OKLAHOMA CITY — Being a bystander to a celebration isn’t fun. Three times in the last calendar year, Oklahoma watched teams revel in championships won at its expense.
Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, it was the Sooners who finally got to dog-pile and break out the commemorative T-shirts and caps after a 7-2 victory over Kansas in the Big 12 tournament title game.
“Words can’t describe it, especially in the Big 12 Conference,” OU center fielder Max White said while trying to figure whether to wear his OU cap or his Big 12 tournament champions cap late Sunday afternoon. “We won a super regional in my freshman year and I guess it’s the last time we dogpiled in a Sooner uniform. It’s just relieving. After four years, I’m exhausted. It’s humbling and couldn’t wish for anything else with this group of guys.”
What OU (40-19) accomplished over the last four days erased four weeks of struggles that saw them go from the top of the Big 12 standings and in position to host a NCAA tournament regional, to tumbling to fourth in the league and planting themselves on the NCAA tournament bubble.
It was wiped away after the Sooners went 4-0 in Oklahoma City to win the conference tournament for the first time since the inaugural event in 1997.
The only thing that changed was the way the Sooners won Sunday and some of the names who paved the way.
Some names, however, did not. Others just switched roles.
First baseman Matt Oberste went 2 for 4 and drove in four runs. His two-run homer in the third inning gave the Sooners a 5-1 lead. The two-run single he added in the ninth made the final three outs OU had to get a formality.
It was the kind of performance Oberste had several times early in the season, but they had been few and far between in the second half of the season.