Jacksonville Sports Day

Softball Season Ends for FSU in National Championship

Trailing 2-0 with their season and a national championship on the line, Oklahoma softball head coach Patty Gasso gathered her team in the dugout in the fifth inning of Game 2. It was a “rally-the-troops” sort of talk with her No. 1. Sooners on the ropes against No. 10 Florida Statte,

For a team that had taken on a gladiator mentality this season, whatever Gasso said resonated. The Sooners responded with four runs in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead.

They never looked trailed the rest of the series, winning Game 2, 6-2, and Game 3, 5-1, to claim the 2021 national championship — their fifth national championship in program history and third in the last five World Series.

Florida State won the first game, 8-4, and it looked like it had Oklahoma on the ropes in Game 2 until the big sixth inning

The Sooners got back-t0-back complete game performances from senior pitcher Giselle Juarez, who was named the Most Outstanding Player

She credited her teammates with helping her receive the Most Outstanding Player honor. Her defense made several crucial plays in both Games 2 and 3 to save runs and maintain the lead.

She also had to face a hot Florida State offense that showed a propensity to score runs in bunches this season.

“FSU’s a great team. They have great hitters,” Jaurez said. “They made me work. They had a fantastic season, so just battling them…(shortstop) Grace (Lyons) came up to me every time and was like, ‘just be you. Have fun. Be at peace. God’s got you.’”

For Gasso, she adds another notch to her storied career. Now in her 27th year, this was the sixth championship game Oklahoma has played in since 2000.

After missing last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said this win was especially sweet for her, though, particularly for the seniors like Juarez and Saile who got to have another season thanks to the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility.

“What a way to walk out as a super senior, her and Shannon Saile, as a national champion,” Gasso said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better for them.”

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