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Take your pick: Oklahoma vs. The Field in 2022 Women’s College World Series

You can have the other 63 teams in the 2022 NCAA Softball Championship for cheaper than the Sooners. Here’s why OU is the dominating favorite to repeat as champions.

OU’s Jocelyn Alo celebrates after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning of a 5-3 win against OSU on Saturday in Norman. BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2022 NCAA Softball Tournament is set to begin with the regional round this weekend and the theme for this year’s tourney seems to be Oklahoma vs. the field. The defending national champions are an overwhelming -160 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook to win Women’s College World Series once again, and there’s plenty of valid reasons for it.

Coming off last year’s title campaign, the Sooners came back with an arguably more dominant season that had minimal blemishes. Posting a 48-1 during the regular season, they led the nation in batting average (.372), earned run average (0.75), runs (455), on base percentage (.482), and shutouts (28). The only times OU was caught slipping was a 4-2 loss to Texas on April 16, and their 4-3 loss to Oklahoma State in last Saturday’s Big 12 Championship Game.

Powering this machine has been a murderer’s row of talent all over the field, best evidenced by the team having three players named as Top 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Among that group is last year’s winner Jocelyn Alo, who set the NCAA career home run record this season and enters the tournament with 25 dingers and a .481 batting average.

Infielder Grace Lyons also landed on the list with 18 homers and 53 RBI for the year while freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl has a 21-1 record with a 0.95 ERA and 199 strikeouts. Other stalwarts who could’ve easily made the list are infielder Tiare Jennings (22 home runs, 68 RBI) and pitcher Hope Trautwein (16-1, 0.31 ERA).

Bet against Oklahoma if you dare, because it’s going to take a Herculean effort for even the best teams in the sport to see them lose twice at any point in the upcoming tournament.