NORMAN — The Oklahoma softball program and the University of Oklahoma Women's Softball Diamond Club will host OU's annual Meet the Team Banquet on Friday, Feb. 2 at Milam Castle in south Oklahoma City. Fans will have the chance to meet the two-time defending national champions and hear from head coach Patty Gasso as the team prepares for its season opener Feb. 9 at the GCU Kickoff Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.
Doors to the event open at 5:30 p.m. Photo opportunities with the student-athletes and national championship trophies will start the evening, and a silent auction will be held. The program, which will begin at 7 p.m., will include highlights from the 2017 season, Gasso's introduction of the 2018 team and a talent show by the team's student-athletes.
Tickets for the banquet, which is open to the public, are $45 for adults and $20 for children 6-12 years old. The event is free to children under 6. Tickets can be purchased by contacting OU Director of Softball Operations Jackie Livingston at 405-325-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans are encouraged to RSVP by Jan. 27.
OU won its second straight national title in 2017, its third in the last five years and fourth overall. The Sooners have also won an unprecedented six consecutive Big 12 regular season crowns, and claimed the 2017 Big 12 postseason championship. Last year's team finished 61-9 and went 17-1 in Big 12 play before making the program's 11th Women's College World Series appearance and sixth in the last seven seasons.
Except for then-senior Macey Hatfield, the Sooners return every player from last year's squad, including 2017 second-team All-Americans Caleigh Clifton, Shay Knighten and Pagie Parker. Joining that trio as returning first-team all-region honorees are junior Falepolima Aviu and sophomore Nicole Mendes. Senior Nicole Pendley and junior Sydney Romero were second-team all-region selections a year ago.
OU welcomes five newcomers this year in freshmen Jocelyn Alo, Lynnsie Elam, Eliyah Flores and Alexa Schultz, and Missouri transfer Parker Conrad.