My Thoughts and Concerns (?) From Opening Weekend

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TropicalSooner
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My Thoughts and Concerns (?) From Opening Weekend

Post by TropicalSooner »

My earlier thoughts from last week about the games in Puerta Vallarta was that if we performed as expected and came away with two wins over Top Ten ranked teams and two Run Rule victories, I would be happy.
Well, we almost got that: we had two wins over Top Ten ranked teams and one Run Rule win. Of course I am happy with those, and the last game win was enough for a run-rule, if it had come a few innings earlier. But yet...as I think about what occurred in all those wins....I don't have any doubts really, but in the back of my mind, I have a few concerns starting to percolate.
Were we dominating in any of those wins? I don't think so. Maybe Utah Valley perhaps. But this whole weekend really, it seemed like we weren't firing on all cylinders....we had a bad plug in there somewhere.
Here's what I feel about this weeked:

I was surprised at the lack of production of the top half of the line up. Where did Coleman finish up? At .188 and drew only 1 walk with 2 K's. Almost seemed like she wasn't as disciplined as she usually is.
You know who the top 4 producers were? Brito with 3 HRs was nails-as always-but the other three were Pickering, Boonie, and Sanders.

The Pitching staff-- Again, they all won, of course, but I guess I was hoping for better from Deal and May. I remember last year May was getting 10K's against Liberty and 8 K's in 3 innings and the save over Washington when Jordy started slipping.
And I was hoping that Deal would be the budding star of the future, but after this weekend, I'm not quite as sure.
I believe KellyMax is as advertised. I think she is still settling in, in a Sooner Uniform, but from a smile I saw, I think she is thrilled to have the Sooner Defense behind her and the Offense to support her.
I did like what I saw from Karlie Keeney and Patyn Monticelli. I they will be very helpful as we play out the season.
I will mention this-- I'm not convinced that either side got good treatment from the umpiring crew this weekend. From the "obstruction" call--which Washington benefitted from, or the tag out at home not called--which we benefitted from, and I guess an "uncertain" strike zone? Perhaps that was a non-issue--since OUBeliever was actually there, he would have a much better feel for that.

Future competition:

Well, this was eye-opening.
Anybody catch any of the Longhorn games?
Their beatdown of lowly UCLA was nothing short of impressive. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with. Will they be the "Luke Skywalker" that takes out "The DeathStar" -(the Sooners) ? Time will tell. But from how they played and how we played this weekend....that is uncomfortably possible. Not only UCLA, but the other Texas games-- 2 against San Diego: 19-0 and 16-0 both 5 inn, and the first game with the Bruins where they won 3-2 against UCLA's only Ace left-Tinsley. Their win last night over the Bruins, 16-0, bested our record of 15-0 from two years ago at the WCWS. The Horns walk away from this weekend scoring 38 runs and only allowing 2.
Now, I will say this about UCLA. This is not the Bruins of old. When you get past Taylor Tinsley (Tinseltown as she's sometimes referred as) they really have nobody. Their young freshman, Kaitlyn Terry has a long way to grow. She had a lead of 7-3 going into the top of the 7th over San Diego, but couldn't close them out. Terry started getting wild and the Torero's scored 3 runs and Tinsley had to come in and get final K to end the game. In the last game with Texas, Jada Cecil-transf fr UC San Diego was simply no match for Gutierrez. One last thing about Texas, their new Frosh, Teagan Kavan got the win in their first game against the Bruins working 5 innings with Gutierrez getting the save. Tinsley took the loss but pitched for all 7 innings.

Fla State: Struggling with the pitching staff. Reid may not be the leader for them this year--may turn out to be seldom used but 5th yr Senior Emma Wilson. Freshman Ashtyn Danley had freshman jitters and still a work in progress. Not sure if they'll make it to OKC after all.

Stanford: Canady picked up right where she left off from last year. Nothing by K's for that Cardinal. Kentucky's Schoonover did win her battle against Canady 3-2 in 8 innings. Canady, like Bahl, is going to wind up depending on a shaky offense to at least put up some runs and find a defense before they'll make it to OKC. After Canady, their staff is pretty thin--came away from opening weekend 2-2.

