'Let’s freaking go': How OU softball star Jocelyn Alo welcomed new QB Dillon Gabriel to Norman

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NORMAN — OU softball slugger Jocelyn Alo was excited when she found out Dillon Gabriel was transferring from Central Florida to join the Sooners’ football team.

“When he committed here, I was like, ‘Let’s freaking go,’” Alo said Thursday. “Very, very excited to see another Hawaii kid in a Sooner uniform.”

Alo and Gabriel grew up not far from each other on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Alo’s alma mater, James Campbell High School, and Gabriel’s, Mililani High, are about 16 miles apart.

“I actually played against his cousin growing up, in softball,” Alo said.

Not long after Gabriel’s arrival, Alo invited him and Hawaii football transfer Jonah Laulu to her house for dinner.

She cooked chicken katsu curry and rice.

“It was good,” Alo said. “... So just a bunch of Poly(nesian) kids just eating food.”

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OU slugger Jocelyn Alo (78) holds up the WCWS championship trophy afte a 6-2 win against Florida State on June 10.
OU slugger Jocelyn Alo (78) holds up the WCWS championship trophy afte a 6-2 win against Florida State on June 10.

Jocelyn Alo not worried about home run record

Entering her final collegiate season, Alo said her main goals were to help the Sooners win a second consecutive national championship and to enjoy every moment.

“I won’t get to play for these coaches again, I won’t get the play with this team again, I won’t get to wear Sooners across my chest again,” Alo said.

She also made reference to a major record she’s chasing.

Alo enters the season with 88 career home runs, seven from tying former Sooners star Lauren Chamberlain’s NCAA record of 95. Last season, Alo needed just nine games to hit her seventh home run of the season.

“Honestly, I know it’ll come,” Alo said. “I’m enjoying every moment I have and if it comes it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. But I know it’ll come so I’m not pressed about it or nothing.”

The Sooners open the season Feb. 10 at UC-Santa Barbara.

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Patty Gasso: Pitchers dominating early

Last season, the Sooners set NCAA single-season records for team batting average, slugging percentage, home runs and runs scored, among others.

So it’s no surprise that OU’s pitching struggled to keep up with the Sooners’ bats during the preseason.

“Last fall, this offense was demoralizing, literally demoralizing our pitching staff,” Sooners coach Patty Gasso said. “This year, our pitchers are handling our hitters and that’s good news for us.”

Two of the biggest additions for the Sooners came in the circle, where they added North Texas transfer Hope Trautwein and freshman Jordyn Bahl.

Trautwein is North Texas’ career leader in ERA (2.05), wins (61) and saves (15) among others.

Bahl was the 2021 Gatorade National Player of the Year after going 27-0 with a 0.10 ERA as a senior.

Gasso was particularly high on Bahl.

“I’m just very excited to see her start her collegiate career because I think she’s going to be very special,” Gasso said. “And she’s also going to swing for us. She is very strong. I’ve not had a freshman come in so strong and fit as Jordyn.”

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Sooners looking for softball championship repeat

OU was the last team to repeat as champions, winning in 2016 and 2017.

Gasso is hoping the Sooners can become the third program, joining UCLA and Arizona, to win back-to-back Women’s College World Series titles multiple times.

“Different teams approach it differently,” Gasso said of responding to winning a title. “And that is, once you win it, you have maybe two choices of thought — ’I won it, I got it, it’ll never go away, I’ll have it forever, and I’m good,’ or, ‘That tasted so well, that was such a wow factor in my world, it makes me hungry for more.’ Being called the best is almost like a drug that you just want more.

“Some players feel one way, some players feel the other, and that gets a little concerning. The whole goal here from my side, and I’m thinking what would I feel like if a coach is telling me this and I’m an athlete — if my coach told me, ‘You could be the greatest softball team of all-time,’ that would make me play hard. That would get me fired up. Every player is different. So I think I’m anxious to see what this looks like when we put it out there because then I can really decipher where we’re at.”

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU softball star Jocelyn Alo, QB Dillon Gabriel reconnect in Norman

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