OU softball: Sooners to face 5 teams in 3 days at Cathedral City Classic
While on a break in between games during last week‘s road trip, OU softball coach Patty Gasso watched the Alabama-Georgia Tech matchup and recognized a fault within her team she hadn’t seen before.
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
San Diego State
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Cathedral City Classic
in Palm Springs, Calif.
“It was good for me to see these two top-25 teams in action because I got to see that our batting lineup is just not up to those team’s standards,” Gasso said. “We are not decisive on what pitches to take, and a 1-0 run against us should not hold up if we want to compete with teams like that.”
And Gasso was right. The Sooners found themselves a run behind Georgia Tech last week with no time left to make a comeback.
With their season’s first loss still fresh on the Sooners’ minds, the team (6-1) takes to the road to redeem itself this weekend at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. OU will battle through a late-night doubleheader against San Diego State at 8 p.m. and UC Davis at 10:30 p.m. Thursday before meeting Boise State, Stanford and Georgia a day later.
“The goal this weekend is to go out to make attitude adjustments and to stand up to the teams like Stanford and Georgia,” Gasso said. “We have to focus on getting our hitters throughout the lineup to hit it and go.”
Not only will the Sooners look to bounce back from their one loss, but OU also will be looking for better results in this year’s Cathedral Classic after bringing home a 1-4 record from last season’s trip. And with half the Sooner roster originally hailing from California, this weekend’s contests gives the OU team a reason to step up in familiar territory.
“We’re going out there this weekend wanting to get ahead in the (pitching) counts,” junior catcher Jessica Shults said. “We want to be smarter about the pitches and really don’t want to become defensive hitters.”
One person that could make a difference during this weekend’s competition is freshman infielder Lauren Chamberlain. In the leadoff spot, Chamberlain currently leads the team in RBIs (11) and home runs (4).
Gasso said the rest of the OU lineup also is creating opportunities for Chamberlain.
“The bottom half of our lineup is doing a good job at finding ways to get on base,” Gasso said. “They’re allowing Lauren to be explosive and execute runs for us.”
But with that type of success comes negative publicity for the freshman hitter as coaches start to pitch around the leadoff and go after the two-hole hitter.
“Opposing coaches are trying to go after (Chamberlain) so we might shift Shults to the two-hole spot,” Gasso said. “That way coaches won’t try to take the bat out of Lauren’s hands.”
Either way, Chamberlain isn’t letting her current hitting success overpower the goals set by the entire team.
“Last weekend was a learning process, and it showed that we need to work better together as a team,” Chamberlain said. “We’ve still got a ways to go this season.”
Shults, who typically bats in the three-hole spot, also isn’t hesitant about moving up in the lineup if it means it will help the team.
“I’m surrounded by great leaders, we have a great lineup from No. 1-9, and I‘m not afraid to go up there and take a swing,” Shults said. “I know that anyone can step up and get the job done if we need it, so it doesn’t put that much more pressure on me.”