OKLAHOMA CITY — The pile stretched across the circle, Gascoigne facing third base, the only one with only dirt beneath her as her teammates jumped on top.
“It’s something you dream about your whole life,” Gascoigne said. “We’ve never dogpiled before. We’ve always been waiting for this moment.”
She said she might have lost circulation in her left arm. Then she said she didn’t care.
Ricketts’ heroics came in the third inning when she turned on an Ivy Renfroe offering and deposited it well beyond the right-field wall.
She can be a national hero if they’ll just put softball back in the Olympics.
If they don’t, she can settle for being the most dominant Sooner athlete in the history of her university.
Jason White and Billy Sims should have won back-to-back Heisman Trophies, but neither led the Sooners in tackles, too. Lee Roy Selmon never ran for a thousand yards, Waymon Tisdale never played in a Final Four, Courtney Paris never won a national championship and, sorry, Jonathan Horton and Bart Conner, but you’ve got to give it to the Sooner southpaw.
“It wasn’t our time,” Ricketts said of last season, when she made the last out against Alabama, a called strike three after midnight in the rain.
It was a long time ago.
Already the only coach of a national championship group of Sooner women, now Gasso’s done it twice.
She has the sluggers coming back to do it again next season, but the circle is a question mark with Ricketts’ and Gascoigne’s departures.
None of it matters for the next several months. What matters is she built this team for the ages, guided it through the minefields of great expectation, well enough to overcome any obstacle, including a three-run deficit in the bottom the 11th inning. After that, Tuesday may have felt like gravy.