For the best experianceDownload the Mobile App
App Store Play Store
Oregon softball’s Melyssa Lombardi looking for 1st wins over longtime friend Kenny Gajewski, Oklahoma State in super regional
Oregon softball’s Melyssa Lombardi looking for 1st wins over longtime friend Kenny Gajewski, Oklahoma State in super regional
Oregon softball’s Melyssa Lombardi looking for 1st wins over longtime friend Kenny Gajewski, Oklahoma State in super regional

Published on: 05/25/2023

This news was posted by Oregon Today News

Go To Business Place


Oregon advancing to its first super regional since 2018 also brings coach Melyssa Lombardi back to Oklahoma to take on a longtime friend in Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski.

Both Oklahoma alums who later coached at their alma mater, Lombardi and Gajewski first met in college when she played softball and he played baseball. They later played regularly in the Bedlam series from 2016-18, when she was at assistant at OU and his head coaching tenure began in Stillwater.

They’ve met five times since Lombardi arrived at UO, with the Cowgirls beating the Ducks in each, including earlier this season. Now they will face off again with a trip to the Women’s College World Series at stake when Oregon takes on No. 6 seed Oklahoma State in a best-of-three series starting Thursday night (6 p.m., ESPN2).

“It means a lot to me,” Gajewski said. “I don’t enjoy coaching against friends because one of us is going to lose; I hate that part of it, but I enjoy competing against people who do it the right way. I felt that way when she was in Norman, I feel the same way at Oregon. I knew she would get it turned around there after a rough first year when so much change happened — pretty unfair to her — but I never heard her complain.”

Lombardi and Gajewski keep in touch and each use performance coach Brett Ledbetter with their respective teams.

Even with all that’s at stake this weekend, Gajewski invited Lombardi and her husband, John, over to his family’s home before the Ducks (38-15) and Cowgirls (44-14) begin play.

“We’ve all grown up together in college and have followed each other,” Lombardi said. “Our families all know each other. I think Kenny is excellent at what he does on and off. I think he’s a great person. To me, it’s about, you go on the field and you put it all out there and then you walk off. The relationships that you have off the field stay the same. It’s about going and competing on the field against a faceless opponent. I think of Kenny and what he’s done with this program and all the success he has, I’m very impressed with him and everything that he’s done.”

There is mutual respect and admiration, even as Gajewski’s OSU squads have handed Lombardi five of her 83 losses at UO, including just 30 in nonconference games.

“Missy is a worker, she always has been,” Gajewski said. “She was like that when she played. She’s been around amazing coaches. She’s taken what she loves out of all of that and has implemented that into Oregon softball. I think she’ll be a force in the Pac(-12) for a lot of years.

“I’m glad she’s in the Pac; I’m glad I don’t have to face her a lot because I know every time we face her we’re going to be going up against a great challenge and great coaching. I’m proud of her. I think she’s proud of us. It will definitely be a fun experience. I just hate that one of us is going to be done when this weekend is over with.”

Author : 

Source Url :

Other Related News

Three friends adopted a child together; now their family is growing again


A year ago, The Oregonian/OregonLive shared the story of three friends who had adopte...

What time, TV channel is Scripps Spelling Bee 2023 finals on? Free live stream, how to watch online (6/1/2023)


The 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee wraps up tonight with just a handful of s...

Prep for summer with workshops and home and garden tours


Events are free unless noted. Please email calendar submissions at least two weeks in adva...

After a year in Arizona, Roosevelt basketball standout Terrence Hill announces return to Oregon


After spending the 2022-23 school year in Arizona, Terrence Hill announced on We...

Former Oregon Duck Payton Pritchard ‘has made it clear’ he wants a trade from the Boston Celtics: Report


Payton Pritchard saw his playing time with the Boston Celtics reduced dramatically during ...

ShoutoutGive Shoutout