OU wins Regional title, advances to Super Regional

Oklahoma's Norelle Dickson (right) celebrates after stealing home against Oregon in the first inning of the Sooners' 2-1 win in the Region 14 championship game Sunday. Oklahoma will face Arizona in a best-of-three series next weekend in Tucson, Ariz. for a berth in the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

For the sixth straight year, the Oklahoma softball team are NCAA regional champions. The only question now is will they advance to the Women's College World Series for the sixth straight time?

After beating Oregon, 2-1, in the Region 14 Championship Sunday in Norman, the Sooners (50-15) will have to go through Arizona if they're to get back to the WCWS in Oklahoma City.

"This club battled," said OU head coach Patty Gasso. "This region was a tough region for all teams that aren't used to this weather this early. It really took a toll on a lot of us. I congratulate Oregon for an outstanding regional and for fighting us so hard. They kept fighting. They are a tough team."

In Sunday's win against the Ducks, the Sooners scored a pair of runs in the top of the first and let pitcher Kami Keiter do the rest.

Norrelle Dickson and Kristin Vesley each singled to begin the game. Dickson then advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Christine Enea, and scored during the next at-bat by stealing home while Vesley stole second. Vesley would later score on a throwing error by the Oregon left fielder after a Heather Scaglione's single.

"We were trying to find ways to attack and get runs early," said Gasso on the aggressive base-running. "Oregon may have been a little bit depleted from yesterday, but they were still making good plays. However it happened, that's what we are after, whether it's an RBI or an error. Norrelle Dickson's slide was great and opened up the scoring and then a tough play by their left fielder kept us going."

Keiter, a senior lefthander who helped the Sooners reach the finals with two stellar performances in the first two games of the regional, was sensational again giving up just one run and six hits while striking out eight.

"Kami Keiter is a champion," Gasso said. "She loves to compete and loves being in pressure situations. She had some big strikeouts for us today. She knows how to dig in when it's time and battle through the elements to get it done. That has been Kami Keiter's career here."

Arizona advanced to next week's Super Regional matchup agianst OU with a 2-1 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday.

OU's mission of going to Arizona and winning is not impossible. Last season, the Sooners met the Wildcats in the NCAA Super Regional in Tucson and ended their 16-year WCWS streak.

The Wildcats won the only meeting between the teams this season, 4-0, at the Kia Classic on March 19 in Fullerton, Calif.

OU-Oregon Box Score

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