NORMAN — Oklahoma now returns to the scene of the crime.
In the rain, well after midnight, Alabama did what nobody thought it might do only two nights earlier. Almost a year later, the Sooners have earned another chance.
Another a dominant run-rule victory, their fourth in five postseason games, this one an 8-0 whitewashing of Texas A&M that included a pair of home runs from Shelby Pendley, because somebody has to hit them in so bruising a lineup, has OU headed back to Hall of Fame Stadium and the Women’s College World Series.
The Sooners are the nation’s No. 1 team, the big bracket’s No. 1 seed and losers of only four games in 56 tries.
Now, pressure is sure to arrive. It’s better to be best, yes, but it’s no picnic. Anything can go wrong and everything can crater, right?
Not so fast.
Their super-regional clinching victory in the bag, the Sooners, after playing in front of another packed house at Marita Hynes Field, spoke about it (and other things).
Pendley, who hit like the conference player of the year she was recently named, explained that she’d been in Moore when the Tornado struck.
Coach Patty Gasso, a press conference no-show the night before when she rushed off to watch her son graduate from Norman North, explained that she’d seen a change in Ricketts beginning Thursday night, when the team sat down with the softball team of Sydney Angle, a 9-year-old who died Monday at Plaza Towers Elementary.
Ricketts, who had just tossed a three-hit shutout while going 2 for 3 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, who often speaks so quickly you wonder how she can follow her own train of thought, slowed down long enough to say something profound.