Ohio has been on a bit of a hot streak: The Bobcats are winners of seven in a row and 16 of their last 17.
The team has had a power surge, hitting home runs in each of its last six games, including a six-homer game against Kent State on Wednesday. Ohio also hit three in its 12-0 run-rule win Saturday against Akron.
Ask any Ohio player about some kind of recent success and what has gotten them there, and a lot of the answers will be similar.
Credit is given to assistant coach Jeremy Manley.
One of those to give credit to Manley is junior infielder Alex Day, who between Wednesday and Friday’s four games — all wins for Ohio — had 10 hits, with three of those being home runs.
“Working with Manley a little extra,” Day said about a possible reason for her recent hot streak.
Manley doesn’t want to take the credit. He knows he’s working with a talented team — a team with only one conference loss. He’s just trying to guide them along.
“I just plant ideas for these kids on the ins and outs of what they might get at the plate,” Manley said. “They take it and run with it. It seems to be doing all right, right now.”
Manley, now in his second season at Ohio, is a softball lifer. He played for 20 seasons, both in his native New Zealand and in the U.S. He played with, and saw, some of the best players.
His experiences have added a lot to the Ohio coaching staff. As a former pitcher, he is able to throw batting practice. Working with both the pitchers and hitters have propelled Ohio to a team ERA of 3.38 and slugging percentage of .471. The Bobcats slugged at a .339 percentage last season.
He is another voice in the dugout, one with experience. Senior pitcher Danielle Stiene threw complete game shutouts on both Friday and Saturday. Stiene, however, said she didn’t have her best stuff.
Stiene seemed to be working with runners on base in almost every inning. In between innings, Stiene looked for guidance in the dugout.
“I’ll talk to (coach Jodi Hermanek); I’ll talk to Manley,” Stiene said.
Ohio has been dominating as of late, especially after this weekend's sweep. The Bobcats had two run-rule wins. In the other game, however, the Bobcats trailed.
Manley knew that even with a 2-0 deficit, the Bobcats were nowhere near down. He knew they could trust the work they had put in and battle back.
“We don’t panic, first off,” Manley said. “If we get down, we’re in control.”