Lauren Chamberlain's career ended Saturday night after softball's all-time home run leader did everything in her power to keep it alive.
Not even home runs in back-to-back innings for the slugger could keep the Sooners alive, thanks to Alabama's Marisa Runyon's grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning. The loss sent the Sooners home in tears and left softball fans everywhere slightly disappointed they won't see Chamberlain on the diamond in Norman next spring.
Chamberlain's career may be over, but she will long be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play at Oklahoma. Obviously, she's the best softball player to grace Marita Hynes Field, but she's one of the best to play at OU in any sport.
Few players have the ability to transcend their sport, but Chamberlain did that for softball, hitting 95 career home runs in an era where dominant hitting is rarer than it used to be. She's an incredible power hitter, but she's more than that, boasting a career batting average close to .400 and a fielding percentage close to .990.
Although, being known as a power hitter is inevitable when 39.6 percent of your career hits go over the fence. And if Chamberlain hadn't dealt with back issues last season or missed a few games this year, imagine what her home run total would be.
And just for a reminder on how good Chamberlain has been over four years, fellow senior Shelby Pendley ended her career with 84 homers, 15 more career RBIs than Chamberlain, hit .430 the past two years and never would be considered a better player than Chamberlain.
Chamberlain has done a lot for softball over her four years at Oklahoma. Her abuse of the softball has drawn in the casual fan just like great home run chases in baseball drew in fans back in the early 2000s. She took an already good program at Oklahoma and made it great once again after a Women's College World Series drought in the middle of last decade.
It seems unfair Chamberlain can't finish her collegiate career on softball's biggest stage in front of a hometown crowd in Oklahoma City. But regardless of where Chamberlain's career ended, she was always going to be known as one of the greatest Sooners ever.
Her performance this weekend in Tuscaloosa only strengthened that fact and made the ending that much more disappointing.