Former Land O’ Lakes standout Shannon Saile had the spotlight when she took the mound in Saturday’s history-making moment in college softball.
Saile, a redshirt senior, was named the starting pitcher for Oklahoma in game two of its Super Regional series against Washington. The game is being aired on ABC, the first time a college softball game has appeared on national television.
A star initially at Florida International, Saile transferred to Oklahoma, where she compiled a combined 18-4 record and 215 strikeouts the past two seasons.
She decided to return to the Sooners once last season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
To prepare, Saile works out with former Land O’ Lakes pitcher Callie Turner, now at Tennessee. They throw off a makeshift mound in an area neighborhood designed by Gators assistant coach Vinny Guarracino. The rubber is made from pieces of an old tire. Home plate is assembled from wood.
There are other workout items Saile has at her disposal, all courtesy of the Sooners. She has body bands, medicine balls and jump ropes. Oklahoma even sent her a diamond kinetic ball that can track the velocity, as well as the spin rate and direction, on each pitch.
Saile (featured photo above courtesy of OU Athletics) spent the summer playing for the Bradenton Slice in the seven-team FGCL, the first league of its kind for college softball players. She was dominant, finishing first in strikeouts and third in ERA.
This season, Saile is 16-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 116 strikeouts entering the second game of the Washington series.