Fall 2023

Oklahoma softball star Jayda Coleman finds contentment in Christ as Sooners seek 3-peat

Oklahoma softball outfielder Jayda Coleman felt empty after winning a national championship as a freshman. She felt worse after winning another last season, and was left trying to figure out why.

A year later, Coleman has her answer.

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“I was just so happy that we won the College World Series, but I didn’t feel joy,” she said Tuesday while reflecting on her first national title. “I didn’t know what to do the next day. I didn’t know what to do for that following week. I didn’t feel filled, and I had to find Christ in that.”

Coleman is entering this season’s championship series against Florida State with a completely different perspective. She knows no amount of success in softball can provide the joy she was searching for. Only God can.

Asked at their press conference Tuesday how they dealt with the pressure of their NCAA-record 51-game winning streak (and counting) and found joy during a long season, Coleman, Grace Lyons and Alyssa Brito took turns explaining that the Lord is the only source of true fulfillment.

“I think that’s what makes our team so strong is that we’re not afraid to lose because it’s not the end of the world if we do lose,” Coleman said. “Yes, obviously, we worked our butts off to be here and we want to win. But it’s not the end of the world because our life is in Christ and that’s all that matters.”

The daughter of a high school softball coach and one of the top prospects in the country since she was in middle school, Coleman committed to Oklahoma when she was in eighth grade. She immediately became the Sooners’ starting centerfielder and hit .444 as a freshman. A three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-American, Coleman owns a career .429 batting average and hasn’t made an error in two seasons.

She has hit as many home runs this season (17) as she did in her first two seasons combined, the most recent of which came in the extra-innings win over Stanford that sent Oklahoma to the championship series.

Back in March, Coleman was baptized by Lyons and fellow outfielder Rylie Boone. Coleman posted pictures of the baptism on Instagram, writing that she was “a witness to others” because of “what Christ has done for me.”

 

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“I had to find something that fulfills me in my heart, regardless of if we win or if we three-peat or if we don’t,” Coleman recently told The Athletic. “I’m still going to be fulfilled in my heart, because reading my Bible at night and praying to God is what fulfills me, not winning a national championship.”

No matter how the rest of her softball career plays out, Coleman wants to be known for the impact she had off the field rather than what she does on it.

“This is entertainment for other people to watch,” Coleman told The Athleltic. “We are out here playing and loving the game, but as soon as the game is over, what’s going on in your community? What are you representing? What are your values? When I leave the field, I want to represent something so much bigger than just being the player that robbed a home run.”

Game 1 of the best-of-three WCWS Finals is Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Game 2 is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. Game 3 would be Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

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