#3 Oklahoma Softball 2014 Preview

Oklahoma Sooners

Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
#3 Oklahoma Softball 2014 Preview
Oklahoma Team Page


The Sooners are coming off of their second national title, and first since 2007. The team was dominant from day one, starting out with a 17-0 record, defeating eight ranked teams along the way. The team does lose two All-Americans, including the greatest player in school history, Keilani Ricketts. Ricketts was a two-time National Player of the Year, three-time First Team All-American and four-time All-American. The team does bring back four starters.

2013: 57-4, 15-2
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Patty Gasso

Field Players:
Despite losing Ricketts and fellow All-American Brianna Turang, the Sooners do bring back Lauren Chamberlain, who has had a ridiculous start to her career and is on pace to break the NCAA career home run record by the end of this year, her junior campaign. The current record is 90, held by UCLA's Stacey Nuveman. In two years, Chamberlain has hit 60, 30 in each season. She's also driven in 162 runs and last year led the team in average (.458), triples (two), stolen bases (14) and doubles (16) as well as home runs and RBIs (84). Shelby Pendley also returns after putting up video game-like numbers. The junior knocked 22 balls out of the yard, hit 15 doubles and drove in 73. Georgia Casey and Brittany Williams also return after each knocking in 40.

The situation in the circle will be one of intrigue for this year's Sooners squad. Both of last year's pitchers, Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne, have graduated. This year's top pitcher will most likely be Kelsey Stevens, who transferred in from Stanford after one year with the Cardinal. Three others saw action in the circle, but they combined for nine appearances and 12.2 innings pitched.  

Who to Watch:
Chamberlain and the pitching staff. Chamberlain has had an amazing two-year start to her career and there doesn't seem to be anything slowing her down. That she may break the NCAA career home run record in just three years is remarkable in itself. How will Stevens react to being the ace? Last season, in 35 appearances, 21 of which were starts, she compiled a 15-7 record and struck out 163 hitters in 136 innings. The other three pitchers on the roster are Georgia Casey, Taylor Dewberry and Leslie Miller. Casey is the only returnee to start a game last year, while Miller saw the most action of the three (four games). Maggie Ham is also a pitcher who transferred in from Butler Community College.

Final Projection:
Despite losing two All-Americans and the greatest player in school history, the Sooners will be a force at the plate once again. Chamberlain and Pendley lead a squad that will scare opposing pitchers. Not only do the Sooners have a ton of power, they also draw a lot of walks. Chamberlain drew 63 walks last season, Pendley 43 and the team drew a total of 348, nearly 250 more than they issued. If Stevens can man the rotation and is up for being the ace, the team will contend again. Luckily for Stevens, the offense is so powerful, that it will allow for the sophomore to get accustomed to her new role. The team plays a tough nonconference schedule, starting the year with Kentucky. Tournament games also include Arizona State, Washington, Northwestern, Syracuse, UCLA, Nebraska, Louisiana-Lafayette and LSU.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Georgia Casey, INF, 172
Hits: Lauren Chamberlain, 1B, 77
Home Runs: Lauren Chamberlain, 1B, 30
RBIs: Lauren Chamberlain, 1B, 84
Runs: Lauren Chamberlain, 1B, 87
Stolen Bases: Lauren Chamberlain, 1B, 14

Wins: Georgia Casey, P, 1; Taylor Dewberry, P, 1; Leslie Miller, P, 1
Innings Pitched: Georgia Casey, P, 4.2
Strikeouts: Georgia Casey, P, 5
Saves: N/A

Madness 2014 NPF Draft Rankings:
#13 Destinee Martinez


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