It’s hard to stick out in Oklahoma's high-powered lineup, but Lynnsie Elam managed to do so against the Mexico softball women's national team on Friday.
Elam, who is part of a catching rotation with sophomore Kinzie Hansen, knows she has to take advantage of opportunities when they’re presented to her.
In her first at-bat, Elam hit a single to left field that brought in the Sooners’ first run of the game, and she didn’t stop there.
The Sooners’ senior catcher went 4-for-4, scoring one run and notching a team-leading three RBIs. Because it’s an exhibition game, Elam’s great day at the plate won’t show up in her season stats. She accounted for four total runs in OU’s 11-0 win over Team Mexico in the first of a three-game exhibition series this weekend.
“I’m really proud of Lynnsie Elam,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. "She’s been in and out of the lineup, and she took her opportunities and made the most of them.”
Elam’s four hits were part of OU's 18 overall that put it up on the Olympic-qualifying Team Mexico. Seven of those hits came in the seventh inning when the Sooners broke the game open, scoring seven runs. Everyone in OU’s starting lineup registered at least one hit.
“She’s been hitting well, but this lineup is so loaded that you could be hitting at a clip of .340 and everybody else is hitting four hundreds, five hundreds, six hundreds,” Gasso said. “So it’s not like she’s struggling.”
While Elam isn’t catching every game, Gasso said she’s acted as a role model for how to handle the situation. She’s made the most of her opportunities, and that’s what her goal is with every at-bat.
“I know for myself, just knowing that we’re going to need all of us to win,” Elam said. “And it’s going to take all of us a different day to win.”
• Sooner ties: When Sydney Romero came up to bat for Team Mexico, she ran out of the Sooners’ dugout.
The former OU third baseman and current student assistant has to stay in the OU dugout to avoid having to quarantine as a result of playing for Team Mexico. Romero went 0-for-3 at the plate and started in center field. While that’s not a position she is used to, Gasso expects to see her former player in the infield the rest of the series.
“Anytime I get a chance to see Sydney Romero play again, my heart beats a little faster,” Gasso said. “It was cool to see her out there.”
Romero isn’t the only Oklahoma connection to Team Mexico.
Sooner right fielder Nicole Mendes is a member of the team and helped it qualify for the Tokyo Summer Olympics. She’ll rejoin the team at the conclusion of OU’s season.
For OU pitcher Giselle Juarez, the exhibition game was more like a tryout.
“Giselle is fighting for a spot on Team Mexico right now,” Gasso said. “And Giselle really made a statement for herself, as well as Nicole Mendes who did a nice job.”
Juarez went six innings in the circle for the Sooners. She threw four strikeouts and two walks, while giving up two hits and allowing no runs.
After dealing with an injury for much of last year’s shortened season, Juarez looked at the top of her game in the circle Friday night. She said she felt like it was one of her better performances this year.
“Of course there’s nerves,” Juarez said. “They’re going to the Olympics. That’s a big deal. And I know I am fighting for a spot on that team. So obviously there was nerves but (Elam) really helped me, and so did my whole team just helping me stay calm.”
• Next: OU will continue its exhibition series against Team Mexico at noon today.