Jayda Coleman

The Colony alum and Oklahoma sophomore center fielder Jayda Coleman reaches over the wall to rob Texas’ Courtney Ray of a two-run home run during Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series championship series on Thursday.

Texas had Oklahoma on the ropes.

Already holding a 2-0 led in the first inning of Game 2 of the Women’s College World Series championship series – a game that the Longhorns needed to win to keep Texas’ national title aspirations alive – Texas sophomore Courtney Day hit a high fly ball at the center-field wall.

If the ball cleared the wall, it would have given the Longhorns a four-run lead. But Oklahoma sophomore center fielder and The Colony alum Jayda Coleman had other ideas.

Coleman jumped a couple of feet in the air, extended her glove over the wall and squeezed the ball to make the catch and rob Day of a potential hit that would have forced Oklahoma to play some serious catch-up in the game – the catch was given the No. 1 play of the day by ESPN’s SportsCenter.

One of three defensive gems in Thursday’s game for Coleman, the former Lady Cougar helped Oklahoma rally for a 10-5 win and capture their second consecutive national championship – sixth overall – in front of more than 12,000 fans at USA Hall of Fame Softball Stadium.

Coleman is a 2020 graduate of The Colony. She led the Lady Cougars to their first state title win in 2017 and to a state semifinalist finish in 2019. Coleman was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2020 and the Gatorade National Player of the Year that same year.

Oklahoma freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl was named the Gatorade National Pitcher of the Year in 2021. Bahl entered Thursday’s game with a 22-1-1 record. But her lone loss in what has been a sensational year with the No. 1-ranked Sooners came against Texas – a 4-2 loss on April 16.

The Longhorns didn’t waste time getting to Bahl, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. Texas, which lost Game 1, 16-1, got back-to-back RBI sacrifice fly-outs courtesy of sophomore Alyssa Washington and senior Mary Ikapolo to take a 2-0 lead.

On the ball hit by Ikapolo, Coleman jumped in the air and reached back with her glove to make the catch and prevent any more runs from crossing the plate. Coleman had an outfield assist in a tie game in the fourth inning to rob Texas sophomore JJ Smith of a double.

A big concern for Texas was its defense. The Longhorns led the Big 12 in errors. And for the season, Texas had a 26-2-1 record when it didn’t commit an error, but 21-19 in games with at least one error.

A defensive miscue by Texas in the top of the fourth came back to haunt the Longhorns. What should have been a routine throw across the diamond from freshman third baseman Mia Scott sailed wide of the first-base bag. Sophomore Alyssa Brito scored on the play, reducing OU’s deficit to 2-1. A short time later, senior Taylon Snow hit an RBI single for a 2-2 tie.

Oklahoma scored four runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead for good. Brito had an RBI double. Junior Kinzie Hansen later crushed a three-run home run over the left-field wall, and Oklahoma increased its lead to 6-2.

Four more runs followed in the sixth, including three on a home run by Grace Lyons that scored Coleman and Jocelyn Alo to boost the lead to 10-2.

The Sooners’ offense was a well-oiled machine. Oklahoma scored 64 runs in the World Series to set a new tournament record – 42 coming via home run. Coleman collected seven hits along the way with a home run.

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