OKLAHOMA CITY — Christina Hamilton was halfway to the batter’s box yelling encouragement in the fifth inning Saturday.
In the sixth, she went as far as walking to the plate to give encouragement to pinch hitter Gabby Felps during a timeout.
Anything to get a spark for a struggling Louisiana-Lafayette offense that was offering little support for Hamilton in the circle.
“I trust my hitters, I trust my defense and I didn’t really get the job done,” Hamilton said. “I was just goofing around like I always do, not really saying anything specific. I did tell them coach is crazy and just hit the ball.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns fell to defending champion Oklahoma 3-1, squandering two solid performances by Hamilton and ending a magical season.
“I’m proud of my kids,” UL-Lafayette coach Michael Lotief said. “We’re not going to go back, and I’m going to let y’all do that and put labels on it or whatever. I know what I saw, I know how hard they worked, I know how hard they prepared and I know how good this team is and how hard they fight. That’s the story to me.”
The lack of offense proved too much to overcome.
In two games, Hamilton allowed seven runs — four earned — and just nine hits. On Saturday, she held the powerful Sooners offense to just four hits and settled in following a shaky start to retire 11 of 12 batters before OU’s Callie Parsons snuck a blooper into the left-field corner for an inside-the-park homer.
“I feel like she just put the bat on the ball and got lucky on it,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton had faced the Sooners earlier this season, winning both games of a doubleheader in March. She allowed just one run that day.
She was nearly as baffling this time around, except the Sooners scored two runs in the opening frame on a double by Brittany Williams.
It was another dominant performance that impressed Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso.
“She did a phenomenal job,” Gasso said. “She makes us better, just like Jackie Traina makes us a better hitting team, because we have to go to work and we have to figure some things out.”
And the Sooners did just enough to figure out Hamilton, despite stranding five baserunners.
Oklahoma had a chance to add to its lead in the third with two runners on and no outs, but Hamilton got three straight outs in the air to end the threat and settle down.
At that point, the hope was that the UL-Lafayette offense would find the rhythm it had before the WCWS.
It had its chances, getting multiple baserunners on base in the fifth and sixth innings, prompting Hamilton to get desperate for her teammates.
“She was talking to the hitters?” Lotief jokingly asked. “Maybe that was the problem.”