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Old 06-08-2015, 07:43 AM   #1
SoonerNorm
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Default Softball

Starting a new thread for just for softball.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:25 AM   #2
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It's not likely that we will again see the likes of Lauren Chamberlin, ever. Pendly never hit especially well in the playoffs but is tearing it up in the pros already. Has there ever been a class anywhere with two such as Lauren and Shelby? According to the ratings, Gasso has reloaded big-time with the incoming class. I'm especially anxious to see what those two pitchers can do. If Stevens gets her mojo back, will one redshirt? Two? Will Paige develop another pitch to go with her repetoir? 10 years ago women's sports was nowhere except for basketball. Now look. Cant wait for next season.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:56 AM   #3
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In all the time Coach Gasso had been at OU, I don't remember any player red shirting.. Maybe for a medical, but that would be the only reason.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:29 PM   #4
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In all the time Coach Gasso had been at OU, I don't remember any player red shirting.. Maybe for a medical, but that would be the only reason.
Yes, women rarely, if ever, redshirt, in any sport, unless there is an injury.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:41 PM   #5
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Lauren and Shelby will be on CBS Sports Network this evening at 6pm.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:21 PM   #6
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:43 PM   #7
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Our pitching staff will need to be the strength of the team next season as you lose two of the top hitters in the Gasso era. The only established hitters remaining are Erin Miller, Kady Self, and Paige Parker. There will be a lot of competition in the fall to see who will fill out the lineup.
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:51 PM   #8
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I don't know if our hitting will fall off that much, especially if we consider effective hitting. If you exclude Lauren and Shelby totally, OU still had more home runs than Bama did at the end of the Super-Regionals. We will retain a considerable amount of power, and we are supposedly adding a little power to the lineup.

I look for Erin Miller and Kady Self to have superior years, probably hitting 400+ with at least 12-15 home runs. That isn't that much of an improvement. The key will be whether they pick up on their key hitting or not. Self did have a home run in the Supers. But, both struggled with people on base at times late in the year.

Paige may have the best bat control on the team. She seems difficult to strike out with runners on base. She showed power early, but backed off late. I wonder if she isn't a 15+ home run hitter who will hit 400+?

Nicole looked like a superstar in the making, and Patti is still extremely high on her. She did struggle late in the year. She went from someone with a perfect swing and good bad control to someone who had lost the zone. She could easily be a 400+, 15 HR type of player. She has the tools.

I was rather high on Whitney Ellis at the end of the year. As others were receding a bit, she was getting some consistent hits, although the people in front of her were not getting on base often. She has some power which she didn't show this year. She went from 12 to about 2 home runs, but increased her doubles to about 12. She was first or second on the team in doubles with Shelby. If she can lay off the rise ball, she can be a good hitter. She hits it hard when she hits it, and she was over a 300 hitter.

I though Kelsey Arnold was an OK hitter with some power once she switched back to right-handed. She doesn't have the speed of a slapper. She can at least hit around 300. Needs to learn the strike zone from the right side.

I think that Knighten and Romero will both hit at least 300, probably closer to 400. Both have some power. Lundberg may not hit 400, but I would be surprised if she didn't hit at least ten home runs.

I just don't think we'll suffer that much in power, maybe from about 105 to 85. I think we may fall from about 385 to about 355. Most teams don't have that. We didn't show it in the playoffs. Let's see how we prepare for those.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:19 PM   #9
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I agree. I don't think our hitting will drop off much, if any. I just want Paige to have quality back ups, whether Kelsey gets her mojo back or the freshmen arrive ready to play. Preferably both happen!
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:46 PM   #10
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I just saw Lauren strike out against a rise ball. If we could learn either to hit or lay off the rise ball we would be unbeatable.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:09 PM   #11
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For the most part, you don't want to hit the rise ball. It is usually outside the strike zone which is the problem. You are two inches under the ball. If you do hit a ball that high, it is difficult to get on top of it. Most likely, you will pop out. The pitcher counts on you swinging at a non-strike. Some rise balls are ineffective. They aren't high enough or don't give the impression that they are that high. They have to be able to trick your mind.

