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‘Beating OU Was Not Our Goal’: Gajewski Excited for the Start of ‘Season 3’

‘It’s nice to get done on the way to your goal, but if we don’t get to OKC, I don’t think anybody’s really gonna care much, to be very honest.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — The Cowgirls this weekend did something that hasn’t been done since the turn of the century, but that wasn’t their goal.

Oklahoma State took two games off Oklahoma in Norman — a feat the Cowgirls haven’t conquered since 1997. OSU was able to celebrate with the Bedlam trophy after defeating the three-time defending national champs, who also happen to be its in-state rival, but the season didn’t end Sunday. The Cowgirls now have to get back to work ahead of what the team calls Season 3 — the postseason. Season 3 starts with a Big 12 Tournament game against BYU at 11 a.m. Thursday at Devon Park in Oklahoma City. Then after this tournament, the Cowgirls will start the NCAA Tournament in hopes of getting back to that stadium.

“We’re in here working because that’s not the goal — beating OU was not our goal,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewksi said. “It’s nice to get done on the way to your goal, but if we don’t get to OKC, I don’t think anybody’s really gonna care much, to be very honest.”

With the Sooners’ dominance over recent seasons, the Big 12 Tournament has a little more intrigue going into it this season. Texas enters as the 1 seed this season with OU and OSU coming in at 2 and 3, respectively. Texas winning the regular season broke a streak of 11 straight seasons where the Sooners won. OU has won four of the past five Big 12 Tournaments, with OSU breaking up that reign with a tourney win in 2022.

OSU would have a semifinal matchup against OU at 5 p.m. Friday should both teams get past their first game. Although the Cowgirls did win their series against BYU this season, they did drop a game to the Cougars. The Sooners haven’t lost to either Kansas nor Houston — who play Wednesday for a chance to play OU. And Texas hasn’t lost to anyone on its side of the bracket this season. Among the three, OSU won its series against both but enters as the lowest seed.

This three-team dance is made all the more interesting considering all three are consensus top-five teams in the national rankings. It could turn into a matter of how much each wants to show the others certain pitchers during this tournament in OKC when another tournament in OKC including the three could be looming.

OSU had Monday off before getting back to work on Tuesday. The postseason has been good to the Cowgirls over recent years, but this group has a lot of new pieces. Karli Godwin, Rosie Davis and Caroline Wang all earned All-Big 12 honors on Wednesday in their first seasons with the program. Newcomer Jilyen Poullard has come on as the season has winded down, and Ivy Rosenberry has jumped from 37 innings pitched last season to 100 this regular season.

From the outside, it’s fair to wonder how this new group will respond to the high highs of this past weekend, but Gajewski doesn’t seem too worried about where his team is at emotionally heading into Season 3.

“I don’t think they’ll be any different than what they’ve been after we lost to Iowa State or after we beat Texas,” Gajewski said. “I think it’s the same thing. I think it’ll be workman like. We’re entering into that cool phase where school is almost done, where they’re kind of like pros. It’s kind of ‘I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff.’ So, I’m really, really excited about that, where we can just kind of go and their focus can truly be on the softball part, which is not normal, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m excited about that.”

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