OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Spark Pro Softball Team proudly concluded its inaugural season in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch league, achieving remarkable milestones and garnering widespread acclaim from fans, media, and fellow athletes alike.
The Oklahoma City Spark was founded alongside the WPF with the community-based vision of expanding opportunities for females to achieve their professional goals. The Spark ignited a new era of excellence in pro softball and exceeded all expectations in its debut season. With an unwavering commitment to teamwork, dedication, and passion for the sport, the team has set a new standard for excellence in professional softball.
From the first pitch to the final inning, the Oklahoma City Spark showcased their exceptional skill, resilience, and determination on and off the field. Their performance led to a series of achievements that firmly establish the Spark as a dominant force in the professional softball arena, both in the state of Oklahoma and in the heart of the Softball Capital of the World.
Key Highlights from the Inaugural Season:
Record-Breaking Numbers: Throughout the season, the Spark's number of fans, wins, strikeouts, and home runs were unparalleled and set new benchmarks for league stat leaders. With only 18 home games, there were 23,000 tickets sold for the season. The Spark averaged more than 1,500 fans per game at USA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City - with nearly 3,000 in attendance during the HOF Opener on July 1 - and averaged 700 fans at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Gerry Pinkston Stadium in Edmond for the first six home games.
The OKC Spark amassed 21 wins during their eight week summer season, not including a pair of non-conference wins at the Royal Spark Challenge in London, two international games against Great Britain’s Senior Women’s Team.
With 104 strikeouts in only 16 appearances (67 ⅔ innings), Donnie Gobourne was the WPF Strikeout Leader - by a long shot. With an average of 6.5 strikeouts per appearance, other pitchers in the league had no chance of beating her record. Her biggest competitor in the second place spot had 67 strikeouts in 9 more appearances than Gobourne. Coming off her explosive senior season at the University of South Carolina, Gobourne was quick to make a statement in Oklahoma.
The impressive numbers were evident offensively, as well. Spark bats accounted for three of the top four WPF Home Run Leaders. Fa Leilua, former Mississippi State standout, hit nine home runs and was crowned the Home Run Leader for the league’s inaugural season. Not far behind her was Jocelyn Alo, the official “Home Run Queen” of softball. Hitting six home runs this season, the University of Oklahoma alum easily reminded fans of her 122 collegiate home runs that lead both NCAA Softball and NCAA Baseball leaderboards. Michelle Moultrie also racked up six home runs this summer. Her impactful presence and experience in the leadoff spot set a positive tone for the entire lineup.
In the hot corner, third baseman Sydney Sherrill won WPF Defensive Player of the Year by boasting a 0.972 fielding percentage and six double plays on the season. Sherrill was an easy choice for an infield leader, but Lynnsie Elam also had a strong defensive presence behind the plate with a fielding percentage of 0.993. The record-breaking performances of these athletes not only thrilled fans but also demonstrated the team's commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the sport.
Unrivaled Teamwork: The Spark's unity and camaraderie were evident both on and off the field. Their ability to work seamlessly together translated into incredible on-field chemistry, making them a force to be reckoned with. Off the field, team bonding was a priority, especially on travel days. Despite many behind-the-scenes setbacks like stolen jerseys, ant-infested hotels, delayed flights, lost luggage, and much more, the team embraced every moment and found ways to connect in more ways than one.
Community Engagement: The Oklahoma City Spark embraced their role as community ambassadors, engaging with fans through various sponsors, autograph signings, and public appearances. Their dedication to being trailblazers in the professional sports industry and keeping strong Oklahoma ties within the team are ways to empower young athletes and support female sports. This exemplifies their commitment to being more than just athletes – they are true inspirations.
Fan Support: The Spark's fan base grew exponentially throughout the season, with fans of all ages rallying behind the team. Nicknamed the “Softball State,” Oklahoma’s passion and enthusiasm displayed by the fans in the stands and on social media played a crucial role in fueling the team's success. By averaging 1,500 fans per home game, a league record, Spark fans proved they are the best in the business.
"We are immensely proud of what the Spark has achieved in its first season," said Dr. Tina Floyd, team owner. "Their dedication, talent, and the way they've embraced our community have truly ignited a spark of excitement among fans and supporters. This is just the beginning of an incredible journey, and we can't wait to build upon this success in the seasons to come."
As the inaugural season draws to a close, the Oklahoma City Spark is already setting its sights on further accomplishments and continued growth. With a firm foundation of success, the team is primed to inspire new generations of athletes and softball enthusiasts while solidifying their legacy in the world of professional sports.