Alysia Hamilton had tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. Less than 20 minutes after Oklahoma State had been eliminated from the Women’s College World Series, Hamilton had a river of different and strong emotions flowing through her as she set in front of the media.
But it was more than just being swept out of the WCWS that had caused the tears to flow from Hamilton. The former Moore High standout also was looking back on a stellar collegiate career that had just come to an end.
“I was thinking how I’m going to miss it,” a teary eyed Hamilton said. “That’s my family up there. It’s definitely going to be a change.”
OSU coach Rich Wieligman also was choked up as he talked about the contributions Hamilton has made to the program in her four years.
“She put her heart and soul into this team,” Wieligman said. “A lot of people don’t know how hard these kids work. There are so many hundreds of kids that want to be here too. And to have her be able to finish her career here at the world series is a dream come true for her. I am happy she was able to fulfill that dream.”
Hamilton had hoped to have the same success at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium that she had as a member of the Moore Lions, where she won a state title on the same field. However, the Cowgirls weren’t able to get their bats rolling in either of the two games they played.
It took an eight inning walk-off homer by Baylor to beat OSU 1-0 in Game 1. Against California, OSU actually had the midway through the contest. With one out and nobody on, five consecutive singles from Hamilton, Ward, Chelsea Garcia, Tamara Brown and Ashley Boyd scored two runs to put the Cowgirls on top 2-1.
But the Golden Bears stormed back and won 6-2.
It was the final time Hamilton and Garcia will be on the same field together as OSU teammates. Garcia has one more year left at Oklahoma State.
“It seems like she is my sister out there,” Hamilton said. “We just know each other so well. The chemistry on the field is awesome. That is so neat to have. Playing high school, summer ball, college ball together. Not a lot of people can say that. We are out here doing great things together. I don’t think there is anything better than to be with your best friends and going and doing what you love. And being in this atmosphere.”
Hamilton ended her senior season as an All-Big 12 selection at second base. She batted .399 with 47 runs, 39 RBIs and a team leading 73 hits. She was seven RBIs short of tying the career school record.
But according to Hamilton’s coach, her importance to the team was more than just numbers.
“With Alysia, she has come in and she got the attitude,” Wieligman said. “We developed this team from when they were freshman. She has put her heart and soul into this team. Her characteristics are what we have taken on. To fight, never give up. Just keep working everyday, keep your nose to the grind stone. That’s her. That’s the way she plays the game from Day 1. I can’t say enough about how well she’s played, how hard she’s played. It’s been a good four years for me.”
Hamilton has accomplished a lot in her time at OSU. But four years ago, she was just trying to survive.
“I get there my freshman year and I’m like ‘what did I get myself into?’” Hamilton said. “I think that’s like every freshman college athlete. You’re up there, you have 6 a.m. workouts, then you go to school, you have practice, then tutoring. And you are so exhausted. Then you see as you get older, and more mature and your body adjust to it, you realize that all this hard work is paying off. We are very blue collar. We work as hard as possible and we work for what we get.”
Hamilton, who majored in business, leaves behind a legacy at OSU. Leading the team to its first College World Series since 1998 is just one of them.
“As long as you give it everything you have, have fun and love what you are doing, that’s all you can do,” Hamilton said. “Not a lot of people can say they ended their careers at the world series. I am truly blessed. It was a great ride.”
Michael Kinney 366-3537 firstname.lastname@example.org