By the time Tennessee pitcher Ashley Rogers took a step back, rocked her hips forward and uncorked a pitch in the circle, Jocelyn Alo had already begun the process of taking off her gear and heading to first base.
It’s an all-too-familiar feeling for the Oklahoma Sooners superstar slugger.
Jocelyn Alo will become college softball’s home run queen this season. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just a matter of when and who — the who being who isn’t scared to actually pitch to her.
Alo is sitting on 95 career home runs — tied for former Sooner star Lauren Chamberlain for the NCAA record — making her the sport’s soon-to-be Babe Ruth (or Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds, you get the point).
As she vies for the milestone, teams are essentially (and laughably) saying, “lol, we don’t want to give up that home run.” So they’ve resorted to just giving her walks. Relentlessly.
Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo’s Intentional Walk Problem
On February 19, Alo crushed four home runs — two against McNeese and two against Houston. The next day, she hit one against Texas State, tying her for the record.
She’s gone homerless over the next six games and has been walked a whopping 15 times (two of which were “intentional,” though some would argue some of her other walks were too) over that span. Against Tennessee alone, she was walked four times.
Pitchers respect the heck out of Alo, but they also don’t wanna be the one to give up the monumental home run.
Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso has even chimed in to say it’s frustrating to watch:
“There’s frustration because she’s been waiting to swing for a while,” Gasso said.
Swing she has, ever since she was a freshman.
Jocelyn Alo’s Path to NCAA Home Run Queen
Alo has put up some of the more incredible offensive seasons in NCAA history.
As a freshman in 2018, she hit .420 and walloped 30 homers, tying the NCAA Division I single-season freshman record and leading the nation.
Last year, she was undoubtedly the best player in the sport, winning the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year after hitting .475 and 34 home runs. Think about this: she hit a home run in 32 of Oklahoma’s 60 games. Oh, and she hit four in the Women’s College World Series to help the Sooners become national champions.
Alo hit her 95th career home run weeks ago and has been itching to smash the NCAA home run record. Now she just needs to be pitched to.