Chicks do dig the longball. Specifically, Jocelyn Alo. She’s been blasting pitches for home runs since she arrived at Oklahoma. As the Sooners’ coronation as back-to-back national champions appears inevitable, she will take her final swings of college softball. She’s Thanos. But instead of snapping her fingers to have the world bend to her will, it’s just by swinging her bat. They’re every bit powerful equals. Except Alo won’t lose to Cap in The Infinity Saga. (You had three years to see the movie. Sorry not sorry for the spoiler.)
Alo only had an extra-base hit in each of her three plate appearances in Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series on Wednesday, including two home runs. That was a blip of Oklahoma’s 16-1 dismantling of rival Texas in a David versus Goliath matchup with no biblical ending. The best team in college softball all season has looked every bit the part of dominant national champion, compared to the Longhorns, the first unseeded team to be one of the final pair standing at the WCWS.
The Hawaiian has been an integral part of the Sooners since her arrival in 2018, somehow finding a way to dominate the competition in new ways every season. Maybe her most significant accomplishment is a quiet one: she hasn’t made a fielding error at Oklahoma. Yes, Alo has made plenty of starts from the designated player spot but she also put in work from the outfield too. Thursday’s Game 2 of the WCWS Finals will assuredly be Alo’s final opportunity to add to her unbreakable NCAA softball home run record.
Oklahoma legend Lauren Chamberlain, who played in Norman from 2012-15, held the NCAA record until March with 95 career home runs. Alo has hit 27 more long balls since tying Chamberlain, sitting at 122 heading into Thursday night. That makes only four NCAA softball players all-time to be within 30 homers of the Sooners’ juggernaut.
Alone this season, Alo is batting .519. There’s a better chance she’ll get a hit every time she enters the circle than head back to the dugout without reaching base. That brings up the question: why throw to her in the first place? It’s a legitimate thought but one that’s heavily flawed when you look at the consequences.
While Alo is the best college softball, and therefore Oklahoma has to offer, the rest of the Sooners lineup is well above average. In fact, they’d still likely be the best team in the country without Alo. That’s how far ahead of everyone else in the game Oklahoma is. Tiare Jennings had two home runs herself in Game 1. The Sooners had six as a team against Texas, a WCWS record. They also set the World Series record for most total bases in one game (38) in the largest blowout in the event’s history (15 runs).
That brings us back to Alo, the catalyst for the greatest show to hit a softball diamond. Not lost in talking about her greatness is how much more impressive her statistics would look if not for the shortened 2020 campaign. She only played in 24 games and finished with eight home runs. At that pace, a long ball in every three games combined with the around-60 contests Alo plays in each season, add a dozen homers to her overall total, meaning she would’ve had all of 2022 as softball’s home-run queen. What a victory tour for your royal highness that would’ve been.
Yeah, it’s only a half hour from Norman to Oklahoma City. The Sooners have to be one of the final eight teams standing to even get to play at USA Softball Hall Of Fame Stadium, the sport’s premier cathedral, for a championship. That’s a tough feat by itself. Oklahoma gets there with or without its Hawaiian hero. It’s not a cakewalk in OKC with her but when she’s hitting laser beams out of the park almost at will, no other team in the country can stop the Sooners. It’s been a fun ride to watch her profile rise. All hail the queen of college softball.