Sydney Springfield has done the most with her limited opportunities all season.
Springfield, a junior on the Oklahoma State softball team, transferred from LSU. This season, she has battled for every opportunity she can get.
On Saturday, she capitalized on her biggest opportunity to lead OSU to a 2-1 victory against Tulsa and a berth in the Super Regionals.
Springfield unfortunately plays first base, the Cowgirls' (42-14) deepest position on the diamond.
Senior pitcher and first baseman Samantha Show and sophomore first baseman Michaela Richbourg have started all but one game at first.
Along with being the two main first baseman, Show and Richbourg are first and second on the team in home runs at 18 and 13 respectively.
With both players being nearly irremovable from the lineup and senior Taylor Lynch taking the designated player position most games, Springfield has been limited in her at-bats.
In the last month, Springfield has flourished as a crunch-time pinch-hitter position for coach Kenny Gajewski.
With Lynch playing the season with a torn ACL and having four hits in her last 32 at-bats, Gajewski called upon Springfield to start at the DP spot for Saturday's championship game against Tulsa (37-20).
It was Springfield’s 14th start and her second since April 1.
Her play fulfilled all of Gajewski’s hopes.
In the fourth inning with two outs, Kiley Naomi was at second and the game tied at one. Springfield came up with what turned out to be the biggest hit of her short career as a Cowgirl.
She hammered a ball that split the second baseman and shortstop to bring Naomi home and give her team the lead.
“I’m proud of Sydney (Springfield) the ways she’s handled this,” Gajewski said. “The has she has good at-bats, and came through. She’s been in this moment. It’s not her first show. This is why she came here.”
Her hit ended up being the difference as Show finished off her complete game with the one run to send OSU to it’s first super regional since 2011.
What ensued after was nothing short of ecstasy on the part of the OSU players, coaches and a few fans that had made their way onto the field as they all celebrated their biggest win of the season.
Among the swarm of people celebrating the win were multiple former players. Some who had played under Gajewski during his tenure in Stillwater and some who were alumni happy to be back in Stillwater.
“To have those people back here, to have them cheering us on, the messages they continue to send us, I’m just happy that they get to share this,” Gajewski said. “This is what makes OSU great. This is a different atmosphere, a different mentality here at OSU. We’re blue-collar, we’re hard working people. I’m just happy that we could play well in front of them. It’s cool to go along (the left field fence) to shake hands and to see faces and tears.”