How big of a role will Jordy Bahl play in WCWS championship series? OU softball ace raring to go

Ryan Aber
View Comments

The last month has been a rollercoaster for Jordy Bahl.

There were times when Bahl wasn’t sure if she had thrown her last game of her sensational freshman season.

There were times when she questioned, “Why now?” Why did the first major injury of her softball career happen just as the regular season was ending and softball’s biggest stage — the Women’s College World Series — was getting bigger on the horizon?

“That’s where I just really had to surrender to God and be like, ‘It’s not my timing, it’s yours, and it’s not my will, it’s yours," Bahl said. "You’re in control, you give, you can take away. And he’s just showing me that.”

But Bahl is back, as evidenced by her 4 ⅔ innings, two-hit performance in Monday’s opening game against UCLA that was only spoiled in a negligible way by Maya Brady’s two-run homer off Bahl with two outs in the seventh that capped the Bruins’ 7-3 win that forced a deciding second game between the teams.

Carlson:OU didn't want to play two against UCLA, but Sooners came away with a 'blessing'

Jordy Bahl questioned whether or not she'd be able to return after a forearm injury sidelined the OU star for nearly a month. But now, Bahl is back.

Sooners coach Patty Gasso was in a tough position after Maya Brady’s home run gave UCLA a 5-1 lead in the top of the third as the Bruins appeared to be squaring off on Nicole May.

Gasso wanted to save Hope Trautwein, who has emerged in a big way in Bahl’s absence recently, for a potential second game but didn’t want the game to get out of hand either, especially considering OU’s more-than-potent offense that makes it a constant threat for a comeback.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that it was time to give it a try, because otherwise, she’s going to be sitting on the bench, and I’m going to be wondering if and how and when,” Gasso said.

“So we thought it might be a good opportunity, and it started to look real. Like, ‘Woah.’ She threw harder. Adrenaline was going. I thought she had control. I thought she did a really good job.”

Bahl threw 72 pitches in the game, after throwing only once in a game since May 6. Bahl threw 11 pitches in Thursday’s WCWS opener against Northwestern to get the final out in a 13-2 Sooners’ win.

“We pressed her a bit, and I thought she was starting to wear out just a bit,” Gasso said. “But when it was all said and done, she’s feeling pretty good and not in a lot of pain. Definitely we’ll be able to use her going forward.”

More:'All hands on deck' for OU softball pitching staff, but new WCWS schedule helping Sooners

Bahl said afterward that her legs were plenty fresh heading into the best-of-three championship series against Texas, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and that her arm didn’t hurt worse than she expected it to.

“Not a lot of pain,” Bahl said. “Just adrenaline.”

Bahl suffered a forearm injury in pregame warmups before the Sooners’ May 7 regular-season finale against Oklahoma State.

“Threw a ball overhand, and I felt something happen,” Bahl said. 

The comeback was a slow one for Bahl, who has been dreaming of pitching in the WCWS since she was young.

One of the most trying moments came when she threw her first bullpen session following the injury and was on a strict pitch count.

“I go in there, and I didn’t even meet half of those pitches,” Bahl said. “That was a low for me.”

Bahl credited her teammates with keeping her spirit up, and said she was ready for whatever role she had in the championship series.

“I’m just ready to leave it all out there and do whatever I’m called on to do,” Bahl said. “Whether it be in the dugout and help scout hitters and help with pitches and stuff like that, or if it’s to be out there throwing pitches, then that’s great too. Just whatever.”

While Bahl might not regain the title of Sooners’ ace with the way Trautwein is performing of late, she figures to be there for more than just scout hitters and chart pitches in the championship series.

Want to know the impact of Title IX?:Look no further than the WCWS & softball in Oklahoma

WCWS championship series

Best-of-three series between OU and Texas:

Game 1: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN)

Game 2: 6:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2)

*-Game 3: 7:30 p.m. Friday (ESPN)

x-If necessary

View Comments