Nebraska: Jordy was injured in the second inning of Game 1 with Washington, ultimately losing 8-0 in 5 inn. The degree of Bahl's injury will determine the future of the Huskers. Without Jordy, it's a long season.

Covered a lot of ground here.

I wish I had a better feel for our Sooners. As one Sooner Fan commented in a chat room...it just didn't feel like they had any energy---seemed flat---no joy.
I miss the days when they scooped up the dirt with their fingers and dropped it.
I guess maybe we've matured beyond that.....but bring back some joy....please?

Can't wait for OUBeliever's take on the weekend.

Boomer!
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Post by inconnu »

PREDICTION: Unless Stanford becomes a much better hitting team, Canady will go portal after this season. Yeah, no idea where she will end up.
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Post by 1KCSoonerFan »

Dear Tropical,

The only time you go for too long is the time between sharing your thoughts!

Your comments are thought-provoking for me. I may go on a little too long myself - only following my mentor, you see! Ha!

OU Is Mushy and Does Not Seem Dominant Right Now:
* This is True! I don't know why it 'seems' like this is true. Maybe we are ahead of last year's numbers or not?. No need to excuse or explain it away, IMO. (However, it won't stop me from doing so! Ha!)

* It may be the loss of Grace Lyons and the battle to figure out the infield that has the team "off balance" right now. The Team IS off-balance right now because a major pillar for the last five years is missing for the coaches, and new and returning players. The batting line up and loss of production changes; Position players change; And this trickles into coaching, leadership, tactics, and overall performance. It's like losing your All American quarterback!

* I'm Not counting OU out of the hunt in 2025, however, the loss of Grace Lyons (and Grace Green, too!) and their 5-year senior/culture/confidence will come to roost after OU lost them and 10 more to graduation at the end of this year. I'm bracing myself, and yet believe in the team and see a new generation of players coming soon! Pass the Torch, ladies!!!

* Coach has thought about this transition for a couple of years now. I expect she is going to put her squad through the grist mill.

* I always wrestle with my own hopes and wishes and have to balance that with the facts in front of me. The Team already seems to know it is just a game - not a proxy war for self-worth and the illusion of control over outcomes. (Not saying anyone else sees it this way, just my hunches about why some get so over-the-top invested/angry/critical in this wonderful Women's SPORT.)

Comparisons to Other Teams:
* Comparisons always get me in trouble. (Just like Expectations, Laughing Eyes, and Red Solo Cups!)

* Who knows, OU may have beaten UCLA 30-0 on that day! (Texas could only manage 16 runs?!) Texas IS good and will get OU's full attention....perhaps to their chagrin in the end!) I wish we had them at Love's Field this year! Win or Lose we will learn from them. That's a key to this Program's dominance of the sport right now. (Don't be Bitter, get Better.) I wouldn't trade our future for Texas's future.

* I like the idea of being the BEST we can be with what we have to BE the best. We are already winning in a way that is the greatest of all time in the sport. OU sets a new record with every win at this point. I ground myself with this: Victory is sometimes a Golden Calf...and Losing can be a Golden Opportunity. (sounds corny, but it true, IME)

The Team Was Flat:
* Are the Seniors crusing? It seemed like OU was flat and yet TRA is on pace for 30 HR's this season, and Brito is sopping her biscuit in long ball gravy. Maxwell and Keeney, killing it and winning it. Boone is ballin'! Pickering wearing the mantle of excellence so far. Maybe we just face other really great teams and pitchers at times? (I heard on the radio that PG had the Team kneeling in the outfield after the game with WU....would have loved to be a chigger to hear what she said to them!)

* OUSB is/was excoriated by anonymous fans on social media to dial back the expression of joy for success....and the smaller the expression seemed to draw the largest ire. Why? I don't know. This all feeds into something deeper than I have grad-school hours to analyze. I hope the Team expresses their Joy how They want to express it. Is that Freedom? And that goes for how the first team to beat OU wants to express their joy, too.

Jordy:
* She is first and foremost a young woman who is a unique and amazing talent - with dreams, hopes, and aspirations of what she wants life to look like for her in Her future, not mine.. Girls to Women, right? We all want her to feel good about herself and enjoy her life, right? She does Jordy, right? (If anyone has another plan for her life and future, I'm sure the mail runs by her house. Please double space paragraphs, and try to limit to 50 pages or less. Ha!)

