Oklahoma City - As the sound of her bat brought the crowd to its feet, the hopes and dreams of “The Girls” rested in one single illuminous softball.
The Oklahoma State softball team defeated Florida 2-1 on Thursday night at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. OSU did so with two hits and three total baserunners. Both of their hits, as well as the complete game in the circle came at the hands of senior Samantha Show, OSU’s single-season home run record holder.
Show has been the heart and soul of this Cowgirl team since she stepped foot in Stillwater following her transfer from Texas A&M. She has also been a part of the team’s moniker “For the girls” that has united the Cowgirls to the point of the entire team getting tattoos to embody their family-like clubhouse atmosphere. Her impact has been well received within the OSU community and beyond.
Show, however, has had some detractors due to her on-field displays of emotion. Those displays were front and center Thursday as she led OSU to it’s first WCWS victory in 21 years.
OSU’s coach Kenny Gajewski has been at the front line in her defense and saw her persevere through it to reach the WCWS.
“I’m just proud of the way she's handled that,” Gajewski said. “There’s been some people that have been very critical of her, some people that she’s looked up to for a long time. They’ve been very critical on social media. When you bat-flip and you pump your fist it’s gonna happen.”
Show said that her displays come from a simple place.
“Anything that happens after a home run of mine I don’t plan out, it’s just whatever emotion I have inside of me” Show said. “Normally I have so much that that’s why dramatic bat flips happen because i’m very emotional. It just needs to come out.”
Although her performance at the plate has gotten the majority of the attention throughout the season, it was her pitching that kept the game within reach.
Show pitched all seven innings, giving up one run and six hits. She stuck to the game plan that has led her team throughout the postseason, relying on the defense behind her.
Gajewski said that there is one specific person that is responsible for not only the game plan, but Shows' evolution in the circle.
“Jeff (Cottrill)’s done a heck of a job,” Gajewski said. “He’s gotten her to buy in. He’s got her to figure out that she doesn’t have to strike every hitter out. That’s really not who we are. We are a team that tries to pitch to contact and tries to keep the pitch counts down and she didn’t like that at first. She’s bought in and that’s why she able to finish games here.”
Show said that it was her plan and her defense that continued to give her confidence throughout the game.
The Cowgirls will face the winner of Alabama vs. Oklahoma on Friday at 8:30 p.m.
“I knew that if I worked ahead and threw some quality pitches that my defense would make some plays for me,” Show said. “That's exactly what they did. Never in my mind did I think we were out of it.”