last out is recorded, no opposing pitcher should feel comfortable or safe.
2. A counterpunch is the most impressive skill
When you take a punch to the face like Oklahoma did on Tuesday night, it can go one of two ways: Either a team collapses in games following, or a team responds with a vengeance. Oklahoma chose option #2 from that list, and a vengeance it was indeed. One of the most impressive pieces of the Sooners’ run this year has been the team’s ability to adjust mid-game and, occasionally, even mid at-bat. They did just that in Game 2 and delivered a counterpunch just as forceful as the one they felt a day earlier.
3. Nobody’s rolling over in Game 3
Giving up six runs to a team isn’t great. Standing on the receiving end of a 4-run inning is very much NOT great. But outside of that one inning, Florida State’s pitching was not *bad*. The team’s offense struggled against Juarez after the first inning, but held a lead for much of the ballgame. Neither team is going to roll over and ply dead on Thursday afternoon; the game is going to be a dogfight.
4. Never underestimate the relevance of a hometown crowd
Oklahoma fans filling Hall of Fame Stadium is nothing new; in fact, the Sooners’ rabid softball fan base is one of the only legitimate arguments raised by proponents of moving the WCWS away from Oklahoma City. This year, though, the Sooners seem to be embracing that home field-advantage more than in years past. Oklahoma players frequently have stepped outside their dugout to lead the crowd in cheers and keep the Sooner faithful energized. Following Jocelyn Alo’s home run that took the lead for OU on Wednesday night, the fan base never quieted again and were fully invested in the game once their team had the lead. It’s a decided advantage for the Sooners when the crowd is invested and involved vs. when they’re quiet and simply present.
5. This World Series is what all softball fans needed
After a year away from postseason softball, this year’s NCAA tournament delivered and then some. The controversy following Selection Sunday gave way to some tremendous games, and the best teams came out in the wash, to borrow a phrase. Two unseeded teams reached the WCWS for the first time in a decade, and some great Regional and Super Regional competition preceded the pinnacle tournament. At the WCWS, for the first time since the championship has been decided by a best-of-three series, all seventeen potential games are going to be played. Never before has every if necessary game been played in a single World Series. That statistic alone underscores the value of this incredible week of softball.