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Oklahoma Sooners bring softball to the forefront with remarkable winning streak

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

This has become a very familiar sound for college softball's Oklahoma Sooners.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Ballgame Oklahoma.

KELLY: The Sooners have won 57 games this season. They have lost just three.

JESSE CRITTENDEN: And to do it in such dominating fashion.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Jesse Crittenden is sports editor of the Norman Transcript, the local newspaper. Oklahoma has been so dominant that it's won 40 games by the mercy rule, which is pretty much what it sounds like.

CRITTENDEN: Almost all of those wins are, you know, where they've scored so many runs that the game is called early.

KELLY: He notes the Sooners were already NCAA tournament champions last year, and this season, they have somehow managed to level up.

CRITTENDEN: I think it's hard to kind of grasp just how unreal this team has been this year.

KELLY: Oklahoma's hitters have the highest batting average in the country. Their pitchers have the lowest earned run average in the country.

PFEIFFER: And then there's the all-time home run leader of college softball, Jocelyn Alo.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Jocelyn Alo.

PFEIFFER: On Monday, she sent the Sooners to the final round of the Women's College World Series with a grand slam, naturally.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: ...Is a grand slam.

KELLY: They'll face the Texas Longhorns, their school's archrivals, at least in football. But Crittenden expects that Sooner softball fans will show up in force.

CRITTENDEN: Part of what's made this so special for the community in Norman, where the Sooners are, is it's not only how successful this team has been, but softball really wasn't a huge sport. I think they've played a big role in how big the sport has become not only locally but across the country as well.

KELLY: Now, the Longhorns are one of the three teams that has beaten Oklahoma this year. But star player Jocelyn Alo says that defeat - it's history, and they plan to keep it that way.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOCELYN ALO: No one beats the Sooners twice.

PFEIFFER: The best-of-three series for the NCAA championship starts on Wednesday in nearby Oklahoma City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.