As Dorothy famously said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” For Ohio softball, that phrase rings startlingly true.
Ohio Softball Field has been a staple of consistency for a Bobcat team that has struggled to find any semblance of stability.
Ohio (15-18, 4-5 Mid-American Conference) will put its 7-4 home record on the line today when it hosts Central Michigan in an afternoon doubleheader. The Chippewas are currently sitting in third in the MAC West Division and have won nine of their last 11 as they head into the doubleheader.
The Bobcats have averaged almost five runs a game at the friendly confines this season. On the road and at neutral sites, they are averaging fewer than 2.3 runs a game, and not surprisingly, their 8-14 away record reflects those offensive inadequacies.
Coach Jodi Hermanek said she hopes her team can continue the trend of home field success against one of the top teams in the conference.
“We always like to be the dominating factor in our own place and make people feel uncomfortable when we’re hosting them,” she said. “This is where we’re at, where we go to work every day.”
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they have not been able to work at the softball field as much as they would like during the past few weeks. Their Wednesday doubleheader with Ohio State was canceled because of unplayable field conditions, and rain has cancelled or postponed an additional three games from the home slate.
“That happens in an outdoor sport, but it does hurt when you get 56 and you lose about eight games out of that,” Hermanek said. “Especially now, when this is a time when your starters are really identified and conducive.
“Competitors are expected to compete, like (Wednesday). When we don’t get chances, it’s kind of like a deflating balloon. You just watch it kind of deteriorate in front of you.”
This weekend marks the final homestand of the season for the Bobcats and a chance to separate themselves in a wide open MAC East Division. Ohio also will face Eastern Michigan tomorrow and Sunday.
“We have a tough weekend ahead of us with both teams,” Hermanek said. “We just want to get out here and enjoy our environment, enjoy playing together and enjoy the fact that we don’t have to be on a bus.”