Pitchers facing the Oklahoma softball team this season are figuring out what Hawaii high schoolers have known for years now.
Pitch to Jocelyn Alo at your own peril.
As Alo’s legend grew in her junior and senior seasons at Campbell, opportunities to swing the bat became increasingly rare and she walked 13 times in 17 plate appearances in last year’s state tournament.
Now a freshman with the two-time defending national champion Sooners, Alo is seeing more pitches to hit. But that may change if she continues at her current pace.
Filling the designated player role and hitting third in Oklahoma’s lineup, Alo has homered in her last five games and launched four in a three-game sweep of Texas Tech last weekend. Her big week earned her Big 12 player of the week honors on Monday and she added the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Player of the Week award on Tuesday, becoming only the third Oklahoma freshman to earn a national weekly award in the program’s history.
After this weekend, @78jocelyn_alo leads the nation in slugging percentage (1.134) and home runs per game (0.53). She's second in home runs (16), fourth in total bases (93) and fifth in on-base percentage (0.598).
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) March 26, 2018
Alo went 4-for-5 in 10 plate appearances in three OU blowouts, each shortened to five innings, with all four hits clearing the fences. She raised her batting average to .488 and her home run total to 16, one behind the national leader. Her 0.53 homers per game leads the country as does her 1.134 slugging percentage.
She also walked five times in the series, giving her 23 passes for the season, second most in the Big 12 and 17th in the country, contributing to fifth-best on-base percentage in Division I at .598
Although she’s seeing more pitches to hit in college, she also has a greater appreciation for the walks than she did in high school.
“I feel like back in high school I took it a little for granted,” Alo said on Tuesday. “I didn’t really realize walks tuned into runs back into high school so I was getting kind of irritated about that. But now that I’m in college and I’m more mature as a player and person I realize that anytime you’re on base it helps.”
She credits Oklahoma assistant coach JT Gasso, the son of Hall of Fame head coach Patty Gasso, for helping her transition to college pitching.
“Expectations for myself were to buy into what the coaches were teaching and apply it into the game,” Alo said. “They’re only teaching you stuff to make you succeed in college and I feel like they know what’s best. JT Gasso coming off of tow national championships, I’ve got to listen to this guy.”
Playing travel ball for the OC Batbusters the last four summers also gave her a head start and she keeps in regular contact with Campbell coach Michael “Shag” Hermosura.
“I talk to hm a lot,” Alo said. “Whenever we talk we talk softball and we’re saying what can you do to get better, and what can I tell the girls to help them build their confidence.”
You can read more on Alo in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.