This Campbell High Grad Will Be All Over ESPN, All Month
Campbell High grad Jocelyn Alo, last seen putting fear into the hearts of local softball pitchers and coaches, hit 24 home runs this year for Oklahoma and led them to a top seed in the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
She’s hit four more in the tournament. Yesterday, Alo was named Freshman of the Year. And Oklahoma is 5-0 in the tournament. The Sooners are one of eight teams in the Women’s College World Series.
All of the WCWS games will be on ESPN, so we can all follow along together as one of the state’s best-ever high school athletes tries to win a national championship.
Game one, vs. Washington, is Thursday at 8:30 am HST, on ESPN. UPDATE: Alo was 1-3, but Oklahoma lost 2-0 to Washington. They’ll play a loser-out game Saturday morning, at 6am HST, vs. Arizona State. The game will be on ESPN.
Alo’s 4 tournament home runs (in just five games) have put her at 28 for the year, just two shy of the all-time NCAA single-season record. Notice when you watch these highlights—these pitchers aren’t missing their spots. All of these pitches are slightly out of the strike zone. But Alo is just so good, she hits them out anyway.
Alo’s first homer of the tournament, on a pitch that’s low and away:
No. 4 @OU_Softball continues to pile it on with a Jocelyn Alo bomb to right center in the 4th!
Oklahoma 6 | Boston 0 pic.twitter.com/6KGH88AIBR
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 19, 2018
Alo’s second homer of the tournament, on a pitch that’s inside:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) May 19, 2018
Alo’s third homer of the tournament, on a pitch that’s up and in:
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 25, 2018
Alo’s fourth homer of the tournament, on a pitch that’s below her knees:
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 26, 2018
“It’s extremely difficult to pitch to her,” Oklahoma’s star pitcher Paige Parker tells Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman. “There’s really not a whole lot of weakness there at all.”
Alo’s rookie year success did not surprise Parker and the other Oklahoma teammates who had to pitch to her in practice before the season started.
“She mishits a ball and it’s a home run, or it’s the hardest groundball I’ve ever had to field,” said one.
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) February 3, 2018
“It’s scary how strong that girl is,” said another “I’m like, ‘can I play right field please?’”
Parker said: “She hits the ball harder than anybody I’ve ever faced.”
This is significant, because when Parker was a freshman, Oklahoma had Lauren Chamberlain, then a senior, who set the NCAA’s all-time Division 1 home run record with 91. Parker’s faced both, and says Alo hits harder.
For her part, Alo shrugs off such comparisons, telling John McKelvey of the Norman Transcript: “(Lauren’s) great. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be like her someday. But I’m here to make a name for myself, for Jocelyn, not to live in her footsteps.”
She’s already made a name for herself in this tournament, her first extended exposure to a national audience. As Oklahoma tries to win their third straight title, Alo isn’t rowing solo here. Oklahoma is stacked, and has won the last two national championships. Star pitcher Paige Parker is, like Alo, one of 10 finalists for National Player of the Year.
Parker, who’s from Missouri, throws so hard, when a catcher for the Kansas City Royals tried to warm her up, she knocked him over:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 27, 2017
Leadoff hitter Sydney Romero, from San Diego, is another strong paddler, she batted .450 for the season.
Friday’s game is Game 1 of a four-team, double-elimination regional that Oklahoma must win to advance. As the #4 overall seed, and host of the regional, they’re heavy favorites. TV schedules for the rest of the games will depend on outcomes, but I’ll post updates here.
If Oklahoma wins the regional this weekend, they’ll host a best of three “Super Regional.” Win that, and it would mean Alo’s first trip to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, all shown live.
Local softball fans will be watching, because even those who got to see Alo suit up for Campbell may not have gotten to see her hit that much. Many teams walked Alo rather than risk allowing a home run–13 times out of 17 at bats in her final state tournament. Some college teams have started to do the same.
In a game in late April, the University of Texas walked Alo in all three of her plate appearances, all on 4 pitches.
2018 began with one west side native, Tua Tagovailoa, tossing a national-championship-winning walk-off touchdown pass—which the ‘Ewa Beach Boys & Girls Club is celebrating with a parade on Saturday.
Could June see us celebrating a national-championship-winning walk-off home run by Alo? If so, it might look something like this:
All photos via University of Oklahoma