Grace Green, a 2018 Oakdale High School graduate, made the most of her first season in the NCAA. The softball standout played for Oklahoma University this season and helped the Sooners reach the championship of the Women’s College World Series, though they ultimately fell to UCLA.
Starting out her college career, Green and her family arrived in Norman, Oklahoma in mid-August of 2018. It was a quick reality check for Green as she was used to the California climate, and on her first day she got a dose of true Oklahoma weather.
“As my family and I are driving to the dorm, there was a flash flood warning and (it was) raining when we first arrived,” said Green.
As Green settled in, she discovered her roommate was teammate Grace Lyons, a fellow freshman from Arizona.
“We clicked instantly and became best friends. She has been amazing and was welcoming.”
Green met the rest of her teammates and coaches later that week and was welcomed with open arms.
“Everyone was welcoming and we all became a family, from the seniors to us freshmen,” she explained
Shortly after the season started, however, Green began to become discouraged and have doubts.
“I became uncertain about softball. The speed of the game, atmosphere of different stadiums and travel began to take its toll,” the freshman admitted. “I had those thoughts the first few games and then I settled in and told myself ‘it’s the same game I’ve loved since childhood, it’s just on a much larger scale’.”
The Sooners hit the West Coast in February and that gave her a chance to visit with her family.
“It was our first big series, and it was the first time I got to see my mom in a long time” Green said.
Her mom had fallen ill and was confined to a wheelchair at the time, sparking Green to head back home while on the western swing.
“I wanted to surprise her but she figured out I was coming. When I saw her it was very sad but my mom battled through it,” she added.
The visit sparked Green’s focus and she began to play the game with even more intensity.
In the postseason the Sooners defeated Texas Tech 8-0 in the Big 12 Tournament. Green went 2-for-3 with two walks and scored three runs. In the regionals, they went 3-1. They defeated UMBC 12-0. The Sooners then took two out of three from Wisconsin to reach the NCAA Super Regionals. There, they made short work of Northwestern as they swept their opponents in a two-game series. In game two, Green homered in the 8-0 win.
On May 30 the team reached the Women’s College World Series The Sooners defeated Alabama 3-2 to start the series. They followed up with a 6-1 win over Oklahoma State. In June they opened up with a 1-0 loss to Alabama. They responded with a 7-3 win over Alabama to advance to the championship series against UCLA. Game one against the Bruins, the Sooners lost 16-3.
“It was a very uncharacteristic game for us. We had errors and that’s not Sooner softball. On a positive side we felt that we had a minor victory as we did not have a strikeout in the game. We made contact but UCLA played tough defense,” Green explained.
She went 1-for-3 in the game with a home run.
On June 4 their season came to an end with a 5-4 loss to the Bruins. Green went hitless in the finale.
“Overall it was an unbelieve season and experience. So many ups and downs and friendships have been made. The seniors on this team were truly special,” Green said.
She finished her freshman season with a .359 average, started 61 games, had 50 at bats, 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Green also won the 2019 Big 12 Freshman of the Year award.