MOORE — A major part of Oklahoma’s run to the national title a year ago was the success of the bottom of the lineup. The 7-9 batters in most lineups typically represent a steep dropoff from the top of the lineup, but the Sooners a year ago were so loaded that coach Patty Gasso was able to put some of her strongest batters at the bottom.
This year’s team began the season without that same strength, but in the Sooners’ postseason run to their fourth straight Women’s College World Series the bottom has again began to step up.
First it was Callie Parsons, who played a big role in OU’s regional victory over Texas A&M. She started a seventh-inning rally against Texas A&M in the regional final, a single that was overshadowed by an Aggies error several batters later but one that didn’t escape Gasso’s notice.
Alongside Parsons has been Erin Miller, who wasn’t even playing when the postseason began. But she was so effective against Tennessee in the Super Regional that Gasso moved her up to sixth in the finale and responded with a 2-for-4 performance with an RBI. And Javen Henson, batting in the eight-hole, went 2-for-2 with a home run in the deciding game.
And their teammates at the top of the lineup know how lucky they are.
“Shout out to the bottom of our lineup because that was crucial for us last year and it’s proving again this year in postseason that it’s a team effort and that all the hits that we can get help,” Lauren Chamberlain said. “I think the bottom of the lineup turning over to the top was huge for us.”
Henson turning the corner: Henson’s home run was more than just an insurance run for the Sooners Sunday. It was a much-needed shot of confidence for a player who had been struggling at the plate.