OSU softball: Samantha Show's bat makes people flip, but her arm is huge, too
Samantha Show was in trouble.
Everyone in Cowgirl orange was.
Leading by a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Oklahoma State had allowed back-to-back singles that almost weren’t. Just another couple inches, and left fielder Chelsea Alexander might’ve had the first ball. Same for shortstop Kiley Naomi on the second one.
Instead, Florida had runners on first and second, no outs.
But Show didn’t cave — and neither did the Cowgirls.
OSU 2, Florida 1.
On a night Show ignited the Women’s College World Series with a pair of homers, the college softball world was buzzing about her bat. Her bat flip, too. Was it a hammer throw or more of an ax toss? But as big as her bat was against the Gators, her arm was every bit as strong.
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“Having a coaching staff that really believes in me and the pitches that I’m throwing,” Show said, “it helps me go out there and be as confident as I can be.”
Look at the big picture, and you see the evidence of that. Show threw a complete game against the Gators, surrendering only one earned run on six hits. She struck out two and walked none.
But you can look at a smaller sample size and see her confidence at work, too. That seventh inning was a microcosm of how Show has evolved this season.
Despite facing the toughest circumstances on the biggest stage of her career, Show got first pitch strikes on each of the next three batters. That allowed her to work from a position of power — and it paid off.
Three ground balls.
Cowgirl coach Kenny Gajewski gave credit to Show, who he said has allowed herself to be coached in myriad ways throughout her lone year in Stillwater. But he also pointed to pitching coach Jeff Cottrill.
“He’s got her to buy in,” Gajewski said. “He’s got her (convinced) that she doesn’t have to strike every hitter out. We are a team that tries to pitch to contact. We try to keep the pitch count down.
“She didn’t like that at first when she got here.”
The results have convinced her, and now, it’s almost impossible to understate how much better she’s gotten this season.
Last season, when Show was at Texas A&M, she started a regular-season game against Florida. She didn’t even get to the end of the first inning before being pulled. She surrendered more runs (four) than she recorded outs (one).
Later in the season, Texas A&M ended up facing Florida in super regionals. The Aggies lost to the Gators. The series went the distance, three games, but Show didn’t throw a single pitch.
My, how things have changed.
“I don’t think she’s a different pitcher,” Florida coach Tim Walton said. “I think she’s a whole entirely different person. You look at everything about her, it’s different. Better in every sense of the word.
“She’s completely comfortable in who she is right now competing both offensively and defensively.”
Even when the situation is dire, she remains calm. She bears down. She clutches up. Doesn’t matter if she has a bat in her hands or a ball in her glove — she does what has to be done.
“She’s a finisher here,” Gajewski said. “Here, she’s a horse.”
A show horse, of course.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or email@example.com. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK or follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok.