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Members of the Ohio University softball team cheer on a teammate during two of a doubleheader against Central Michigan University at the Ohio University Women's Softball Complex, in Athens, Ohio, on Friday, April 3, 2015. The Ohio softball team lost to CMU 14-3. 

Softball exits MAC Tournament early

Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek and the Bobcats’ season ended early after two first-round losses to Kent State and Western Michigan.

 

With an early elimination from the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Thursday, this is not how Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek envisioned her team finishing its season.

Dubbed “The Year of the Champion” after the Bobcats won their first Mid-American Conference Title last spring, Ohio was bounced early from the MAC Tournament in a 10-2 loss to Western Michigan (20-13, 10-8 MAC). The bout only reached five innings of play.

After Western Michigan’s Marlee Wilson hit a grand slam at the bottom of the 5th inning Ohio’s chances of repeating as MAC Champions evaporated, as the Bobcats (15-32, 7-11 MAC) lost their last seven games of the season and 10 of the final 12.

On paper, it was not Ohio’s best day against the Broncos.

The Bobcats’ offense only earned three hits and two RBIs on 19 at-bats, and Ohio’s pitching rotation sacrificed nine earned runs on 24 at-bats.

Senior Lauren McClary, who was Ohio’s ace pitcher inside the circle for most of the season, finished her season 3-17 and only pitched 2/3 of an inning in Thursday’s loss.

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The day before, Ohio fell to Kent State 3-1 in its opening MAC Tournament game. The Bobcats entered the tournament as an eight seed and had to play first-seeded Kent State (40-12, 17-4 MAC) on Wednesday. The Flashes swept the Bobcats during the regular season.

The two losses signal the end of a disappointing campaign for the Bobcats and the end of seniors Raven King, Kaylin Clarke, Timmie Rappe, Dakota Pyles, Adrienne Geble and McClary.

After being picked to finish first in the MAC East in preseason polls, injuries hindered Ohio’s chances.

The most obvious being junior Savannah Jo Dorsey, who was the Bobcats’ ace pitcher last season, but also sophomore Taylor Saxton sat out most of the season.

Saxton helped the Bobcats’ offense in their 4-0 win over Buffalo in the MAC Championship last year, recording two hits on four at-bats.

Despite losing valuable offensive pieces like King, who is second all-time in program history for homeruns, to graduation, the Bobcats will have lead-off hitter Sloan Walker return along with Jo Dorsey and Saxton set to come back next season.

@Lukeoroark

Lr514812@ohio.edu

 

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