The transfer portal has been both a blessing and a curse for the Oklahoma softball team since winning their third straight Women's College World Series championship in June.
That same month, Sooners ace Jordy Bahl announced she was returning to her home state of Nebraska to join the Cornhuskers. The Sooners responded by adding transfer pitchers Paytn Monticelli from Wisconsin and Liberty University hurler Karlie Keeney.
The biggest transfer news for the Sooners may have come Wednesday evening. A source told Extra Inning Softball that Oklahoma State ace Kelly Maxwell will leave the program to join her cross-state rival. Maxwell entered the portal last month, and Sooners Wire immediately speculated that Oklahoma would be one of the many suitors courting her.
"This was not an easy decision but one that I felt was best, for my own personal happiness," Maxwell wrote on Instagram shortly after entering the portal.
Who Is Oklahoma's Newest Pitcher, Kelly Maxwell?
Maxwell, a two-time All-American, will start the 2024 season as a fifth-year senior. This allowed her to enter the transfer portal outside the NCAA's designated window for undergraduate student-athletes.
In 2023, Maxwell earned first-team All-Big 12 and All-Region honors for the third consecutive year, and was named Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Year along with Bahl in 2022.
Last season was a bit of a down year for Maxwell coming off a 21-5 record and 1.21 ERA with 313 strikeouts in 2022. She still finished with a respectable 16-7 mark in 2023 with a 1.91 ERA. During her career in Stillwater, she compiled a 58-20 record and 1.58 ERA with 746 K's and .158 opposing batting average.
While not making direct mention of Maxwell coming to Norman, Sooners head coach Patty Gasso hinted on Twitter that something big was about to happen with the program.
Maxwell will join an OU rotation featuring returning pitchers Nicole May, Kierston Deal and S.J. Geurin, along with newcomers Monticelli and Keeney. After the graduation of Jocelyn Alo following defense of their WCWS title in 2022, many wondered if the Sooners could reload and do it again. They did, riding the arm of Bahl and one of the most feared batting lineups in the nation.
No dynasty lasts forever, and Bahl's shoes will be nearly impossible to fill. But Gasso hasn't spent 29 years at Oklahoma resting on her laurels or failing to adapt to change. The addition of Maxwell is a major coup for the Sooners as they go for a fourth straight national championship.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.