As you know, I have not been kind to Joe Castiglione when it comes to OU baseball. First, he hires Sunny Galloway, then Pete Hughes who were both run out of town on a rail and then we have to play at a high school field. This is the basis for my irritation with Joe, but being the stand-up guy that I am, I am now ready to cut Joe some slack.
The year before Pete Hughes gor the boot, Joe insisted that Hughes hire current OU skipper Skip Johnson. Johnson had been the pitching coach at Texas where he was passed over for that head coaching job for the Longhorns. When Pete Hughes is fired, Skip Johnson was promoted to the head coaching position.
At the time I thought here we go again…why not conduct a national search and get it right this time. After a marginal first year my thoughts were reinforced, but being the recruiting guy that I am, I did see a light at the end of the tunnel.
During the covid year, the Sooners began to show life only to be sidelined along with the rest of college baseball due to the pandemic. Adding insult to injury most of the talented players off that team were drafted so we were back to square one. At least that’s what I thought…
This year, the team began to show signs of life early in the season by holding their own against a stout schedule. Next, the Sooners came within a whisker of taking the series from OSU and Texas. Then they got hot down the stretch and won the Big 12 tournament going away.
Then we were snubbed by the NCAA, in part due L. Dale Mitchell Park, for a regional and super regional. This bunch shrugged that insult aside as they took down Florida and Virginia Tech in Gainesville and Blacksburg in the regional and super regional.
Fortunately, since I have no life, I spent many a Friday night checking out the Sooner baseballers on the World Wide Web. Trust me these guys are pretty good and will be hard to beat. They can hit with anyone and now they have found a pitching staff to go along with their hitting.
Here’s the deal…teams will not want to play this team…they are a blazing hot having won fifteen of their last eighteen games with two of those losses coming in the regionals and super regionals. More importantly, this team has found the formula for success. To win in Omaha a team must have bono fide starters (which OU has) and a hard throwing closer which they have developed over time.
I love lefty/lefty match ups from a pitching standpoint. That formula works 90% of the time and are sure fire rally stoppers. This team reminds me a lot of the 1994 that won it all. For me that game was like the moon landing…I remember exactly where I was at the point in time when Bucky Buckles came on in relief to shut down Georgia Tech for the Natty in Omaha.
I would reserve some t.v. time for the 3rd week in June…this is going to be loads of fun…