The Bobcats will be working to rebuild during the offseason after losing their five senior starters.
Ohio will be looking to restack following the exit of pitchers Emily Wethington and Melissa Bonner, third baseman Sara Clark, outfielder Paige Kemezis and catcher Jordan Paden.
“Recruiting here to Ohio is — I wouldn’t say it’s easy, because recruiting isn’t easy by any means, but it hasn’t been a daunting task,” coach Jodi Hermanek said. “It is a great community and a campus community to recruit to.”
Hermanek said her recruiting tactics have changed as she enters her fourth season as head coach, but she added that some things with recruiting never change.
“Just like a good educator, you have to work within the times in how people are wanting to be recruited and things that you are up against,” she said. “One of the things that you have to do now is you have to establish a sense of loyalty to a kid.”
Hermanek said she likes to get to know the players early in their careers and watch to see how their talents develop through time. Equally important for her is getting to know the players and their families before she officially recruits them.
“Your quality of character has to be just as amazing as your quality of talent. That’s why we are as a team close and remain close,” she said. “At the same time, they are great student-athletes, and they are great athletically.”
With the loss of five players, Hermanek has already recruited seven others to replace the outgoing seniors.
Last fall, five prospects committed to OU. The class includes catcher Adrienne Gebele, pitcher Kaylin Clark, utility player and pitcher Taylor Henson, third baseman and pitcher Lauren McClary and outfielder Timmie Rappe.
“We have two high-quality pitchers coming in,” Hermanek said. “Kaylin Clarke has a great at-bat. Lauren McClary is an awesome pitcher, so I think that they are going to compliment and help take over the reins of pitching.”
In addition to the initial five, two more players signed with OU last month.
Galloway, Ohio, native Kaylin “Dakota” Pyles and Boones Mill, Va., product Sadie Wallace will be joining the Bobcats in the fall. Pyles is an outfielder, and Wallace is a catcher and infielder.
“We have a really awesome character … that a lot of people really compliment,” Hermanek said.