Hot Links: Sydney Romero named finalist for USA Softball POY Award

Also, Lane Johnson donates money towards a new athletic training facility at Kilgore College.

Some of the very best players, regardless of sport, routinely come through Norman and place themselves atop the annals of Oklahoma Sooners history. That’s the kind of territory softball’s Sydney Romero is embarking on. On Thursday, the senior slugger was named one of three finalists for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

The only Sooner to be awarded with this honor is pitcher Keilani Ricketts, who actually walked away with it twice in 2012 and 2013.

For the No. 1 team in the nation and the NCAA Tournament’s top overall seed, one might think a single player couldn’t separate themselves from the vaunted team around her, but that’s exactly what Romero has done in 2019. In fact, the third baseman leads the Sooners in batting average, hits, total RBI and home runs. Beyond her sheer production at the plate, Romero has also been incredibly timely with her performances, and is as reliable as they come in clutch situations.

Romero was named Big 12 Player of the Year earlier this month, and on May 28th the winner of this national award will be announced. Between Sydney, UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and James Madison’s Megan Good, the voting committee couldn’t go wrong. Still, Oklahoma’s finalist has as strong of a case as anybody.

Now for today’s Hot Links! The NFL scraps the Oklahoma drill, Lane Johnson gives back to his old stomping grounds, Kyler Korver got the last laugh over a copy machine and more!

OU Links

  • The Sooners fell to Baylor in their opening game of the Big 12 Championship on Wednesday, 8-2, and now it’s win or go home from here on out in OKC. At 12:30 p.m. CT, Oklahoma will face TCU. In recent seasons, OU has done well to avoid being swept out of the tournament more times than not, so hopefully that trend continues for the sake of the postseason resume.

  • Quade Cummins, Brad Dalke and Blaine Hale have played a lot of golf together, and now ‘The Burly Boys’ are gearing up for one last ride towards NCAA glory. I can’t handle all this drip, fellas.

  • Junior tight end Grant Calcaterra has carved out a nice career for himself through two seasons, but now he has a chance to be a top two target in Lincoln Riley’s offense for newcomer Jalen Hurts. Having the top returning player at the position is quite the luxury.

  • With the increase of measures taken to prevent head injuries, the NFL has now prohibited the use of the Oklahoma drill in practice. The method was created and made famous throughout all levels of football by legendary OU coach Bud Wilkinson. The violent nature of the drill that basically guarantees repeated head-to-head collisions makes for great entertainment, but I can understand why the league wants to leave it in the past.
  • Former Sooners receiver Jeff Badet is looking to become a top two or three target for the Minnesota Vikings this season. And yes, he’s still bringing that speed.

  • Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson recently donated $500,000 to Kilgore College. If you recall, that was the JUCO that the former Sooner lineman attended before transferring to Oklahoma. Also, it’s where he last played QB before moving to the trenches. Amazing stuff from an amazing person.
  • In case you missed it, check out Allen’s post about Alex Grinch’s defensive scheme and why some of the growing pains during this transition may come in the form of big plays on the ground.
  • Also, make sure you give the latest episode of the Crimson & Cream Machine podcast a listen if you haven’t done so already. Jack and Kamiar were joined by Joe DuVall to cover all sorts of topics, such as the OU Softball team, updates on QB transfers, Heisman odds for Jalen Hurts and Sam Ehlinger and more!

Around the Sports World

  • Kyler Korver is one of my favorite players to follow in the NBA. The man isn’t just a sharp shooter on the court, he’s plain old sharp in general. Check out this hilarious yet motivating story the Creighton alum told during a recent graduation speech.

  • Virginia Tech could either have a really solid season, or it could completely collapse. Bill Connelly takes a closer look at what the Hokies have (and don’t have) going into Justin Fuente’s fourth year in Blacksburg.
  • Division III powerhouse St. Thomas was “involuntarily” booted from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) because its entire athletic program wins too much for the other conference members to be competitive. Wow.
  • CC Sabathia, your notes are stuck on your sweaty head, my guy. In fairness to him, at least he realized it before it became more comical than it already was. I imagine him running around retracing his steps, talking to other players on the field and in the dugout. This whole thing could have been a giant circus.

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Source: Crimson and Cream Machine