All a sports team can ask for is the right to control its own destiny. Oklahoma State softball may not get that chance.
In early April the NCAA announced the regional host sites for the softball championships would be predetermined.
In a normal year, teams with the best record get to host a regional at their home stadium. Past precedent indicates the 32-5 Cowgirls would have a strong enough resume to be one of 16 hosts.
“The seeds are usually done by RPI,” coach Kenny Gajewski said. “The rankings really have no play in this. And it’s probably a good thing. The rankings are just an opinion of somebody, where the RPI has a little more substance to it and factors in so many things.”
This year, due to COVID-19 precautions, hosting will be determined by the NCAA — an announcement that came as a disappointment to members of the No. 11 OSU team.
“I know everyone on our team was extremely disappointed to hear that’s the approach they were going with,” pitcher Carrie Eberle said. “I know they have to follow the protocols and everything but a regional is only four teams and we’ve had tournaments this season with four teams.”
Eberle’s point should provide a glimmer of hope for fans hoping to see some postseason softball in Cowgirl Stadium. Although the OSU facilities are not up to par with elite stadiums, there have been successful tournaments hosted in Stillwater before.
“We’re capable of doing that. I don’t know what their stipulations or protocols are, but we can host,” Chyenne Factor said.
The Cowgirls played five games in Stillwater as part of the OSU/Tulsa Invitational in early March. It went off without a hitch. With that hosting success and an impressive team as positives, OSU has things working in its favor.
“It can be done,” Eberle said. “It’s just a matter of what stipulations the NCAA decides to use and hopefully they decide to give the best shot to people that were going to host anyways.”
The host sites will be announced on April 26. Gajewski feels confident his team’s bid could be rewarded.
“I feel good about our chances,” Gajewski said. “We’ll see how that goes. Nothing at this point surprises me. You just have to take it in stride and go day-by-day.”