STILLWATER — Kenny Gajewski believes he could have made a move to keep star pitcher Kelly Maxwell from leaving Oklahoma State, and that he won’t forget the schools who tried to scoop her up. Maxwell, who led OSU’s softball team to three Women’s College World Series appearances, has transferred to Oklahoma. “I knew that people, [...]
STILLWATER — Kenny Gajewski believes he could have made a move to keep star pitcher Kelly Maxwell from leaving Oklahoma State, and that he won’t forget the schools who tried to scoop her up.
Maxwell, who led OSU’s softball team to three Women’s College World Series appearances, has transferred to Oklahoma.
“I knew that people, as soon as (OSU pitching coach) John (Bargfeldt) was out, I knew that people tried to poach,” Gajewski said. “I’m very aware of who those people are. Kelly was very honest and upfront because, at that time, I don’t think she was sure that she wanted to leave. What comes around will go around.”
After Bargfeldt, who had a close relationship with Maxwell, retired the day after the Cowgirls were eliminated from the Women’s College World Series, Gajewski decided to hire Carrie Eberle, who pitched at OSU from 2020-21. Eberle was hired in late July.
Maxwell announced she was transferring to Oklahoma in early August.
“I knew (Maxwell transferring) could happen,” Gajewski said during a pre-fall-season press conference Wednesday. “I could’ve probably asked her, ‘Hey, who do you want me to hire (as pitching coach)?’ And if I would’ve hired him, she would have stayed. But I don’t know if she’s in a position to tell me that. She’s still a young kid. So I’m going to do what I think is best, even if it meant her deciding to leave.”
Maxwell had a career 1.58 ERA and was 58-20 as a Cowgirl. She helped propel OSU to three WCWS appearances. Gajewski said he didn’t want to lose Maxwell but decided to make the move with a focus on the future.
“(Hiring Eberle) was worth taking that risk,” Gajewski said. “Somebody said to me, ‘You need to think about being long-term greedy,’ and that’s what I felt like was, Carrie is here for the long term.”
Eberle was a graduate assistant at OSU in 2022, and before her career as a Cowgirl, she was the 2019 ACC Pitcher of the Year at Virginia Tech. Most recently, she was an assistant coach at Lipscomb. Gajewski said Eberle has a good demeanor, and he wanted to hire a young coach.
Gajewski said he’s not rooting against Maxwell but said it would be a weird feeling to have her around the program. He said he felt the only place Maxwell could transfer and lose her legacy as a Cowgirl would be Oklahoma.
“I wish she would have gone somewhere else,” Gajewski said. “We’re trying to beat those guys, and now we have to face her. That sucks. But I’m not cheering against her. I don’t wish her one ounce of harm. I don’t wish any of that.”