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Alo leads Sooners to WCWS title

Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo carries the championship trophy after the Sooners’ 5-1 win over Florida State in Game 3 of the Women’s College World Series finals Thursday. AP photos

The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oahu native Jocelyn Alo homered in the first inning, Giselle Juarez threw her second consecutive complete game and Oklahoma won its fifth national championship, beating Florida State 5-1 in the Women’s College World Series on Thursday.

Alo, a Campbell High School graduate from Hauula, hit four homers in the World Series, including the go-ahead blast in Game 2, on her way to All-Tournament honors. Her homer in Game 3 was her 34th of the season. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year extended her school single-season record.

“We knew that we wanted to set the tone pretty early,” coach Patty Gasso said. “Jocelyn Alo is made differently. Made differently. When she puts her mind to something, she gets it done, whatever it is.”

Oklahoma (56-4) also won titles in 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017, all under Gasso. The Sooners set the Division I single-season record with 161 home runs this season.

Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo (left) celebrates her home run with Nicole Mendes in the first inning Thursday.

The top-seeded Sooners lacked a dominant pitcher heading into the series but Juarez answered the call, allowing one run on two hits in the decisive Game 3. Oklahoma won Game 2 6-2 behind Juarez, who went 5-0 at the World Series and was named Most Outstanding Player. The left-hander allowed four runs in 31 1/3 innings.

Juarez, a super senior, was a first-team NFCA All-American in 2019 but had surgery on her left arm last year and struggled to regain her form.

“The beginning of the season wasn’t great for me, but I just kept grinding and trusting God’s plan for myself. He had this moment planned for me,” Juarez said.

Florida State (49-13-1) was seeking its second national championship in the past three World Series under coach Lonni Alameda. The 10th-seeded Seminoles finished second in their conference during the regular season, lost in the semifinals of the ACC tournament and had to win twice at No. 7 seed LSU in super regionals. They lost their World Series opener before winning five straight to get to the brink of a national title.

“I’m just so proud of the team to be here and everything we’ve gone through this year to persevere and to be in this moment is what we dreamt of,” Florida State center fielder Dani Morgan said. “I’m just proud of this team. We were able to get here and give everything we had.”

Florida State freshman Kaley Mudge set the record for hits in a Women’s College World Series with 14. She had 16 hits all season before arriving in Oklahoma City.

* The Maui News contributed to this story.

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