NORMAN, Okla. — Georgia Casey’s two-run home run highlighted a four-run fourth inning as the Oklahoma softball team closed out its fall season with a 5-3 victory over the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) All-Stars Thursday night at Marita Hynes Field.
The exhibition contest was part of the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour, which included 21 stops across 16 states with games against 22 different schools in a 40-day span. The All-Stars’ trip to Norman was the final stop on the tour.
“I appreciate it so much that they come out here and play us,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said after the game. “It makes us see the level that we can play at.
“I like to use this game to allow my younger players to see how the game is supposed to be played, by watching how these elite athletes play and handle themselves.”
After NPF opened the scoring in the top of the fourth, Oklahoma rallied back for four runs in the bottom of the frame.
Jessica Shults led off with a single before advancing to second on a passed ball. Keilani Ricketts then singled to right field to knot the game up at 1-1. Casey followed and drilled a two-run home run to center field to put the Sooners ahead 3-1.
Oklahoma kept the inning alive long enough to allow Destinee Martinez to drive in a run of her own with a single to make the game 4-1 in favor of the Sooners after four innings.
The All-Stars cut the margin to two runs after the fifth inning, but the Sooners got the run back in the sixth.
After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Martinez advanced to second when Lauren Chamberlain singled off of NPF pitcher Hillary Bach. Shults then came through with an RBI single to center field to make it 5-2.
NPF added one run in the seventh inning, but it was too little, too late.
Ricketts got the victory, pitching 5.1 innings of work with four hits allowed and three strikeouts. She walked one batter and gave up a pair of unearned runs.
Michelle Gascoigne came in relief to get the final four outs.
The Sooners pounded out 11 hits off Bach, who pitched all six innings with four strikeouts and two walks. All five runs she surrendered were earned.
With the fall season complete, Oklahoma looks ahead to the 2013 season, which begins on Feb. 8 at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz.
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.