OU's Jocelyn Alo breaks NCAA softball home run record back with 96th career blast

Ryan Aber

Jocelyn Alo was 10 years old, sitting in front of her television in her home in Hauula, Hawaii, watching a college softball game when an Arizona player smacked a home run.

Levi Alo pointed at the screen.

“You can be the home run champ one day,” Jocelyn’s father said. 

Mission accomplished.

Late Friday night in Honolulu, the OU slugger blasted a two-run home run just to the right of center field at Hawaii's Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium to become the NCAA’s career leader with her 96th blast.

The home run came on a 2-1 pitch from Hawaii’s Ashley Murphy in the sixth inning of an eventual 11-0 Sooners win.

Alo passed former Sooner Lauren Chamberlain, who has taken to wearing an Alo jersey when she’s in the stands for Sooners games.

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OU's Jocelyn Alo (78) hits her 96th career home run Friday night in the sixth inning of an 11-0 win at Hawaii.

And Alo did it with not only her parents in the stands but also plenty of family and friends on hand in Alo’s home state of Hawaii.

It was a trip Gasso promised Alo when she committed.

The COVID-19 pandemic made that difficult, as planned trips in 2020 and 2021 were scuttled. But the timing worked out perfectly, as Alo became the record holder in the Sooners’ third game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

As Alo rounded first base, she raised her left index finger skyward, then appeared to pick up the pace, meeting Gasso halfway between third and home before her teammates engulfed Alo as she crossed home plate.

When Alo emerged, she looked to the stands to lock eyes with her dad.

She couldn’t find him, though.

Instead, she found her mom, Andrea.

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Levi was busy gathering up friends and family to head down to the field for a celebration.

When Levi made it to the field, the two shared a big embrace.

“He was telling me how proud he is of me,” Jocelyn said. “That’s my best friend.

“That’s my bestie and he’s been with me since day one. He believed in me before I even believed in myself.”

Alo tied Chamberlain Feb. 20 against Texas State in Houston at the end of a flurry of home runs in the Houston Classic.

But once she tied the record, pitchers started avoiding giving Alo much of anything to drive.

There was a double high off the right field wall against Long Beach State on her seventh plate appearance after tying the record.

Other than that, there was no serious threat to the record, though as Alo drew more walks than pitches to hit.

The treatment — reminiscent of Barry Bonds, who Alo grew up rooting for — led to frustration from both Alo and Gasso.

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OU slugger Jocelyn Alo (78) glides toward home plate Friday night at Hawaii after hitting her NCAA-record 96th career home run.

“Just because I just want to go out there and compete,” Alo said. “I just felt like my competitiveness had gotten stripped of me in a sense.”

Alo did her best to stay locked in and treat every at-bat like the ones before she tied the record.

And Friday, after Alo walked in two of her three plate appearances in the Sooners’ 8-0 win over Cal, a team finally decided to go after her.

The super senior hit an RBI double to right in the first, drew walks in her next two at-bats before a single in the fifth.

Then in the sixth, after the first three batters reached, Alo once again strode to the plate to a chorus of cheers and a season of raised cellphones, hoping to record the history-making moment.

“Shoutout to the pitcher — I don’t know her name — but she and the rest of the UH Wahine team for just coming out and competing,” Alo said. “That’s all a team and myself can ask for is that you just compete. They came out here, they bowed up to us.”

Alo left no doubt, crushing Murphy’s pitch about halfway up the tall netting that surrounds the outfield in Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

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OU coach Patty Gasso (left) claps as slugger Jocelyn Alo (78) heads to home plate on March 11 after hitting her 96th career home run in the Sooners' 11-0 win at Hawaii.

“It hasn’t yet,” Alo said when asked if being the record holder had hit her. “But what has hit me is that it’s just another bookmark in history for women’s sports in general. This is a win for all of us. I feel like people now are going to have to start paying attention.

“It’s just a win for softball and a win for women’s sports. So go girls.”

With the game delayed following the record-breaking shot, Hawaii coach Bob Coolen presented Alo with a lei. 

During her postgame interview back at the Sooners’ hotel after the game, Alo wore several leis around her neck and a haku lei around her head.

Alo saluted her home-state crowd with the shake hand sign as she finally stepped into the dugout.

“I feel like now things are just gonna go back to normal,” Alo said. 

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NCAA softball career HR leaders

Here are the career leaders in home runs for NCAA Division I:

96: Jocelyn Alo, OU (2018-present)

95: Lauren Chamberlain, OU (2012-15)

92: Katiyana Mauga, Arizona (2014-17)

92: Jessie Harper, Arizona (2017-21)

90: Stacey Nuveman, UCLA (1997, 99, 2001-02)

87: Stacie Chambers, Arizona (2008-11)

Source: NCAA.com