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Patty Gasso: Oklahoma softball isn’t taking WCWS run for granted

Oklahoma has won an NCAA record 51 games in a row entering the WCWS championship series. (SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Oklahoma softball isn’t taking its Women’s College World Series run for granted.

The Sooners (59-1) won their 51st consecutive game Monday, beating Stanford 4-2 in the WCWS semifinals. The extra-innings win came against a Cardinal team that features pitcher NiJaree Canady, who proved tough for the Oklahoma batters to crack.

Yet like much about Oklahoma softball, the win seemed inevitable. So did the result: The Sooners reached their fourth consecutive WCWS championship series, where they’ll vie for their third consecutive title. They’ll face Florida State, the team they beat in 2021 to start their run of championships. They also beat the Seminoles earlier this season.

For Oklahoma, though, what matters is not what has come before but what comes next. Take star player Tiare Jennings, who hit the game-winning two-run double against Stanford — but only after the Cardinal intentionally walked Jayda Coleman to get to her.

“It didn’t really matter to me,” Jennings said. “Either way, I was going to have to find a way to either get on or help my team the best way I can. We talked about not being results-oriented, and that’s what happened today. I didn’t get results I wanted earlier in the game, but I was going to keep swinging.”

Jennings brought in two runs and tied former Oklahoma star slugger Jocelyn Alo for the WCWS career RBI record.

Oklahoma pitcher Jordy Bahl has been lights out in the WCWS, not allowing a run in 14 ⅔ innings. For Bahl, the game plan boils down to this: “Be present, stay simple.”

“The second I try to do too much with any one of my pitches, I start overthrowing and things tend to go downhill,” she said.

And as Oklahoma looks to win another title and firmly cement their status as a dynasty, they’re enjoying the moment.

“We win a lot. And that’s fabulous,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “But sometimes we’re so used to taking it for granted. This means a lot. This means a lot to get to the championship game.”