By Michael Kinney
It has been a dominating and record-breaking season for the Oklahoma Sooners softball team. Almost every offensive category is led by the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
So it should not have been a surprise that the top players from Oklahoma would earn the top individual prizes in their sport.
Oklahoma senior Jocelyn Alo was named the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and freshman Tiare Jennings claimed the NFCA/Schutt Sports Division I Freshman of the Year. It’s the first time in the history of the two awards that one program has swept both national honors.
Alo becomes just the second Sooner to capture the player of the year honors. She joins Keilani Rickets, who earned the award in 2021 and 2013.
The season Alo has put together so far should have made it an easy choice for voters. She leads in home runs (30) and slugging percentage (1.135) and ranks second in RBIs (82) and fourth in batting average (.487). Her 30 home runs entering the World Series is tied for the program record that she and Lauren Chamberlain (2012, 2013) already own.
The senior slugger has homered in 28 of OU’s 52 games, including two grand slams and two multi-home run games. Alo is averaging 0.58 home runs per game and a home run ever 5.2 at-bats. The Hauula, Hawaii, native has registered a hit in 47 of OU’s 52 games.
Not to be outdone by much, Jennings has started her career at OU off with a bang. She is the third Sooner to receiver the freshman of the year award. Alo (2018) and Paige Parker (2015) are the other two.
Jennings has hit 25 home runs to go with 84 RBIs in her first year. Her RBI leads the nation and she’s tied for second in the country for home runs.
The San Pedro, Calif., product has homered in 21 of OU’s 52 games and has started every game of the season at second or third base and holds a .972 fielding percentage with 55 putouts and 48 assists to just three errors.
Alo and Jennings will lead No. 1 Oklahoma in the Women’s College World Series Thursday when they take on James Madison in the opening round at 11 a.m. The Sooners are aiming for their fifth national championship since 2000.