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‘I Want to Play’: Kenny Gajewski Talks the Future of Bedlam Softball after Sooners Leave for SEC

‘I’ve tried to tell them that we want to play, but I don’t have very good luck getting responses.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have played softball 70 times in Stillwater since 1978, but there are only three games scheduled between the teams in Cowgirl Stadium moving forward.

Those three games come this weekend as the Cowgirls host the Sooners in a three-game series that starts at 6 p.m. Friday. But with OU moving to the SEC after next school year (a year where the series would be played in Norman), there are no guarantees the Sooners will come back to Cowgirl Stadium or that the series will continue at all, something OSU coach Kenny Gajewski is against.

“I’ve tried to tell them that we want to play, but I don’t have very good luck getting responses,” Gajewski said Tuesday. “I’m pretty open that we want to play. I don’t know how that looks. I don’t know if we could play three games and it’s one [in Stillwater], one [in Norman] and one [in Oklahoma City], or if it’s a weekend. I think it would be good for both teams. I know that they’re going into the No. 1 conference. But it would shock me if they didn’t want to play, to be honest.

“… I ought to think that we’ll play, but I don’t have any kind of clarification. I don’t have any communication.”

When the SEC gets Oklahoma and Texas, the conference will undoubtedly be considered the best in college softball. Right now the Big 12 has three teams in the top 20 of the RPI — Oklahoma (1), Oklahoma State (4) and Texas (7). The SEC has six — LSU (8), Tennessee (11), Alabama (12), Arkansas (13), Georgia (15) and Auburn (20). So, now take away OU and Texas from the Big 12 and add them to the SEC.

So, there is a thought that could lead OU to not needing another tough opponent on its schedule. Gajewski pointed to Arkansas, a school just three-hour drive from OSU. The Cowgirls and Razorbacks played in a nonconference event to start the 2021 season. Before that, the teams hadn’t met since a midweek game in 2017. Since 2010, the schools have played just five times.

“It’s kind of upsetting that we don’t play Arkansas,” Gajewski said. “Maybe OU is gonna take that same approach. Like, ‘Why do we need to play these other tough games if we’re in this conference?’ I don’t know.”

Gajewski said when he took over in Stillwater, OU coach Patty Gasso stressed to him the importance of playing tough competition. It helps teams get better, but it also helps teams’ RPI.

If it wasn’t already before, Oklahoma has become a softball state in recent years with OU regularly winning national titles and OSU regularly making it to the Women’s College World Series. Bedlam’s continuation is a complex issue in a lot of sports, but if it were to die out in softball, it’d feel like a shame that two great teams in this softball mecca couldn’t figure it out.

“If you want to play, then you wanna play,” Gajewski said. “You’ll make it work. We’re in control of our schedules except for the conference weekends, so there’s plenty of opportunity. We both have a hard time finding midweek games, a lot of them. So, like, there’s that opportunity. And if that’s all it is, then great.

“… Hopefully we’ll play. I want to play.”

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