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Kelly Maxwell showed up when OU needed her most

Oklahoma Sooners pitcher Kelly Maxwell was widely criticized for her decision to cross Bedlam lines and transfer to OU last fall.

She faced tremendous pressure after her decision to move to Norman from Stillwater. Maxwell also stepped into the unenviable role of replacing Jordy Bahl, a dominant pitcher who was a legend in the crimson and cream hues.

Maxwell took some of the blame when the 2024 edition of the Sooners couldn’t always match previous championships.

But make no mistake: the Sooners won’t complete their four-peat if Maxwell stays in Stillwater instead of moving to Norman. She played an important role in creating history. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a season and the emotions came to a head on Thursday night.

“Just gratitude,” Maxwell said after helping the Sooners win their unprecedented fourth straight WCWS title. “I’m just grateful for everything that I’ve been through and everything that I’ve been through and just having a team that loves me and supports me – all glory to God – and I think I can just fight for them because they’re also were behind me.”

Maxwell’s incredible week included shutting down UCLA in a 1-0 win on Saturday, saving the Sooners from elimination in a marathon win over Florida on Tuesday, and winning Game 1 against Texas on Wednesday without rest.

This all happened before Patty Gasso brought her in on Thursday night to seal the deal in Game 2 against the Longhorns.

The game teetered in the balance, as the ‘Horns staged a comeback in the top of the sixth inning. Maxwell, normally a starting pitcher, was brought into the game with two outs and two in to save the day. Maxwell got OU out of the inning with the lead, then shut down Texas 1-2-3 in the seventh to get the sweep.

Maxwell’s performance earned her Most Outstanding Player honors for the NCAA tournament. She was 5-0 with two saves and a 1.88 ERA, writing her name in history after a valiant three-week performance.

When the book on the Sooners dynasty is written, let’s all make sure we save a chapter for Kelly Maxwell. Championship number eight won’t happen without No. 28 refusing to back down and seizing the opportunity to win her first national title.

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