When you watch hitters who see a good rise ball fairly often, which we don't, they simply let it sail out of the zone. It forces the pitcher to throw into the zone, and that often makes them very vulnerable. You see teams explode against rise ball pitchers because they force the ball down. Of course, an umpire can call a rise a strike when it isn't. But, it is usually the hitter who is making the mistake. It doesn't actually rise.
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:23 AM   #12
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It's not likely that we will again see the likes of Lauren Chamberlin, ever. Pendly never hit especially well in the playoffs but is tearing it up in the pros already. Has there ever been a class anywhere with two such as Lauren and Shelby? According to the ratings, Gasso has reloaded big-time with the incoming class. I'm especially anxious to see what those two pitchers can do. If Stevens gets her mojo back, will one redshirt? Two? Will Paige develop another pitch to go with her repetoir? 10 years ago women's sports was nowhere except for basketball. Now look. Cant wait for next season.
I think we will have some great hitters next year. I don't think there will be much drop off - shoot Brittany Finney (the pitcher) hit 38 homers in HS - the Kansas State Record. There is no doubt that Sydney Romero is the real deal - she is currently SS on the USA Junior National Team. I think what you will see next year is a young and hungry talented softball team.

I doubt Stevens will be in the mix next year. You could tell the lack of confidence that Gasso had in her final interviews about the season. It will be all about Paige, Finney, and Chestnut. The biggest change with Paige will be increased velocity with control. They slowed her down to 65 mph this year for control - I expect she will be humming at 68-70. Don't be surprised to see the cropduster show up.
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:29 PM   #13
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We also lost leadership and defense from this years seniors. Probably good with Miller, Self and Paige as leaders, but how will our defense be? Shelby, Lauren, and Casey always looked smooth and confident. Do we have adequate or better infielders?
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:57 PM   #14
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No replacement for Pendley at shortstop but I think the other two we can have similar play at those positions.
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:49 PM   #15
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I think Knighten and Romero are supposed to be among the best middle infielder prospects ever. I figure short and second are covered. Romero may only hit 65 home runs instead of 86.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:04 PM   #16
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No replacement for Pendley at shortstop but I think the other two we can have similar play at those positions.
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I think Knighten and Romero are supposed to be among the best middle infielder prospects ever. I figure short and second are covered. Romero may only hit 65 home runs instead of 86.
Agree with upper quote. No one could possibly replace Shelby Pendley at short. She was (still is) only the best defensive middle infielder I've ever seen.

And sybarite, if you're right about Knighten and Romero, that's great. It will, at least, soften the blow of losing the best infielder ever.

By the way, did any of you see Shelby open last night's game with a homer to centerfield? That girl is on fire.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:13 PM   #17
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http://www.pe.com/articles/romero-69...-murrieta.html

A little story about Romero suggests why I think this kid will break in fast. I hate strikeouts. She struck out three times in highschool in 314 chances. She went 270 appearances without a K. Her coach said she may be a better all-around hitter than her sister.

Shelby did have one defensive weakness, going back on pop ups. That isn't unusual for an infielder. You don't get as much experience with pop ups as outfielders do. I played infield, and I hated the pop up right behind me, especially if it was pretty deep. Do you turn and run?

We had two outfielders that had a similar problem: line drives straight at them. Erin and Nicole had a couple get over their head because they didn't know how to play the ball straight at them and over their head, hardest play in the outfield.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:26 AM   #18
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Final poll has Florida at #1 of course and OU at 9. A compliment to OU softball, teams 1 thru 8 were all WCWS teams, so OU was the best team not in the series this year. Fair enough.

I feel good about next year. Romero is a beast and we will have strong pitching.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:14 AM   #19
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The primary reason that OU has been so good on defense is Patti Gasso. She is the ultimate at preparing the infield. Defense is her top priority. By the time, the season comes around Romero and Knighton will continue OU's spectacular defense. Kelsey Arnold was spectacular at 3B this past season. I predict OU might actually improve on defense because of range.

