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Jocelyn Erickson bringing big bat to Oklahoma softball
Jocelyn Erickson led the state of Arizona with 25 home runs while batting .624 with 58 RBIs in her senior season with Sandra Day O'Connor High School. (Courtesy: @joceyerickson/Instagram)

Jocelyn Erickson bringing big bat to Oklahoma softball

PHOENIX (BVM) – Jocelyn Erickson grew up around athletes.

Her older brother, Brendon, went on to play baseball at Brigham Young University and two of her older sisters, Emilee and Kaylee, played softball at BYU. All four siblings attended Sandra Day O’Connor High School, but by the time Jocelyn began her freshman year with the Eagles, she had already committed to play softball at the University of Oklahoma.

“I have two older sisters who also play softball so I kind of just followed in their footsteps,” Jocelyn said. “But since I was the last one to go through it, I was kind of taught by them and learned from their experiences. I would tag along to their games, to their practices and they would help me out and teach me whatever I needed to know.

“They’re a huge part of my success story.”

After committing to the Sooners in the eighth grade, Jocelyn wasted no time proving why she is one of the very best softball prospects in the country. She batted .530 with eight home runs (including a grand slam), 50 RBIs and 16 doubles as a freshman. The 2019 MaxPreps Freshman All-American appeared poised to replicate her freshman campaign for the next few years, but then life happened.

First, Jocelyn had her sophomore season cut short after just 11 games due to Covid-19. She still managed to hit .533 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in the limited action.

Then in January of 2021 while playing basketball, the three-sport star tried to cross over a defender and tore her ACL and meniscus, causing her to miss the entirety of her junior season.

“It was a huge setback but I learned a lot from that experience,” Jocelyn said. “It was very eye-opening and a lot of life lessons were learned.”

According to head coach Melissa Hobson, this tough period of Jocelyn’s life led to a “tremendous amount of growth.”

“Having to sit out brought just a better understanding of her teammates who have to sit the bench and watch and then also, a better understanding of the fact that it can be taken away in a minute,” Hobson said. “The focus and intensity of going about things has always been there, but just going through that adversity and then coming back from that was the biggest amount of growth in terms of leadership, her play, her work ethic and the way she worked out.

“She was really just on a mission to be great.”

After nearly two years removed from the game, Jocelyn didn’t miss a beat upon her return for her senior campaign.

Within the first week of the regular season, the Eagles’ star hit a pair of home runs in back-to-back-to-back games. She then exploded again at the plate on March 23, going 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs during a 28-2 win over Westwood.

Hobson said she wasn’t surprised at how quickly Jocelyn returned to form, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t moments of awe.

“Jocelyn has always been a competitor and very intense but what shocked me is, when we started going through the season and, the home runs just kept happening and happening,” Hobson said. “I think it was after about midway through the season, I said to my assistant, ‘hey, she only has like three more until she breaks our single-season home run record and we’re barely halfway through the season.’

“That’s when I started realizing like, ‘she’s just killing it right now.’”

Jocelyn did end up shattering Sandra Day O’Connor’s single-season home run record, but that’s not all she did.

She led the state with 25 home runs (breaking the previous single-season program mark of 17) while batting .624 with 58 RBIs. The Conference 6A Player of the Year also scored 50 runs, walked 28 times and picked off five runners at first base.

The spectacular senior season stood above the rest around the state and resulted in Jocelyn earning Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year honors.

“I was so honored and excited,” Jocelyn said of the award. “I woke up that morning like, ‘wow, my hard work kind of just paid off.’ There’s still more to accomplish but I’m super proud of myself for making a comeback year.

“This past year, I just said that I have to go out with a bang, put everything out there on the field, have fun with my teammates and make a lot of memories. I think I did that.”

Jocelyn will have the opportunity to continue making memories at the next level for the back-to-back defending Women’s College World Series champions.

The Sooners will welcome four freshmen for the 2023 season and each of them rank in the top 20 of Extra Innings Softball’s 2022 Extra Elite 100, including Jocelyn who checks in as the No. 10 player and No. 4 catcher in the class.

Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso already sees Jocelyn’s supreme talent, but the six-time national champion believes her future catcher has just scratched the surface of her full potential.

“Jocelyn is very versatile,” Gasso said in a press release. “She’s a left-handed catcher with a great arm as well as a left-handed first baseman, so she can do special things for us defensively. She can be a one-swing game-changer.

“Getting her on campus and working with (hitting coach) JT (Gasso), getting her stronger and working with athletes at this level will be extremely beneficial for her. Her mindset will be able to elevate her game to a new level.”

When Jocelyn joins Oklahoma in the fall, she won’t be the only one representing Sandra Day O’Connor and Phoenix in Norman.

Grace Lyons led the Eagles to the 6A state championship as a team captain in 2016 before being named to the 2019 All-Big 12 Freshman Team for the Sooners. She was the 2021 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and hit 23 home runs this season for Oklahoma, including a three-run shot in the Sooners’ WCWS clinching win over Texas.  

Jocelyn said she and Lyons have practiced together a couple of times and live near each other, but next spring will be the first time this Phoenix duo shares the same field for a game.

“With Covid, that’s a little blessing in disguise because I get to play with her next year at Oklahoma so I’m super excited for that,” Jocelyn said.

Oklahoma won a national championship during Jocelyn’s eighth grade year (2017) when she committed to the Sooners and just months before she steps onto campus as a student-athlete, they’ve done it again.

With plenty of returning talent and an elite incoming class which includes Kierston Deal — the No. 1 player in the Class of the 2022 — and Jocelyn, among others, the Sooners will have a three-peat on their minds.

“It’s the perfect fit for me,” Jocelyn said of Oklahoma. “It’s a competitive program, obviously, they’ve won back-to-back national championships and it’s one of my goals to win a national championship. The coaches are phenomenal, the players are phenomenal; I just want to be challenged and grow from their experiences.”