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OSU softball: Cowgirls have needed guidance of captains as they enter postseason

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Oklahoma State pitcher Samantha Show is one of three Cowgirl captains. [AP PHOTO]
Oklahoma State pitcher Samantha Show is one of three Cowgirl captains. [AP PHOTO]

Oklahoma State senior Samantha Show knows she has a vitally important role this weekend at the Big 12 softball tournament.

It’s not what she does with her bat or her right arm, though both will play a key role in OSU’s performance at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.

But more imperative is the “C” on Show’s jersey. The one that represents her status as a team captain, along with senior Elise LeBeouf and sophomore Sydney Pennington.

No. 14 Oklahoma State’s season is nearing the brink. A good weekend could cement the Cowgirls’ status as a host of an NCAA regional next week. A bad showing at the Big 12 Tournament could send them on the road to start the NCAA Tournament, and make the road back to OKC that much more difficult.

OSU coach Kenny Gajewski had never named captains before. Never had that “C” stitched onto their jerseys.

But now, he needs his leaders — captains, seniors, anyone compelled to pull the team in the right direction — perhaps more than he ever has in his four seasons.

OSU is just days removed from getting swept by No. 1 Oklahoma for the eighth straight season, and where the second-seeded Cowgirls go from here could be heavily dictated by the job the players have done in moving past the Bedlam losses. It begins at 11 a.m. Friday against third-seeded Texas to start pool play at the Big 12 tournament.

“We need to see the positives in that series,” Show said of Bedlam. “We have to get past the negatives, look at what we did really well, and use that to build off of.”

This is one of the reasons Gajewski named captains, even though he encourages all of his players to have a voice. He began the season with two, Pennington and LeBeouf, a reserve who Gajewski calls "everybody's captain." As the season progressed, Show earned captain status.

After the final Bedlam game, Gajewski spoke with all his seniors.

“I need you guys to regroup, get together, make sure that you guys are right, and then I need you to pick the young kids up,” the coach told them.

By naming captains, or by gathering his seniors together, Gajewski is empowering his players to accept their leadership responsibility. Captaincy, especially, has been beneficial to the team’s communication, whether from coach to player or teammate to teammate.

“We’ve got some kids who we feel like we can go to,” he said. “That ‘C’ can go away. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege, and it’s always earned.

“I like it. I think we’ll continue it, but kids have to earn it each year. I think it’s starting something new here. I like what it’s done, and what it’s meant to this group.”

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Big 12 softball tournament

Friday's pool play at USA Hall of Fame Stadium

Game 1: No. 2 OSU vs. No. 3 Texas, 11 a.m. (Fox Sports Oklahoma)

Game 2: OSU vs. Iowa State, 5 p.m. (Fox College Sports)

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

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