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Donihoo makes All-Tournament Team

OKLAHOMA CITY — Before the 2021 season began, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso knew she had something big in her hands.
Although she was coming off a year in which they were unable to play, the veteran skipper knew the team she had assembled could be special.
Despite their success and all the records the Sooners broke, it wasn’t until the first game of the Women’s College World Series that Gasso realized just how young this team really was.
“I didn’t realize until we lost our first game,” Gasso said. “I’m driving to the hotel from the stadium, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, why did we look so deer in the headlights? We weren’t quite ready for what we were facing with Odicci (Alexander) and James Madison. I started counting how many players have been here before, and there was a lot less than what I thought because they’ve handled themselves so well in the postseason and through the season, but it’s quite a different situation when you get to the big stage and what they’ve been dreaming of.”
After losing to James Madison, Gasso tinkered with her lineup. Mackenzie Donihoo was inserted into the starting lineup at left field in the middle of the batting order.
Donihoo had been an occasional starter throughout the regular season, but the Mustang native entered the lineup at the most important time of the year. They were one loss away from being knocked out of the WCWS and ending what had been an amazing season.
Donihoo rose to the occasion and helped the Sooners win four straight elimination games and make it to the Championship Series. The redshirt sophomore provided a big bat in the lineup that opposing teams had to deal with.
Throughout the four elimination games, Donihoo went 7 for 12 at the plate with seven RBIs, six runs scored and three homers.
“She’s been waiting very patiently and understanding — it’s not always easy. There are some other athletes who are dealing with kind of the same thing. But it’s about matchups, and this matchup was really good for her,” Gasso said. “She’s really clutch. I was calling a run and hit, and our runner was going and if she wanted the pitch, she’s hitting it.”
Donihoo’s bat stayed hot in Game 1 of the Championship Series against Florida State. After the Sooners fell behind early, she drove in a pair of runs to help mount a comeback.
However, it wasn’t enough as FSU took the opener 8-4.
Once again, Oklahoma found themselves in another crucial elimination game in Game 2. This time, the entire squad responded with a 6-2 victory.
Donihoo added another RBI to her growing totals.
In the Game 3 finale, Oklahoma sealed the deal behind a great pitching performance from Giselle Juarez and the bat of Player of the Year Jocelyn Alo.
Juarez picked up the complete-game victory after giving up just two hits and one run to go with seven strikeouts and two walks. She was named the Most Outstanding Player.
Donihoo contributed once again in the field and at the plate in the 5-1 victory.
“She’s my roommate and I’m so proud of her and all the work she’s put in,” Kinzie Hansen said of Donihoo. “You don’t see a lot of girls that size hitting monster bombs three times a day. My heart is super proud of her and I’m just so happy for her.”
No. 1 Oklahoma (56-4) won six elimination games the rest of the WCWS to capture the crown at USA Hall of Fame Stadium. It was the program’s fifth title (2000, ’13, ’16, ’17, ’21), all under Gasso.
Joining Juarez on the All-Tournament Team were Alo, Nicole Mendes, Hansen, Tiare Jennings and Donihoo.
Putting Donihoo in the lineup proved to be one of the pivotal moments of the 2021 world series for the Sooners.
“I think that really energized our team, as well, because it was just really clutch-style offense that we were producing with Lu, and energized the team,” Gasso said. “She’s been waiting her turn … I know that was really exciting for her and the rest of our team.”

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