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Cowgirl Softball: Remembering the Careers of OSU’s Eight Seniors



The Cowgirls’ season isn’t the only thing that ended Saturday. The conclusion of the year also marked the end of eight Oklahoma State softball players’ college careers. The eight seniors (nine if you include injured Rylee Bayless) are the most that have been on a Kenny Gajewski-led team, and most of them were everyday contributors this year or in the past.

We won’t see them play in Cowgirl Stadium again, but I figured it’d be good to look back on some of the seniors’ best and most memorable moments. I didn’t make it out to as many games this year, but I went to nearly every availability and home game during my two-year stretch as a softball beat writer for the O’Colly.

Let’s take a look back into the past few seasons and see what memories we can pull for each of the eight seniors.

Vanessa Shippy

For as great as Shippy is on the field, she’s equally as professional off of it. She was always insightful during availabilities and postgame interviews, regardless of what the outcome of the game was. The Cowgirls could be coming off a walk-off loss, and Shippy would provide as much information and show as much leadership as she would if they had won. One of my favorite Shippy moments came in the fall, when she spent an inning in the circle (she did this during an actual game in May to officially claim she played in all nine positions throughout her career.)

The numbers speak for themselves. Shippy was a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year and holds close to a dozen school records. She’s one of only five players in Big 12 history to record at least 225 hits, 150 walks, 150 runs scored and 125 RBI over the course of her career.

On the field, my favorite moment came March 26, 2017 against Texas. OSU was looking for its first sweep of Texas in program history, and Shippy came through with a clutch RBI single to end the game in the bottom of the eighth. The feat was even more impressive when you consider the fact that OSU trailed 8-3 entering the seventh inning.

Maddi Holcomb

Holcomb’s senior season was somewhat out of the blue, as she changed her mentality and approach leading into her final year. She was primarily a slap-hitter and bunter throughout her first few seasons in Stillwater, but developed into a threat every time she stepped into the batter’s box during her senior year. She had three extra-base hits during her first three seasons but totaled seven in 2018. She also capped her career with a .371 batting average during her senior season.

Her most memorable moment, in my opinion, was a highlight-reel catch in centerfield against Baylor, which placed her at No. 2 in Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays.

Randee O’Donnell

O’Donnell was a defensive stalwart at shortstop during her time as a starter for the Cowgirls. She was reliable at one of the most difficult positions to play in the sport, and her teammates and Gajewski were never shy about how impactful she was in that aspect.

“Randee especially, she’s a leader on the field, and she’s a leader off the field,” former pitcher Shea Coates said. “It means a lot to have her there behind me.”

Her biggest highlight on the field, however, came at the plate. The Cowgirls scored eight first-inning runs in a game against North Texas last season, and four of those came on O’Donnell’s inside-the-park grand slam, the first in program history.

Jessi Haffner

An everyday starter during her final two seasons at OSU, Haffner was a steady and powerful hitter at first base for the Cowgirls. She hit 13 home runs during her career, but nine of those came during her senior season.

I don’t have a particular favorite moment, other than seeing some of the towering home runs she hit at Cowgirl Stadium. A few of them were threats to hit a parked car, which you’re always secretly rooting for.

Taylor Pence

Pence didn’t play as much as most of the aforementioned Cowgirls, but she was always ready when called upon and was usually one of the speediest players on the team.

Pence put the cherry on top of an 11-run fourth inning against Evansville last year. Her single to left field scored Mackenzie Thomas and contributed to the Cowgirls’ 21-2 victory.

Jamie Lowrie

After playing in 14 games in 2017, Lowrie doubled her appearances with 28 during her senior season. She wasn’t a starter, but like Pence, was a speedster and was prepared when the opportunity presented itself.

One of the most memorable games I covered concluded with PFB intern Jacob Overton proposing to Lowrie after the game. It was awesome. I introduced myself to him that day, but he probably doesn’t remember it because he was about to ask the love of his life to marry him. Now, we’re coworkers. Small world.

Whitney Whitehorn

My favorite thing about Whitney Whitehorn’s career was the fact that she was able to overcome so many injuries and become a key piece of the 2018 squad.

The O’Colly’s Wade Haugen wrote a great story about her history with injuries, but she didn’t let anything derail her final season in orange. She never played more than 30 games leading up to this year, but she finished this season with 60 appearances. Another cool thing: She pitched eight innings across four appearances this season.

Emmie Robertson

We obviously don’t get to look that deeply into what happens behind the scenes, but my favorite part about Robertson’s OSU career was the fact that she assimilated herself into the Cowgirls’ culture in one season, all while proving to herself she could pitch in one of the best conferences in college softball.

She excelled at Pittsburgh State before coming to OSU, but she showed she was more than capable against Big 12 competition. One could argue she was the Cowgirls’ best pitcher this season; she led all pitchers in opponent batting average (.236) and ERA (2.29).

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