Paige Parker was on a mission Saturday, stay alive in the Women’s College World Series. Oklahoma’s senior pitcher wasn’t about to see her final trip to the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium cut short. Even if it meant putting the team on her back and carrying them as far as they’d like to go.
“Truthfully, it doesn’t really affect me a ton,” Parker said when asked about the toll that pitching two complete games may have on her body. “I’ll do anything for this team, so if my number is called tomorrow, I’ll be ready.”
Not only did she throw two complete games on Saturday to keep the Sooners alive in their hunt for a third consecutive national championship, she pitched two complete game shutouts. It was a heroic performance that will go down in WCWS history as one of the best of all time.
“Well, you watch the first game, you watch Arizona State when they talked on camera about being able to decide on one half and play to the other, we decided not to go with that plan and stay with the plan that we always use,” Florida coach Tim Walton said.
That plan didn’t work as Parker kept the Gators off the board, allowing just two hits and striking out eight.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 3, 2018
“She did a great job just attacking the zone and competing,” Florida’s Amanda Lorenz said. “I think that was the best thing about her demeanor. She was really just competing out there. Even if you don’t have your best stuff, that’s really hard to compete against when a pitcher is just competing every single pitch. She did a good job, and we were just trying to compete too.”
Parker was in complete control from the circle and it was obvious from the get go. “Well, she’s a senior,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “She’s been here, she’s done it many times. And when Paige Parker says ‘I would like to have the ball,’ you listen to Paige Parker and you give her the ball.”
Parker got Oklahoma to Saturday night by closing down Arizona State in the day’s opener. Once again she allowed just two hits and fanned seven Sun Devil Batters. The complete game performance cast a doubt that she would throw against the #2nd seeded Gators but Parker was clear that not only was she physically prepared, she was mentally ready as well.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 2, 2018
“I definitely think it’s tougher mentally,” Parker said about preparing for back-to-back starts on the same day. “I think in general being a pitcher you have to be probably the most mentally tough person out on the field. So just trying to go to another place mentally and just go out there and compete and fight. I mean, just give it my all.”
Giving it her all produced one of the greatest single day performances in the history of the Women’s College World Series. Parker’s total stat line for the day was 14 innings pitched, 0 runs allowed, 4 hits, and 15 strikeouts.
Saturday was Paige Parker’s world and we were all just living in it.