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Oklahoma State Softball

World Series Exit Hurts, but Cowgirl Softball is Better Than It’s Ever Been

June 8, 2022

STILLWATER – Monday night’s improbable exit from the Women’s College World Series for Oklahoma State will sting for a while. The Cowgirls entered the first game against Texas 2-0 in World Series play and riding a 10-game winning streak.

Win one game and advance to the Finals against Bedlam foe, Oklahoma.

However, a Bedlam rematch in the Finals just wasn’t to be as Texas won the first game 5-0 and battled back to upset the No. 7 Cowgirls 6-5 in game two.

Even with the disappointment of the early exit, Cowgirl softball had another magical season and accomplished things we’ve never seen from the program before.

“In all our time here, all the top-three finishes in the country, it’s pretty dang good,” said Kenny Gajewski. “We won a Big 12 tournament championship, that hasn’t been done here. We just kind of continued to raise the bar, so this team will go down as a team that got us to the next step and there’s some really good people here who will go down as all-time greats here.”

They started the year off a little rocky with a loss to Duke in the Kajikawa Classic, then three-straight losses a week later in the St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational. However, through all the adversity, the Cowgirls continued to battle.

“I just think it’s all the adversity we faced all year,” said Sydney Pennington. “We just kept pushing through and even if we had a few bad days, we bounced right back and just kept pushing. This team was amazing and I’m just really glad that we started peaking at the right time and now we could finish it here [at the Women’s College World Series] and the seniors finish our careers here. We’re happy how the year turned out. Obviously, we’re not super thrilled, but we OK. To end our careers here is amazing and this team was amazing with all the ups and downs that we’ve had, I’m really glad with how we pushed through.”

This year marked the fifth-straight season the Cowgirls made NCAA Regional play, the fourth-straight season hosting, as well as the third-straight year making an NCAA Super Regional and second-straight season hosting Supers. Not to mention this team has had three-straight Women’s College World Series appearances.

“I’m just really glad that I chose OSU,” said Pennington. “I wouldn’t have wanted to play for anyone else and coach [Gajewski] always says ‘that once you play and you’re done, you’re a Cowgirl for life,’ and I’m just really excited to watch now. Like Kiley [Naomi] said, I’m really happy that me and Chelsea [Alexander] and our class got to set that high standard and now we’re looking forward to them keeping it going and even win the World Series.”

Next year’s team will look a lot different as there’s a lot of seniors on the way out, seniors who continued to set the bar higher each of the seasons they were in Stillwater. Seniors such as Sydney Pennington, Chelsea Alexander, Kiley Naomi and Chyenne Factor. Seniors who transferred into the program like Hayley Busby, Morgan Day and Miranda Elish.

“Like I told [the team], I’m just so grateful for what these seniors have done for us, the way they’ve continued to raise the bar,” said Gajewski. “It’s gonna hurt for a long time, and it should hurt, that’s why you play. Only one team is gonna hoist the trophy at the very end and so it’s gonna hurt for everyone at some point, besides the winning team. It’s a good hurt because when you’re around a lot of people who really care about each other and just trying to achieve a goal, those types of things hurt when you just fall short.”

But there’s also a lot of talent returning next season, such as pitcher Kelly Maxwell, who etched herself into the record books this season as just the third player to record at least 300 strikeouts in a single season.

Players like breakout sophomore Katelynn Carwile, who finished the season hitting .335 on the year, as well as Karli Petty and Julia Cottrill.

Then looking back at the transfers who made a major impact, there’s also future transfers Kenny Gajewski and Co. will bring in over the next couple of months heading into the fall semester.

There’s no question an exit one game shy of the Finals of the WCWS hurts, but Cowgirl Softball is on the best footing in program history and that’s a pretty great place to be.

Discussion from...

World Series Exit Hurts, but Cowgirl Softball is Better Than It’s Ever Been

1,228 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by CaliforniaCowboy
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it was a great season, and entertaining to watch.

I just can't shake this feeling that Coach Kenny overthought the WCWS, and made some roster moves that came back to haunt him.

I still can't believe that we did not start Maxwell in game 1 against Texas... she's our best, had a days rest, and we needed to win that game. If we start Maxwell and don't win, we would still have her available for some relief the next day if needed. Two chances to have Maxwell shut down the horns just has to be better than going with option 2 in the first game and then heaping everything on Maxwell's shoulders in the finale. It didn't work.

Also, starting freshman Evans at 2nd and starting Petty in RF for her first time ever playing in the outfield. Both moves turned out to be disastrous. I like Evans and think she'll be a good player for us, but she got benched down the stretch for a reason, after having horrible outings against Florida State and OU to end the season.

I understand the Coach G. was trying to get Petty's bat into the lineup, but to put somebody in a completely new position in the must win final game of the season was questionable at the start, and proved horrible in hindsight.

I don't know why Coach G. did not simply ride the horse that got him there, and felt that we needed to shake things up to hope for a win.

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California - I agree with everything you said.

Transfer portal is about to take its toll … pay attention to the names in the coming days. Based on your post, I wouldn't be surprised if you recognize some name's. Pray to God that Maxwell is not one of them!!!

Helluva season and quite a historic ride, and yet, one helluva missed opportunity too. May not have that opportunity again.

Proud of the Girls. Proud of the program.

Go Cowgirls!
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I'm not ready to go in that direction, I simply thought that he should have gone with his gut, and not over think the situation.

The Portal has been good to OSU, and I hope that the talent in remains strong as it has been the past few season.

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oops... I spoke too soon..... better listen to eecowboy...

Evans enters the Portal..... I guess she wasn't to pleased being benched late in the season, and only getting pinch running duties in the WCWS.

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