The Rain Finally Ended. The Reign Might Not Ever End.

You’d be hard-pressed to logically explain why of all places the NCAA has chosen Oklahoma City as its permanent destination for its Women’s College World Series.  It certainly can’t be the climate.  Even the innoucous Weather Atlas sells it down the river:

The city sees varying weather throughout the year, with moderate to substantial fluctuations in key weather parameters. A constant is the relative humidity, that fluctuates slightly on the higher side, ranging from 60% to 73% throughout the year, the highest being in May at 73%.

Rainfall in Oklahoma City is characterized by monthly averages from 1.02″ (26mm) in the drier winter months to 4.09″ (104mm) in May, the wettest month. Concurrently, the number of rainy days ranges from 4.5 to 14.5 days, with the maximum number of rainy days occurring in May.

On the other hand, it is less than half an hour away from Norman, which houses college softball’s best-in-class for the duration of this decade.  And despite some of the wet weather that gave its opponent a chance to regroup and send them to the precipice of elimination, they are now on the precipice of a truly historic accomplishment.

Per THE ASSOCIATED PRESS’ Cliff Brunt:

Oklahoma needs just one more win to make softball history.

Tiare Jennings’ two-run homer in the first inning sparked an 8-3 win over Texas on Wednesday night that left the Sooners one victory short of a record fourth straight Women’s College World Series title.

Oklahoma (58-7) had nine hits and three home runs against a Texas squad that had thrown three one-hit shutouts in three World Series games.

It was another chapter in the storied rivalry between the programs, which will both leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference next year. Oklahoma beat Texas in the national championship series in 2022. Texas won the Big 12 regular-season title this year, but Oklahoma won the conference tournament.

And this on the heels of an even more thrilling and needed comeback the night before which the AP also reported on:

Jayda Coleman hit a game-ending homer in the eighth inning to give Oklahoma a 6-5 victory over Florida in the Women’s College World Series semifinals on Tuesday(.)  Coleman sent Keagan Rothrock’s 154th pitch of the game just past the outstretched glove of left fielder Korbe Otis and over the fence.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, lost to Florida 9-3 a day earlier and had to rally from a three-run deficit in Tuesday’s elimination game.

Florida led 5-2 on Tuesday when Oklahoma’s Cydney Sanders hit a two-run homer to center in the fourth inning. In the sixth, (Ella) Parker tied it with a two-out RBI single that scored Avery Hodge from second.

I think one of the better games in College World Series history,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “A nail-biter. A little bit of everything.”

At a time when women’s sports are reaching record levels of popularity, softball is still trailing others, in large part because at the moment there is still no viable professional league for these stars to graduate into.  A few half-hearted attempts have been made over the years.  And after a showcasing at the fan-less 2021 Tokyo Olympics, there won’t even be an Olympic team fielded this year in Paris.

But there is a Women’s National Team, and per USA Softball this is where they’ll be headed:

  1. 2024 WBSC Women’s World Cup:

For the record, Italy’s least rainy month is July.

And it might just provide enough exposure and attention to at least reopen conversations for some sort of effort for champions to extend their careers and their opportunties to ingratitate themselves into national zeitgeist.

Champions deserve at least that.

Courage…

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