OKLAHOMA CITY — Every time she stepped to the plate, it seemed inevitable, yet impossible. It was easy to think, "No way she does it again."
That was especially true at the Women’s College World Series, where Jocelyn Alo caught fire, hitting 12-for-18 with five home runs in just six games.
Every time she stepped to the plate, Hall of Fame Stadium seemed to quiet in anticipation of what would happen next. College softball's "Home Run Queen" left the crowd speechless one last time Thursday night in a 10-5 win over Texas, securing for her team back-to-back national championships, and for her, MVP honors.
Alo’s historic career at Oklahoma came to a close on Thursday, firmly cementing herself as the greatest softball player in the history of the sport and a Sooner legend.
“Man, she loves the Sooners,” head coach Patty Gasso said Thursday night. “She loves the state. She loves everything about OU, and she just wanted to feed the OU fan base everything that she had. She left it all on that field, and she left it in the history books forever.”
While she ended the championship game quietly by her standards — 1-for-3 with a single — she was the biggest star on the biggest stage once again in the Women’s College World Series.
She even got to play a little defense, taking left field for one last curtain call in the seventh inning. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t skip a beat, immediately catching two fly balls.
“I don't think the moment could have been any better,” Alo said. “These are the moments that I'll remember forever, but I'm just happy to be going out on top and to just know that all the hard work we put in paid off. I couldn't have scripted a moment any better for me to exit off the field.”
The Hawaiian finished her storied collegiate career as two-time USA Softball Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-American, two-time Big 12 Player of the Year and the 2022 WCWS Most Outstanding Player. Her power hitting has led the attack of OU’s two-year demolition tour, helping create unseen growth in the sport of softball. There may never be another player quite like her.
“I don't know that we're going to see another hitter like Jocelyn any time soon,” said Gasso. “I’m just trying to revel in all of it, because I think we're seeing another level of excellence and power and preparation. She loves this sport. She's a student of it, she studies it, she loves to play it. She loves to talk about it out loud. She likes to say what she's going to do out loud, and 99.9 percent of the time, she answers her own call.
“I like to use the phrase, 'She’s made differently.' ”
Alo ends her career with the most home runs in softball history, alone at the top with 122. Of those, 30 came during her freshman year, where she caught the softball world by storm by leading the country in home runs. In her career, she had a .990 slugging percentage with 323 RBIs.
This season, she spearheaded the Sooners' charge at a second consecutive national championship. Alo led the nation with 34 home runs while batting .515. She also drove in 85 RBIs.
What’s even more impressive, there was an extended portion of the season where she was chasing the national home run record and teams opted to walk her, limiting her chances at the plate.
One of the biggest moments of her legendary career came in March, when she broke former Sooner Lauren Chamberlain's career home run record with No. 96 in front of her friends and family in her home state of Hawaii.
By the end of her career, Alo had gone from talented freshman to a vocal leader. She became a great teammate, and a key voice in the Sooners’ locker room.
“When I was a freshman, I struggled a little bit, and everybody has that super senior that takes them under their wing,” recalled now-junior Kinzie Hansen. “Mine was Jocelyn. To see her go, she's going to pass the baton down. It's just something that I have always had here, so I hope that, as my class gets older, that we make her proud.
"The super seniors ... have taught us that being a good teammate is the most important thing."
Alo’s impact and legacy go far beyond what she did on the field. She’s inspired never-before-seen interest in the sport of softball and is a major reason for the recent boom. Alo has been a true pillar for the sport off the field, too, influencing a young generation of aspiring home run hitters. Gasso has watched fan interest transform the sport, even calling it a "Beatles moment" for her team and the players as they are greeted by huge crowds wherever they go.
“I've definitely enjoyed my five years,” Alo said. “I’m excited to see what the Sooner softball team does. I'm just excited to see what little girl is going to work hard out there to come and break my record.”
While Gasso searches for the next Home Run Queen — it could be teammate Tiare Jennings, who's hit 56 in her first two seasons — and Alo takes her talents professionally, the record books could remain untouched for quite some time.
Alo undeniably left her mark on college softball, and her storied career won’t be forgotten soon.
Want to join the discussion? Click here to become a member of the AllSooners message board community today!
Follow AllSooners on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest OU news.