The best softball slugger, maybe ever
Jocelyn Alo has been chasing greatness her whole life, but her next home run will leave her with no one left to chase.
Driving the news: The Oklahoma super-senior and reigning national player of the year hit her 95th career HR on Sunday, tying the NCAA record set in 2015 by fellow Sooner Lauren Chamberlain.
By the numbers: Alo is first and foremost a power hitter, but she also walks (134) twice as often as she strikes out (65), and her .429 career batting average is the best in school history.
- 2018: .420/.549/.977, 30 HR, 72 RBI, 49 BB and 19 K in 62 games
- 2019: .379/.484/.730, 16 HR, 56 RBI, 30 BB and 20 K in 59 games
- 2020: .427/.506/.813, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 12 BB and 5 K in 24 games
- 2021: .475/.566/1.109, 34 HR, 89 RBI, 38 BB and 16 K in 60 games
- 2022: .500/.595/1.300, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 5 BB and 5 K in 10 games
The backdrop: Alo's journey began when she was 4 years old, taking 1,000 swings a day off her dad's pitching in Oahu, Hawaii. By seventh grade, she was playing with 18-year-olds.
- Alo's biggest challenge came as a college sophomore, when opponents pitched around the feared slugger. She started pressing, and became so frustrated that her coach mandated a two-week break.
- "I had to take a softball cleanse and get back to being that kid who loved hitting balls in the park," she told ESPN. Suffice it to say, the strategy worked.
What to watch: Alo can break the record as soon as this Friday, when the defending national champions look to continue their scorching start. The Sooners (10-0) are outscoring opponents 95-2 (!!!).
Looking ahead: The best college baseball hitters head to the MLB draft. Where might the best college softball hitter go next?
- Athletes Unlimited, the fantasy-style league with lacrosse, basketball and volleyball, begins its third softball season in July.
- Women's Professional Fastpitch will launch its inaugural season in June, with Chamberlain serving as commissioner.
- National Pro Fastpitch had been around since 2004, but after losing two seasons to the pandemic, it suspended operations last fall.