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OU softball: Sooners come together with Konawa Lady Tigers to remember Rhindi Isaacs

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Flowers and personalized notes are placed on a chain-link fence near the home dugout of the Konawa softball stadium. Konawa Middle School athlete Rhindi Kay Isaacs, 12, was among three people who died in a fiery, head-on collision Friday evening. The Konawa Public School District said six students from the  junior high school girls softball team were aboard the bus  traveling home at the time of the crash. The team's coach was driving the bus when it was struck by an SUV on SH 377, between Bowlegs and Konawa, in Seminole County. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the SUV was traveling in the northbound lane just after 7 p.m. when it swerved and collided with a Konawa School activity bus after the driver of the SUV swerved when passing another vehicle,  The driver and passenger were pinned inside the SUV when it caught fire. Both were pronounced dead on the scene from what authorities described as þÄúmassive injuries.þÄù Monday, March 11, 2019. .Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.
Flowers and personalized notes are placed on a chain-link fence near the home dugout of the Konawa softball stadium. Konawa Middle School athlete Rhindi Kay Isaacs, 12, was among three people who died in a fiery, head-on collision Friday evening. The Konawa Public School District said six students from the junior high school girls softball team were aboard the bus traveling home at the time of the crash. The team's coach was driving the bus when it was struck by an SUV on SH 377, between Bowlegs and Konawa, in Seminole County. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the SUV was traveling in the northbound lane just after 7 p.m. when it swerved and collided with a Konawa School activity bus after the driver of the SUV swerved when passing another vehicle, The driver and passenger were pinned inside the SUV when it caught fire. Both were pronounced dead on the scene from what authorities described as þÄúmassive injuries.þÄù Monday, March 11, 2019. .Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.

NORMAN — A dozen girls in orange “Konawa Strong” T-shirts locked arms with the Oklahoma softball team Sunday, forming a circle in the middle of the dirt infield.

They swayed back and forth in a pregame pump-up ritual. There was joy in the togetherness, but sorrow for whom the circle lacked. One month ago, 12-year-old Rhindi Kay Isaacs was killed in a bus crash when the Konawa Lady Tigers junior high softball team was coming home from a game in Okemah.

An SUV collided with the school activities bus on U.S. 377 in Seminole County. The driver of the SUV, who was scheduled to appear in court on a DUI charge, was killed. As was a passenger in the vehicle.

Five of the girls on the bus were taken to a nearby hospital. Isaacs was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rhindi Kay - ‘Gone but never forgotten.’

The note hangs with a white ribbon on a fence at the Konawa softball field. Coach Patty Gasso and the Sooners took a trip to that field last Monday to watch Konawa’s junior high game.

“I know what it probably felt like for the Konawa kids to see OU softball at their slowpitch game,” Gasso said. “And they kept looking back at the stands like, ‘Are they watching me? Are they watching me?’ And for these guys to take their day off to go out there and do it, it just shows their heart.”

The Konawa girls and their families were interspersed throughout the sellout crowd Sunday at Marita Hynes Field to witness OU’s most-lopsided win of the season — a 16-0 run-rule victory against Baylor to seal the series sweep.

With the win came another milestone in what has become a history-making season for the Sooners. Oklahoma extended its home winning streak to 46 games, breaking a school record of 45 consecutive home wins during a stretch from April 2000 to March 2002.

The Sooners haven’t lost a home game since May 20, 2017. They’ve won 31 consecutive Big 12 games and boast the longest winning streak in the nation: 25 games.

“There are times when I just stay out of their way,” Gasso said. “I probably talked less to them in between innings than ever, because what am I gonna say to a team that knows exactly what to do? I sit back and watch like a fan because I can really see what it looks like.”

The most notable fans Sunday were from a community 50 miles southeast of Norman, a community of 1,240 people that has since come together to remember one girl.

“Something we enjoy doing is just trying to brighten someone’s day,” senior second baseman Caleigh Clifton said. “I think we did that today.”

Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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