By Madison Huffling
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Junior Georgia Casey has traveled over 8,000 miles from her native Australia to Norman, Okla., for one reason: softball.
The 5’5 infielder/pitcher came to the University of Oklahoma from Mount St. Benedict College in Pennant Hills, Sydney, Australia to play for head coach Patty Gasso.
Casey started playing softball at age nine.
“I started because someone in the shopping mall handed me a flyer about starting t-ball,” she said. “So a bunch of friends and I started for fun.”
After a while, Casey’s friends all quit playing, but she stuck with it.
“I was good at it and it was something I loved,” Casey said of choosing to stick with the sport.
Before coming to the United States, Casey racked up numerous awards in Australia. In 2010, she was named the New South Wales Athlete of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Best Pitcher of the New South Wales State League (NSWSL), and Western Sydney Academy of Sport Team Athlete of the Year. In 2009, Casey was named MVP and Best Pitcher at the national championship tournament and the MVP of the NSWSL.
Thanks to one of Casey’s Australian National Team coaches, Gasso was able to pursue her.
“She shadowed our program for about three weeks,” Gasso said of Casey’s coach. “She was telling me a little bit about Georgia. I didn’t have any money to offer or anything like that, but She sent me video of her and I looked and I really liked her.”
At the end of that season, some scholarship money became available and Gasso began actively recruiting Casey.
“We offered Georgia to come here on a visit,” Gasso said. “She came and participated in a camp. It was freezing cold for her because their summers are our winters. She’s coming from 90-degree weather to low 40s. The weather was challenging on her, but we really had a good visit. She really enjoyed the team and felt that family atmosphere.”
Casey said she agreed on the atmosphere.
“The people won me over when I came on my visit,” she said. “Everyone here was just so friendly and nice.”
After Casey’s visit to Norman, Gasso’s interest for her grew and she took a trip to Australia to watch Casey play.
“I got to see her play, got to meet her family,” Gasso explained. “I think it was just the perseverance of showing her that we really wanted her that had something to do with it. After I got to meet her and see her in action, I knew I really wanted a player like that here.”
Although Casey was also being recruited by the likes of Hawaii and UCLA, she committed to the Sooners.
Once she arrived, the awards piled up. Since the start of her collegiate career, she has been named to the 2013 WCWS All-Tournament Team, in addition to receiving All-Big 12 Second Team, All-Big 12 Defensive Team and Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honors as a sophomore. As a freshman, Casey was named to the All-Big 12 First Team and was a Big 12 Player of the Week.
In her time at Oklahoma, she has played in 139 games and started 138 games combined at second base, shortstop and pitcher.
Gasso said Casey’s versatility and athleticism is a critical part of the team.
“It’s so big for us,” Gasso said. “It’s unheard of in this day and age that your leadoff batter is hitting home runs, getting her RBIs, playing second, playing short and pitching.”
In more than two seasons, the right-hander has pitched 33.0 innings, with a 3-2 record and a 3.99 ERA. She has struck out 28 batters and held opponents to a .238 batting average.
At the plate, Casey has a .351 career batting average and 91 RBIs. Casey has hit 22 home runs, 10 of which came in her freshman season.
“She’s athletic and that’s what I wanted, just a team of athletes that are not afraid to compete any time, any place,” Gasso said. “She is the epitome of what that looks like.”