OU's Ricketts Named To U.S. National Team, Shults An Alternate

Saturday, June 18th 2011, 12:12 am
By: News 9


NORMAN, Oklahoma – Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts was named to the USA Softball Women's National team Friday, and teammate Jessica Shults will be the team's alternate.

"One of the biggest dreams that a softball player has is to be able to play and represent our country," OU Head Coach Patty Gasso said. "It is thrilling to see Keilani and Jessica earn the opportunity to make another of their dreams come true."

Ricketts is coming off a sophomore season in which she won 29 games and led the Sooners to the Women's College World Series for the first time since 2004. She was a first-team All-American and also received All-Region and All-Big 12 honors.

Ricketts set a single-game record with 19 strikeouts against Iona in the Sooners' first game of the NCAA Regionals, and she finished with a single-season record of 452 on the year. She stands just eight strikeouts away from breaking the OU career record, and she has two years of eligibility remaining.

Shults was one home run away from tying the OU single-season record when she was struck with pan-ulcerative colitis. She did not play in any of the Sooners' four regional games or their two Super Regional wins. She returned as a designated hitter in the WCWS, but was unable to tie the record.

The USA Softball Women's National team will include a total of 19 players and will play its first two-game exhibition series in Plant City, Fla., on Saturday, June 26. That will be followed with two more short exhibition series on June 29 and July 1, with all games being played against the Junior Women's National team.

The team will move on international play after that, first in the Canadian Open Fast Pitch Tournament starting on July 9. They will then return to Oklahoma City on July 21 for the World Cup of Softball VI. Tickets for the World Cup currently are available at softballoutlet.com.