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Orange sharpies: OSU's newfound offensive success

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O'C Cowgirl Softball v. Iowa State-18.jpg

OSU softball coach Kenny Gajewski applauds his team during Saturday's game of the Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State softball series on April 3, 2021 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

Cowgirl coach Kenny Gajewski and catcher Reagan Wright speak to the media ahead of OSU's game against UT-Arlington.

Coach Kenny Gajewski pulled out an orange sharpie.

He drew a star next to designated player Hayley Busby’s name on the lineup card after she hit a two-run home run in Oklahoma State’s 11-3 win against Baylor Sunday.

If an orange star is drawn by a player’s name, it represents a quality at-bat. Gajewski’s system has the Cowgirls averaging six runs a game in Big 12 play.

Gajewski said he kept track of quality at-bats on his lineup sheet. Assistant coach John Bargfeldt recommended writing it on the lineup card in the dugout for players to see. Gajewski said he does this every game.

What is a Gajewski quality at-bat?

“There’s multiple things,” Gajewski said. “The most obvious one is getting a hit or getting a walk. There is getting hit by a pitch or having what we can an important play.”

Gajewski said an example of an important play is when a runner is on second base with no outs, and the batter advances the runner to third base or farther.

He said it could be a bunt, hit or sacrifice fly.

Gajewski said at-bats longer than seven pitches are quality.

“Alysen (Febrey) had a 10 pitch at-bat (against Texas Tech),” Gajewski said. “She struck out and I gave her one. 10 pitches, that’s a great at-bat, fouling them off, making a pitcher work.”

Gajewski said long at-bats give the dugout and batter on-deck multiple opportunities to observe the pitcher.

Catcher Reagan Wright agreed. She said quality at-bats aren’t only about base hits and RBIs.

“I think that just going up there and seeing a lot of pitches and making the other team throw a lot of pitches, I think is a lot of people’s books is a quality at-bat,” Wright said. “If you’re getting a lot of pitches and allowing your teammates to see a lot of what (the pitcher) has, I think that’s a pretty quality at-bat.”

Gajewski said the team simplified its approach to batting, leading to quality at-bats. The emphasis on quality at-bats has shown in recent Big 12 play.

OSU had 41 combined hits the first two series against Kansas and Iowa State. In series against Texas Tech and Baylor, the Cowgirls had 56.

It is not a matter of poor pitching. Gajewski said Baylor and Texas Tech each have great pitching staffs.

“We just started talking to them about quit trying to chase pitches,” Gajewski said. “Quit trying to hit balls into the orbit. Just have a quality at-bat and everything will kind of really go.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com