Hansen, No. 1 Oklahoma open Love’s Field with walk-off win over Miami

Courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics

4,200 seats and not a single person was sitting. It felt like a deja vu from last May. Top-ranked Oklahoma had trailed for most of the game, even seeing what was a four-run lead vanish in the seventh inning. Kinzie Hansen stood in the box, every eye in Norman on her, knowing she had the last great moment at Marita Hynes Field and was mere seconds away from making the first at Love’s Field.

The ever-clutch Hansen would not let the Sooner faithful down, not in this storybook ending. From Miami’s Addy Jarvis in the circle to Oklahoma fans watching on the East Coast, everyone knew the moment the ball cracked the bat, Hansen had done it again. She lifted the ball to left field as she did last May against Clemson, but this time her two-run blast ended the game as Oklahoma beat Miami 9-7.

There are plenty of takeaways one could have after this game. One very well could be that Oklahoma doesn’t look as ‘dominant’ as the past few years. Personally, I don’t care how a team that has decisively won the past three national championships and now 68 straight games wins. Maybe that can be a discussion if the Sooners lose a game for the first time in a calendar year.

Regardless of what you think of Oklahoma, it has set the standard. The trophies are great. The All-Americans are wonderful. But that brand-new stadium with fans dying to be a part of history. That’s what every program should strive for, that’s what I hope softball continues to push toward.

We watched Allie Cummins, Jenna Golembiewski and Karli Spaid hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, everyone in the softball community felt shellshocked. ‘What just happened?’ Everyone talking about the same game across social media platforms. That’s cool! It’s a community, as it should be.

The David and Goliath matchup on paper was tied up at seven in the seventh. But let’s be clear that Miami is not your typical “David”, Kirin Kumar’s program has been one of the nation’s best offenses the past few years led by Spaid, who now has 77 career home runs after her multi-homer day including the first at softball’s new mecca.

Each time one of the Redhawks returned to the dugout following their roundtripper, they didn’t look like a team scared of softball’s best. That too is what softball should be about. Every single team competing pitch by pitch regardless of the opponent.

Oklahoma’s dominance has overshadowed it, but the parity in softball’s current state can’t be overlooked. Is it worth considering that every team is giving Oklahoma its best shot and teams are better? I think it’s worth putting a thought to.

The opening game at Love’s Field will be one to remember for various reasons. It’s also important to remember that Oklahoma won’t win every single title till the end of time.  UConn women’s basketball’s dynasty eventually came to an end and it made the sport better for it as we see it today. I’m sure decades from now we’ll look back on this game, the excitement, the joy of unveiling that stadium and the real-time moment of Hansen’s walk-off about how it helped make our game better for the future.

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