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OSU softball: Cowgirls ‘really took off’ after embracing transfer Samantha Show

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Samantha Show leads the OSU pitching staff with a 21-8 record, a 2.37 ERA and 111 strikeouts. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Samantha Show leads the OSU pitching staff with a 21-8 record, a 2.37 ERA and 111 strikeouts. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When Samantha Show first arrived in Stillwater, her new Oklahoma State teammates didn’t quite know what to think of her.

The Texas A&M transfer is loud and outspoken. Sometimes her words aren’t delivered with the appropriate tone. Oklahoma State softball coach Kenny Gajewski has even described Show as “polarizing.”

“She walks to her own tune. Kind of does her own deal,” Gajewski said before adding that she took some of the OSU players out of their comfort zones. “They’d look at her and were like, ‘Whoa. She’s got a lot to say.'”

Show had a lot to give, too. A top-notch pitcher and a big-time hitter, she's become the Cowgirls' biggest contributor this season. And though you might never guess it now — every Cowgirl was hugging and high-fiving after their NCAA Super Regional upset of Florida State on Saturday — integrating Show into an already-talented roster was not necessarily easy.

At one point, a players-only meeting was called by seniors Madi Sue Montgomery and Taylor Lynch, but the gathering did not include Show. She was the reason for the meeting, which Gajewski gave his blessing.

“We just let each other know that if we took what she was saying and not necessarily how she said it, and understood it was for the best of the team and that she wants to win for us, that we would go a long way,” Montgomery said. “After that, we realized people were trying to understand who Sam was and how why she was saying what she was saying and how it can help them. That’s when our team started going on a rise.

“What she was saying was good, and we needed that.”

Show admitted her “tone was bad” and is grateful to have found a second family in Stillwater.

“It’s not really about softball,” Show said. “It’s about the relationships I’ve made and how I’ve grown as an individual. I’ve never been someone to make friends easy and I can say every person on this team, I am very good friends with and trust them with my life.”

Assistant coach Jeff Cottrill told Show last fall he wanted her to make lifelong friends who would someday be bridesmaids at her wedding.

“We’ve reached that goal,” Show said. “The softball’s gonna happen. I’m going to do whatever. It’s the relationships and the bonds I’ve made with the people around me, and being able to take what I’ve learned here with building relationships into my future.”

Gajewski said when the Cowgirls truly welcomed Show, they “really took off and fell in love with each other.”

Gajewski credited Montgomery, a senior who has started every game of her OSU career, for providing the leadership that bridged the gap between the returning players and Show. It was what the team needed to return to OKC.

“She got this proud tradition back — dusted this stuff off, cleaned it off, worked her tail off,” Gajewski said of Montgomery. “She’s done it all.”

The same could be said of Show.

She was one of only four unanimous selections to the All-Big 12 first team. She leads the Cowgirls in home runs (18) and RBI (54) and has a slugging percentage that looks like a misprint but isn't at .706. Show also leads the OSU pitching staff with a 21-8 record, a 2.37 ERA and 111 strikeouts.

In the Cowgirls' two super regional wins, Show threw 13 1/3 innings, giving up only two earned runs, scattering nine hits and striking out nine.

Her pitching prowess was huge — Florida State averaged 6.98 runs a game this season.

Gajewski knows it was a risk bringing Show to Stillwater, but he gives credit to all the players. The returners had to give Show a chance, and Show had to prove to them she could be a good teammate.

That doesn't mean, however, Show doesn't still say things from time to time that cut to the quick.

“Sometimes it’s not always what I want to hear,” Gajewski said. “But I love it because she’s coachable and it comes from a place of, ‘All I want to do is win and I want to win for you.’

“It’s her competitiveness and how she goes about it, she wears it (on her sleeve). Her impact is going to be felt for a long time — like Sue and Lynch and the kids who have been here a long time.”

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WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

Oklahoma State vs. Florida

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: USA Hall of Fame Stadium.

TV: ESPN2 (Cox 28)

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