OUSB Performance So Far:
* Honestly, I cannot complain about being undefeated after the PV tourney! I am thrilled and find myself smiling throughout the day at the extension of the all-time NCAA mark for consecutive wins! History folks! We were there!

* Many seemed to be happy with 3 and 1 win-loss record before the first pitch of the season. Now that we went 4-0, however, there are Issues. I don't disagree that there Are issues to address, to CRUSH the opposition rather than merely beat them, but I am looking at MY OWN issues (expectations, etc.) along with the Team's. My life is not their life.

Maybe I can grow as a person with the Team, too.

Thanks, Tropical, for your posts!
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Post by cushcreekmont »

"Concerns" are reasonable even for the 1927 Yankees (during the early season, not after).

May has given up 6 hits in 7 innings (would be 5 had the obstruction call been an out), but that is higher per inning than the other 4 not named Deal (7 hits in 2.2 innings).

May has never been a 1 - Juarez, Trautwein, Bahl were 1s. My guess is Maxwell is the 1 and May can still do well as a 2 (or 2b with Keeney)

I cannot imagine it not happening, but until Coleman becomes the leadoff-sparkplug-Coleman of the last two years, the team won't fire on all cylinders.


As for texsa - LONG ways until we play that team. The other difference is the shorthorns hope to win - the Sooners expect to win.
texsa sucks!
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Post by SoonerGirl1201 »

These are great posts that sum up what I saw really well. I will just add I'm in agreement that texas is going to be very tough this year and may very well be our biggest competition. Those games in austin are going to be tough and I'm already expecting at least one loss.

Agreed with the hitting line-up. I do know that Patty always seems to do this to start the season, play around until she finds the right order. I think she will continue that until it works. I think the 2 that you can ALWAYS count on are Brito and Boone. I would love to see her start maybe with Boone hitting first and then keeping Brito as cleanup. I could see a lineup of Boone, Coleman, Jennings, Brito, and then from there I'm open ... Seems like Jayda needs someone setting the stage for her a bit.

As for pitching - I'm even more thankful for Maxwell after this weekend. Can you imagine if we didn't have her. We very well would have most likely lost to Washington and we would have all been looking at the looming year with a little less excitement. I'm happy for us that we have Maxwell and happy for her too - as I think she is once again enjoying softball.
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Post by inconnu »

I'm pretty excited about Keeney, too...and maybe Monticelli.
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Post by TropicalSooner »

Let me add some clarification to my earlier comments regarding UCLA. As I said, this is not the UCLA of the past. Texas (and OSU for that matter) did not beat Megan Faraimo, nor Brooke Yanez. They didn't even beat Lauren Shaw. They certainly did not beat Rachel Garcia. Taylor Tinsley put up a good fight in their first game when she was fresh. But she only pitched a total of 57 innings for the entirety of last year. And this year, she's their ace? Their number two, Jada Cecil comes from UC San Diego which is in the Big West Conference, which is not even a G5 level conference. Number 3 is Kaitlyn Terry a freshman who may have potential but is far from being that reliable go to pitcher they've had in the past. Cecil started the second runaway game, but when she was pulled, the pitcher that replaced her? Mackenzie Ficke--a walk on they signed in January that has no stats since High School back in 2021. She lasted for 8 batters while giving up 4 walks and a grand slam.
Their fielding this weekend you have to say was, well, bizarre. They made a total of 7 errors this weekend. The Sooners had 19 for all of last year.

Don't get me wrong. Texas is still dangerous. And they will absolutely be the team to beat in conference. Their offensive output opening weekend was indeed impressive. But so was ours when we played UT El Paso and Abilene Christian to open back in 2021. Their new freshman pitcher Kavan will be one to watch, to see if she indeed is one of those rare phenom's that pop up once in awhile. But we have seen the rest of their pitching staff and have been successful against them.
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Post by TropicalSooner »

KC--
Thank you for your kind words.
I do enjoy working up these posts and sharing them on SoonerTimes.
But I have found that as we age, some things take unexpected turns.
My much better half requires more of my time and attention now as she struggles with some aging issues, and I will just have less time to research and provide my thoughts on previews and post game.
I will still try to compose what I can and I am happy that you and most folks here seem to enjoy them.
Thanks again.
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