I agree that Shelby was spectacular at SS this year, however, people need to remember that she played 3rd base during her first two years at OU. In 2013, the national title year, OU had Jessica Vest at SS and in 2014, another WCWS year, OU had Georgia Casey at SS.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:55 AM   #20
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Shelby was the best defensive shortstop I've ever seen (fielding stats may prove me wrong but stats don't always tell the whole story). Lauren was a great first baseman as well. I doubt we will be as good defensively next year, particularly early in the season.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:02 AM   #21
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Shelby was great. Range ok, arm exceptional.

Casey was strong.

But all indications are that Romero and Knighten are at least their equals in fielding. Whomever plays SS may not have quite the arm strength the first year, but possibly better range.

Not sure why you think we'll drop off defensively. Arnold was incredible from day one. She had ONE error on the year, and that was in the NCAA's. Romero and Knighten have just as strong ratings defensively.

Not sure whom we'll replace Lauren with. Could drop off there.

Plus or minus, we'll likely be about the same defensively.

Offensively, that's another issue. Shelby and Lauren hit 47 home runs. We'll not get anywhere near that from their replacements, nor will we get enough increase from returning starters to offset the differences. I suspect a 20 HR drop, at least.

We may come close to matching the team average, but this team set the OU and big 12 record for team batting. The newbies have the pedigrees to hit for average, but likely still a drop-off.

It's pitching where I would hope to improve. Finney has a pitching pedigree up there with the best we've ever had. Chestnut strong as well. And I don't know why everyone seems to want to write Kelsey off. She had 38 wins in 2014. U La La had a pitcher have a down year like Kelsey that came back last year to be their ace. No reason Kelsey can't come back, and truthfully, she was making progress at season's end, just not all the way. I could forsee a staff where Patty used as many as four pitchers, regularly. And successfully.

Bottom line is Gasso and the staff are as good as any, and I expect another run towards the WCWS. Baylor and Tejas probably see next year as an opportunity to end the Sooner's B12 title run, but I expect them to be disappointed.

The team will be different, but plus or minus, just as good as we've seen the last four or five years.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:41 AM   #22
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Shelby was great. Range ok, arm exceptional.

Casey was strong.

But all indications are that Romero and Knighten are at least their equals in fielding. Whomever plays SS may not have quite the arm strength the first year, but possibly better range.

Not sure why you think we'll drop off defensively. Arnold was incredible from day one. She had ONE error on the year, and that was in the NCAA's. Romero and Knighten have just as strong ratings defensively.

Not sure whom we'll replace Lauren with. Could drop off there.

Plus or minus, we'll likely be about the same defensively.

Offensively, that's another issue. Shelby and Lauren hit 47 home runs. We'll not get anywhere near that from their replacements, nor will we get enough increase from returning starters to offset the differences. I suspect a 20 HR drop, at least.

We may come close to matching the team average, but this team set the OU and big 12 record for team batting. The newbies have the pedigrees to hit for average, but likely still a drop-off.

It's pitching where I would hope to improve. Finney has a pitching pedigree up there with the best we've ever had. Chestnut strong as well. And I don't know why everyone seems to want to write Kelsey off. She had 38 wins in 2014. U La La had a pitcher have a down year like Kelsey that came back last year to be their ace. No reason Kelsey can't come back, and truthfully, she was making progress at season's end, just not all the way. I could forsee a staff where Patty used as many as four pitchers, regularly. And successfully.

Bottom line is Gasso and the staff are as good as any, and I expect another run towards the WCWS. Baylor and Tejas probably see next year as an opportunity to end the Sooner's B12 title run, but I expect them to be disappointed.

The team will be different, but plus or minus, just as good as we've seen the last four or five years.
Excellent first post! That is very similar to my evaluations. Shelby was OK to good as far as range. Her arm was about as strong as any that I have seen, and that is probably more important at shortstop. She was becoming as good as some see her as having been. She was a superb first-year shortstop.

