By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The 2021 Women’s College World Series gets underway this afternoon (1:15 p.m.), pitting the Oklahoma Sooners against the Florida State Seminoles. The entire best-of-three game series will air on our sister station, CBS 1500. The Sooners are led by Campbell High School alum Jocelyn Alo, who last week was named the USA Softball Player of the Year. Here are 10 interesting tidbits about the record-setting utility player out of Hau‘ula:
♦ Jocelyn Aloha Pumehana Alo started learning the game of softball when she was four years old, when her father Levi began taking her to a park in Hau‘ula and let her hit balls. The Alos said young Jocelyn would take a thousand swings a day.
♦ As an unsung seventh-grader, Alo showed up at a softball camp on the campus of BYU. By the end of the camp, the BYU coaches already offered her a scholarship.
♦ Before transferring to Campbell, Alo attended Kahuku, where as a sophomore she captured the state wrestling championship in her weight class.
♦ Alo led Campbell to back-to-back state softball titles. In the 2016 12-2 championship win over against Kapolei, Alo batted 2 for 3, including a triple and a home run, and drove in four runs. She was the game’s Most Oustanding Player. In 2017, in the title victory over Mililani, Alo was intentionally walked in all four of her at-bats. The Sabers shut out the Trojans, 2-0. In that state tournament, Alo was intentionally walked 13 times in her 17 plate appearances.
♦ Alo, a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, signed to play at Oklahoma After originally commuting to Cal. In her debut against Weber State on Feb. 9, 2018, Alo went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a HR.
♦ As a freshman, Alo started all 62 games for the Sooners, batting .420 and blasting 30 home runs (tops in the nation and tying the school’s freshman mark). She also led her team in RBIs (72), slugging percentage (.977), on-base percentage (.549) and walks (14). For her efforts, she was named First-Team All-American and the NFCA Freshman of the Year. The Sooners advanced to the WCWS but we’re knocked out in the semifinals.
♦ In 2019, during her sophomore season, Alo fell into a slump. Her head coach, Patty Gasso, instructed her to take two weeks away from both the team and the game of softball. “It was hard to watch her play the game without passion, with frustration, with anger. That’s not how she plays,” Gasso told ESPN.com. “There was a lot of pressure on her, and it looked like she was miserable.” Despite her two-week absence, Alo was still named to the All-Big 12 First Team.
♦ During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Alo started all 24 games for Oklahoma and led the team in total bases (61). She batted .427 with 8 HRs and 21 RBIs. She was also walked a team-leading 12 times.
♦ This season, Alo has started all 57 games for the Sooners. She is batting .462 with 86 RBIs and 32 homers (a new Sooners single-season record). Alo currently has 86 career home runs, just nine shy of the NCAA record of 95 set by former Sooner great Lauren Chamberlain. Although she is a senior, the NCAA is allowing its student-athletes a fifth year of eligibility due to the pandemic, and Alo says she intends to return in 2022.
♦ Alo wears #78 in honor of her father, Levi. That was his jersey number when he played junior college football at Laney College in Oakland.
Jocelyn Alo (#78) is all smiles after delivering a home run yesterday in a 7-1 win over James Madison.
Photo: Oklahoma Sooners Athletics.
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