The Women's College World Series Finals kicks off on Wednesday night between the Oklahoma Sooners and Florida State Seminoles. The No. 1 Sooners have been catching some flak for their rather passionate celebrations in Oklahoma City.
In the WCWS alone, Sooners star Jayda Coleman slammed her bat down in celebration after an intentional walk against Stanford Monday. Third baseman Alyssa Brito bat-flipped a walk in the same semifinal game. It's clear Oklahoma plays with emotion, and that's rubbed many fans the wrong way.
You can see Coleman's bat slam at the 11:59 mark in the video below:
And here's Brito's bat slam on a walk against Tennessee at the 3:01 mark:
The complaints on social media have been enough to prompt Coleman and other players to address it with reporters.
"I really don't get it," Coleman said. "I feel like we are continuously — and softball itself — are just breaking barriers. I've seen it with my own eyes, and I feel like it's just very disappointing to just see people just trying to tear us down in that type of way. Maybe not tearing us down, but just kind of making it into a negative light when you're seeing the MLB players do the exact same thing or the NBA or NFL, throwing their helmets and having emotion. Like, why can't we have emotion? We are in the same stakes as them. We are athletes just like them. Why can we not wear our emotions on their sleeves?
"It disappoints me on the double standard and how the male athletes slide with things and female athletes don't, and hopefully that will change very soon."
Everyone should listen to what Jayda Coleman has to say. ? pic.twitter.com/YcWfkbJixE
— The REF (@KREFsports) June 6, 2023
Instead of reprimanding her players, Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso encouraged them, saying, "You must be unapologetic."
"Because women have worked so hard to get here yet still get judged for those things," Gasso said. "That's the way we play, and that's what people enjoy. Or you don't. You either like it or you don't, but we're not going to apologize for these players knowing the game and celebrating the right way."
The problem? Some think this isn't the "right way" to play or celebrate.
Softball fans have called out Oklahoma for not playing with humility and class.
Love the humility on this team.. meanwhile other teams slam bats when they walk? https://t.co/rCLwoxL79h
— jackie (@YaAlreadyNole) June 5, 2023
How many bats were slammed to the ground tonight between fsu and Tennessee?
— ? TEAM 40 (3-0 WCWS) ? (@904N0LE) June 6, 2023
ok i've watched enough oklahoma softball to see them celebrating earned walks whatever
but slamming your bat down after an intentional walk to a pitcher that has dominated you is a choice
— Three-Fifths Mafia ?? (@michaelmcgee) June 5, 2023
Heading into the championship series, the Sooners have a 51-game winning streak, so you can imagine there's a lot to be pumped up about when playing on this team.
"I think we've seen so much on social media," Brito said. "We can't satisfy anyone, and that's not why we play this game," she added. "That's not why we're here doing what we're doing is to satisfy anyone. So I think for me, I'm going to stay being who I am and stay true to who I am. And if that passion that I have offends anyone, it's just kind of like, 'OK, I'm not going to allow anyone to kind of change my game.'"
Shortstop Grace Lyons also had some comments about this, reiterating that they're not celebrating to tear down opposing teams.
"What we do is to bring passion to our own circle, and it's never against anyone else," she said. "So, I just want to say that that's not how we play. People may take it that way, but it's all for our own joy and passion, never to tear down."
Regardless of the criticism, Oklahoma players are going to keep being unapologetically themselves.
The best-of-three series against the Seminoles kicks off Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. Game 2 will be on Thursday night and Game 3 (if necessary) is on Friday.
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