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Softball: Tourney meeting is next chapter for MAC rivalry

On the tail of a winning weekend against Toledo and Bowling Green, the Ohio softball team is headed into the Mid-American Conference Tournament as the top team in the East Division.

Ohio (23-21, 12-8 MAC), the No. 2 seed in the tournament, plays against seventh-seeded Miami (30-20, 13-9 MAC), a team with which the Bobcats split two regular-season meetings, today in the first round at Firestone Stadium in Akron.

“I know that we could have swept them,” catcher Alex Basquez said. “We can beat anybody when we step on the field. … If we just relax and play how we know to, it doesn’t matter who is in the other dugout.”

Coach Jodi Hermanek stressed the importance of focusing on only the game the Bobcats are playing and not getting too far ahead of themselves.

“The game doesn’t know that it is conference tournament; the game doesn’t know that it is the end of conference season or the beginning or regular season,” Hermanek said. “So we just need to come out and play the game like we have been playing it any other day.”

Miami most recently split a doubleheader against Western Michigan, losing the first game 5-2 and winning the second game 2-1. Hermanek said playing errorless ball against the RedHawks and communicating in the field will get the Bobcats the win.

“They have really strong pitching, and we have really strong pitching,” Hermanek said. “They have offense that manufactures, and we have offense that manufactures.”

The tournament will be double elimination, and if the Bobcats stay in the winning bracket, they will only have to play four games. Hermanek said it is important to win early to make the team’s job easier.

“If we can take the emotions and the adrenaline and the expectations as far as it being championship play … and compartmentalize it, then I think that it is going to be really positive ... so we know what to expect out of Miami,” she said.

The goal is to get a ring, Hermanek said, and to bring a championship to the softball team.

“Everybody is game at the tournament,” she said. “(But) if we stick to the game plan and treat it like any other game of the past, then we are really going to be able to compartmentalize the factors that are uncontrollable and go up against Miami.”



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