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Taylor Saxton runs toward first base during Ohio University’s game against the University of Kentucky.

Softball Sidebar: Deanna Cole becomes Ohio hero in a matter of days

Deanna Cole becomes Ohio hero late Tuesday to help Ohio best No. 12 Kentucky. 

Deanna Cole was 1-for-9 in her last nine at-bats before she went up to the plate on Tuesday against Kentucky and forced an error, giving Ohio the winning run in the eighth inning.

Cole's poor batting average heading up to the plate didn't seem to matter as her ground ball back to the circle hopped over Kentucky pitcher Meagan Prince's glove to give Cole an RBI and Ohio a 1-0 upset victory over No. 12 ranked Kentucky.

"I looked over at my team and I could just see all the excitement on their faces," Cole said. "I was more happy about them being happy than anything." 

After the second game against Western Michigan this past weekend, Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek felt she needed to switch things up at the top of her lineup. 

She decided to move shortstop Amanda Dalton up from the ninth batter spot to first, which dropped second baseman Taylor Saxton to second and displaced Cole all the way from second to ninth. 

"She hasn't been getting her bunts down to move runners over," Hermanek said at the time. 

When asked about how the demotion in the lineup might affect the freshman's confidence, Hermanek said, "Would you believe me if I said nothing?"

Hermanek was confident Cole would understand the decision was in the Bobcats' best interest, and she would be able to rebound.

Cole's heroics Tuesday and comments she made postgame proved Hermanek right. 

"It's a game of failure," Cole said. "Being dropped down in the batting order really puts some perspective in mind. There's some great girls on this team. We're good one through 18. If I want (my) spot, I'm going to have to maintain it and step up and not be so satisfied with myself." 

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Cole, a freshman from Akron, showed maturity beyond her years with her late game heroics. 

"It was great experience for her to keep the game simple," Hermanek said. "It's not a matter of how bad she wants it, it's a matter of how well she can stay composed. When she stayed composed in that last at bat, she found a lot of success. I was just extremely proud of her for reigning that all in."

Even after beating the No. 12 ranked team in the nation with a walk-off RBI, Cole found some humility.  

"Anyone on our team could have done that same exact thing, I just happened to be the girl that was up that time," Cole said. 

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jw331813@ohio.edu

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