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OU softball: How a weekend break changed Jocelyn Alo's season

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Jocelyn Alo, right, celebrates an out with Nicole Mendes during OU's 3-0 win against Oklahoma State last Saturday in Norman. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]
Jocelyn Alo, right, celebrates an out with Nicole Mendes during OU's 3-0 win against Oklahoma State last Saturday in Norman. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]

NORMAN — Jocelyn Alo launched a ball over OU’s center field wall that bounded toward the tennis courts north of Marita Hynes Field. A day later she pulled a pitch to the Cowgirl Stadium parking lot in Stillwater.

Alo is careful to declare herself “back,” but the smash of her bat says otherwise. It’s a nightmarish sound for opposing pitchers as No. 1-ranked Oklahoma enters the postseason. Alo is well off pace to match her 30-home run freshman campaign, but finally accepting that truth has brought her peace.

“I wouldn’t say back to the old me, but I’ve found my new self this year,” Alo said. “I’m really starting to have fun again playing softball.”

A month ago, Alo wasn’t playing softball. Before a mid-April weekend road trip to Kansas, Sooner coach Patty Gasso told Alo to stay home. While Alo’s numbers were still solid if not spectacular, Gasso sensed her slugger needed a break.

“At first I was like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Then I realized she’s only doing it to have me take a step back and recharge,” Alo said. “Ever since that break I’ve just elevated my game. I think it was a good move on her part as much as I hated it.”

Instead of occupying a spot in the middle of OU’s lineup, last year’s National Freshman of the Year found herself walking the aisles of Walmart. Rather than watching her team on TV, she hung out with her boyfriend and cleaned her room.

It was a full detox from softball.

“When you take something away from them that’s really important, it makes them wake up real quick,” Gasso said. “She just wasn’t treating it right, and being away from it made her realize that. I’m not a good coach if I’m afraid of how one of my players might react.”

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Gasso knew best.

Alo has raised her batting average from .361 to .404 since returning to the lineup. She’s hit seven home runs in the last 10 games after needing 36 games to hit her first seven home runs.

She’s tied for 10th on OU’s all-time home runs list despite not being through her sophomore season.

“We showed her we could win without her, but it’s sure fun winning with her,” Gasso said. “She can change the game literally every swing.”

Alo’s adjustments have come away from the field as well. The Hauula, Hawaii native is still acclimating to life on the mainland, her dad Levi said. Poke, the traditional fish dish she ate almost every day, isn’t easily found in Norman. She’s traded beaches for fields and a laid-back lifestyle for the demanding one of a college athlete.

“It’s a total culture shock,” Levi Alo said.

Yet Jocelyn seems back in a comfortable place — hitting home runs too big for stadiums to confine.

“Whoa,” she thought, rounding the bases last weekend. “That was kind of far.”

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Big 12 softball tournament

Friday's pool play at USA Hall of Fame Stadium

Game 1: No. 1 OU vs. No. 4 Texas Tech, 2 p.m. (Fox Sports Oklahoma)

Game 2: No. 1 OU vs. No. 6 Kansas, 7:30 p.m. (Fox College Sports)

Related Photos
<strong>Jocelyn Alo hits a home run during the NCAA Norman Super Regional last spring. Alo hit 30 homers last season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]</strong>