I think Patti has Kylie Lundberg penciled in as Lauren's replacement. That's a lot to expect. But, she expects power from Lundberg, and she will probably start at first. I don't know if she will have the consistency. I get the impression that she could be 300 with 15 home runs as a freshman.

Arnold was our best defender. She made some plays that were remarkable. We had trouble very early in the year fielding bunts until Arnold was taught to cover Paige by charging so hard. Paige was weak on bunts.

I don't expect a 380 average. But, then, we didn't hit 380 in playoffs this year either.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:16 PM   #23
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Shelby was great. Range ok, arm exceptional.

Casey was strong.

But all indications are that Romero and Knighten are at least their equals in fielding. Whomever plays SS may not have quite the arm strength the first year, but possibly better range.

Not sure why you think we'll drop off defensively. Arnold was incredible from day one. She had ONE error on the year, and that was in the NCAA's. Romero and Knighten have just as strong ratings defensively.

Not sure whom we'll replace Lauren with. Could drop off there.

Plus or minus, we'll likely be about the same defensively.

Offensively, that's another issue. Shelby and Lauren hit 47 home runs. We'll not get anywhere near that from their replacements, nor will we get enough increase from returning starters to offset the differences. I suspect a 20 HR drop, at least.

We may come close to matching the team average, but this team set the OU and big 12 record for team batting. The newbies have the pedigrees to hit for average, but likely still a drop-off.

It's pitching where I would hope to improve. Finney has a pitching pedigree up there with the best we've ever had. Chestnut strong as well. And I don't know why everyone seems to want to write Kelsey off. She had 38 wins in 2014. U La La had a pitcher have a down year like Kelsey that came back last year to be their ace. No reason Kelsey can't come back, and truthfully, she was making progress at season's end, just not all the way. I could forsee a staff where Patty used as many as four pitchers, regularly. And successfully.

Bottom line is Gasso and the staff are as good as any, and I expect another run towards the WCWS. Baylor and Tejas probably see next year as an opportunity to end the Sooner's B12 title run, but I expect them to be disappointed.

The team will be different, but plus or minus, just as good as we've seen the last four or five years.
Great post! However, I do think some of the returners will take up some of the HR slack from Lauren and Shelby leaving. I think Nicole and Paige could have at least 10 more HRs between them next year.

You're right, Kelsey Arnold was outstanding at 3B defensively! It's almost like you never noticed she was there and that's a huge compliment because if there were mistakes, you'd notice!

I'm not giving up on Stevens and I don't think Patty nor the team have either. She was showing improvement the last few weeks of the season. Some of the other opportunities she would have had before tourney were rained out unfortunately. I definitely hope she's back to herself next year. She did win 38 games the year before and led us to the WCWS. You can't get there on hitting alone.

I think the biggest dropoff (or at least from outside appearances) may be on the leadership side. Lauren, Shelby, Georgia, Jessica and Callie provided tremendous leadership for this team. I'm sure there are great leaders returning but may take a little time to develop.

I expect to have stronger pitching next year and not as many HRs. May take us a while to gel but expect to be playing top 10 ball come playoff time. Just hope we're not screwed again with seeding!
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Old 06-10-2015, 01:37 PM   #25
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Great points, all. And welcome to the board, SoonerMGB.

In my opinion, what makes Shelby a great shorstop (she's also great at third and even at second) is not just her range or her arm. It's more about her great hands and the way she's able to react to bad hops and in-between hops and field balls that would get past many players. That kind of hand-eye coordination is rare and displayed by only the very elite players.

Also, tycat's comment about the significance of losing team leadership Lauren, Shelby, Georgia, et al can't be overlooked.

All in all, I do agree that the talent that's arriving in Norman is elite and potentially more than sufficient to offset the loss of our departing seniors. I can only hope, like someone else stated, that this young team will gel Sooner, rather than later. With Gasso pulling the strings and pushing the buttons, these Sooners should remain formidable and hopefully will return to the CWS after a flukey one-year absence.
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