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Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso proved Wednesday night (or was it actually Thursday morning?) that toughness isn't something you can talk yourself into.
Just moments after telling ESPN's Holly Rowe that a snow shower couldn't affect her team's performance in the deciding game of the 2012 Women's College World Series, there she was, complaining to home plate umpire Christie Cornwell about the negative effect deteriorating conditions were having on national player of the year Keilani Ricketts, who, with her team leading Alabama 3-0 at the time, had cruised through three innings of work in the circle.
Forget about the fact that UA pitcher Jackie Traina had dealt with the same conditions in the top part of the inning. No, in transforming from Bud Wilkinson to an overly-protective travel ball mom right before our very eyes, Gasso felt it unfair that her all-america pitcher had to deal with such adversity. After all, playing less than an hour from Norman wasn't enough of an advantage for Gasso's team, right?
In the process, Gasso gave Ricketts every opportunity to make the rain an even bigger issue than it already was (and it was obviously a problem for both teams). Even after Gasso's second request for a delay was unfairly granted (following a Ricketts wild pitch that led to UA's first run of the game), a recharged Alabama team would go on to post three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 4-3 lead in the process. Nine OU outs later, the Crimson Tide, 5-4 winners, became the first SEC team to celebrate a national title at Hall of Fame Stadium.
And really, the sequence in the fourth inning summed up the biggest difference between the two teams. Ultimately, it had more to do with a head trip than a pitching grip. One coach talked a big game. The other coach won the big game. Alabama didn't think it was the more resilient team, it knew it was.
In softball, toughness begins and ends with the player in the middle of the diamond. While UA may not have had the best player in softball, it did have Traina, the best player on the best team in softball. And she's just a sophomore.
Now that Patrick Murphy's program has kicked down the door for the SEC, you're left to wonder how many more championships the league might win in the coming years. When a sport truly becomes a point of emphasis for SEC schools, championships usually follow.
Remember when the Pac-12 dominated college baseball, too? No worries, most people don't.
This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Travis Reier 2 years ago
I would give you two upvotes if I could. Good stuff.
Spot on T. We earned this one.
PROUD OF THEM.
Thank you, good sir, for posting this. I just watched that part of the replay, and it was laughable hearing her give that interview.
This post nails it.
OU's team took on the attitude of the coach! Gasso was afraid of the weather, and her team literally hid in the dugout. Contrast that to Alabama with Murphy, who was energized by the rain and then during the delay the team actually was out on the field cheering and taunting the rain! Alabama would not be denied! One of the best definitions you will ever see of how attitude and belief can lead to great things!
TR - One of your best ever!
I guess Shane thinks Yeldon will flip to Bama after he enrolls at Auburn. Brilliant. Sell those subscriptions, BOL.” - TIGER
I would have to agree with you, great stuff
What a way to win a title.
We swept a coaching legend in the Super Regionals.
We beat a fierce conference rival and the defending national champions the first two days of the World Series.
Then we beat the almost yearlong #1 team/seed to get to the finals for the first time.
When it came time for the finals, we rocked the then-considered #1 player for the season after dropping the first game.
I can't imagine a more awesome, thrilling, and respectable way to win the title. We left no doubt when it came to finishing it.
"In softball, toughness begins and ends with the player in the middle of the diamond. While UA may not have had the best player in softball, it did have Traina, the best player on the best team in softball. And she's just a sophomore."
True worlds - congrats to Jackie and the whole team. Ladies, you are the champions!
I would love to meet J Train and bow, then kiss her golden pitching hand. She has writ her name in Crimson flame. RTR!
Great piece TR. So proud of our ladies
"Character" is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.
Much props to the ladies...incredible win and long overdue for this team to win a championship.
Think about what Alabama has done nationally, it is at a different level now. Football Nat championship (again), Gymnastics Nat Champ ( again) Womens golf Natl Champ, Mens Golf finals of National Champ, Women's Softball Natl Champ.. forgive me but I think there were some things with swimming and track.
I think this shows the complete package, great diversity but same common outcome---national champion or nat champ contender... Great time for Bama athletics
In sports you see it all to often when a coach's attitude infects the team. Last night, OU's coach gave her team an excuse for poor play, a reason to say why they loss, an explanation to say why conditions weren't fair; all of which made them comfortable with the idea of losing. On the other hand, Coach Murphy embraced the conditions. No excuses. We aren't losing. Even when Oklahoma effectively secured a "timeout" in the middle of Alabama's run, Murphy coached and motivated his team. What a game man!! I am so proud of this team!
Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
telling myself it's not as hard as it seems - Led Zeppelin
WELL SAID ....RTR
That's good stuff Travis.
Excellent analysis Travis and spot on.
Now that'll preach right there...
Well done, TR.
Great article TR and spot on with the quotes from OU's coach. Bama girls were out there playing in the same weather, suck it & play. Roll Tide & congrats to Coach Murphy & the team!
Well said Travis. That's about the best way to put it.
The girls gave new meaning to the ALA**** BAMA, ALA**** BAMA chant!!! When they were standing in the rain doing the chant with the fans, I got freakin' fired up and almost jumped outta my recliner! :)
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