Jocelyn Alo hits a home run during the NCAA Norman Super Regional last spring. Alo hit 30 homers last season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bd6f251ccb876f7675b7254bdb101484.jpg" alt="Photo - Jocelyn Alo hits a home run during the NCAA Norman Super Regional last spring. Alo hit 30 homers last season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Jocelyn Alo hits a home run during the NCAA Norman Super Regional last spring. Alo hit 30 homers last season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Jocelyn Alo hits a home run during the NCAA Norman Super Regional last spring. Alo hit 30 homers last season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6cb8c36dae6d9ed2b6071d05e52162ff.jpg" alt="Photo - Sooner Sydney Romero is out at second loosing a race back to the bag as Madi Sue Montgomery makes the out in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Sooner Sydney Romero is out at second loosing a race back to the bag as Madi Sue Montgomery makes the out in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Sooner Sydney Romero is out at second loosing a race back to the bag as Madi Sue Montgomery makes the out in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d72d60e2cfbc51dd392609b472334026.jpg" alt="Photo - Pitcher Giselle &quot;G&quot; Juarez, right, and Shay Knighten celebrate the teamÕs two home run inning in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Pitcher Giselle &quot;G&quot; Juarez, right, and Shay Knighten celebrate the teamÕs two home run inning in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Pitcher Giselle &quot;G&quot; Juarez, right, and Shay Knighten celebrate the teamÕs two home run inning in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2c465df21c1c09e93891a696ddad6bac.jpg" alt="Photo - Teammates greet Jocelyn Alo after her home run in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Teammates greet Jocelyn Alo after her home run in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Teammates greet Jocelyn Alo after her home run in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-cffb81113700fd345e2fc325404d2f84.jpg" alt="Photo - Shay Knighten and Falepolima Aviu celebrate Jocelyn AloÕs homer in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Shay Knighten and Falepolima Aviu celebrate Jocelyn AloÕs homer in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Shay Knighten and Falepolima Aviu celebrate Jocelyn AloÕs homer in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e77c6d1018f2afc56091af4e99de8fd8.jpg" alt="Photo - Nicole Mendes steps to the plats in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Nicole Mendes steps to the plats in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Nicole Mendes steps to the plats in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-38d8f49e5010851880d507d4ce8f745a.jpg" alt="Photo - Sooners Nicole Mendes and Jocelyn Alo celebrate an out in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Sooners Nicole Mendes and Jocelyn Alo celebrate an out in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Sooners Nicole Mendes and Jocelyn Alo celebrate an out in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b36d48c6bdfdaea98955a1664af8af06.jpg" alt="Photo - Sooner infielder Lynsie Elam hits in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Sooner infielder Lynsie Elam hits in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Sooner infielder Lynsie Elam hits in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0b81871853ad7cb2cf189c1879f8dcc6.jpg" alt="Photo - Falepolima Aviu hits in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Falepolima Aviu hits in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Falepolima Aviu hits in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-53146f5c943d000e49b59480dfa020b9.jpg" alt="Photo - Samantha Show pitches in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Samantha Show pitches in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Samantha Show pitches in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a2e9450ec01a5768b74d610dc811f4b8.jpg" alt="Photo - Giselle &quot;G&quot; Juarez pitches in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Giselle &quot;G&quot; Juarez pitches in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Giselle &quot;G&quot; Juarez pitches in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-10507e9467787859118d294daea48f6c.jpg" alt="Photo - Teammates great Caleigh Clifton at home after the first of two home runs in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Teammates great Caleigh Clifton at home after the first of two home runs in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Teammates great Caleigh Clifton at home after the first of two home runs in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-45cae9126a5819fe9fcf2fa858b2b6e4.jpg" alt="Photo - Sooner first baseman Shay Knighten retrieves a wide throw from catcher Lynnsie Elam to put out Samantha Show in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Sooner first baseman Shay Knighten retrieves a wide throw from catcher Lynnsie Elam to put out Samantha Show in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Sooner first baseman Shay Knighten retrieves a wide throw from catcher Lynnsie Elam to put out Samantha Show in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3789ce03544cabb1ae4037a32d7b6d86.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma StateÕs Madi Sue Montgomery makes the first half of a double play putting out Grace Lyons at second base in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="Oklahoma StateÕs Madi Sue Montgomery makes the first half of a double play putting out Grace Lyons at second base in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Oklahoma StateÕs Madi Sue Montgomery makes the first half of a double play putting out Grace Lyons at second base in Bedlam softball as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4d311fae50ed9ea50f8d46dd263de576.jpg" alt="Photo - A record crowd attends the Bedlam softball game as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="A record crowd attends the Bedlam softball game as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A record crowd attends the Bedlam softball game as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-31d43602f1f2984fb7a88f37c9077170.jpg" alt="Photo - A record crowd attends the Bedlam softball game as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]" title="A record crowd attends the Bedlam softball game as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A record crowd attends the Bedlam softball game as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) play the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex on May 4, 2019 in Norman, Okla. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8b7ee6d06a5596ec75fc2a58a79ea860.jpg" alt="Photo - Jocelyn Alo, right, celebrates an out with Nicole Mendes during OU's 3-0 win against Oklahoma State last Saturday in Norman. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman] " title=" Jocelyn Alo, right, celebrates an out with Nicole Mendes during OU's 3-0 win against Oklahoma State last Saturday in Norman. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Jocelyn Alo, right, celebrates an out with Nicole Mendes during OU's 3-0 win against Oklahoma State last Saturday in Norman. [Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
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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