Ohio softball has had a much better year than last, so let's rate how strong the offense, pitching and defense is.
This has been a turnaround year for Ohio softball. Last year without its ace, Savannah Jo Dorsey, the team struggled to keep teams off the scoreboard. 2016 has been a little different for the Bobcats.
Let’s rate the pitching staff, offense and defense.
Pitching Staff (B)
Savannah Jo Dorsey (A)
Without a doubt, Dorsey is Ohio's strongest pitcher. She leads the nation in strikeouts with 251, and ranks eighth in strikeouts per seven innings with 10.1. So yeah, Dorsey is a solid starting pitcher for the Bobcats.
In the doubleheader against Ohio State, she played 10 2/3 innings and only gave up two runs off of five hits. Though a lot of her recent hits given up have been home runs, she has the most composure of the three pitchers and is the pitcher coach Jodi Hermanek relies on the most.
Danielle Stiene (C+)
Stiene, a sophomore pitcher, is a little more inconsistent then Dorsey, but she is young and still has time to grow. This season, she has been put in situations where she has had to save the game without much room for error.
Overall, she’s had to work on consistency and being able to close out innings. Against Ohio State, she played three innings and gave up four runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
She transferred from Hillsdale College, where she pitched 155 innings and had 213 strikeouts in her only year there. She has the potential, as this is only her first year playing for a Division-I team. After this year, look for her to find her niche and be a solid No. 2 to Dorsey.
Jamie Wren (C-)
Wren is a freshman and just got her first chance in the circle against Ohio State on Tuesday. She didn’t look bad; it was just an unfortunate situation for her to be in. Hermanek put her in with her team down two runs in the sixth inning.
She only played 1/3 of an inning in that game. She gave up five runs on four hits. Hermanek wanted to get her out to get some experience against tough batters to see how she would handle it. The plan is for Hermanek to utilize Wren, who is also a left fielder, to work her into the pitching rotation.
Ohio doesn’t have a problem scoring, it’s problem is getting runners into scoring position. The Bobcats left 10 players on base in both games, combined, against Ohio State. Hermanek was not pleased by that number, as she wanted her team to focus not so much on hitting the ball deep, but more on hitting to get a player in scoring position.
That has been the problem for Ohio this season. Taylor Saxton and Deanna Cole, the two leadoff hitters, have done well at getting on base with their infamous slap hits. Toward the middle of the lineup, however, the batters taper off and Ohio finds itself with two outs with one or two players on base. That forces the team to steal a lot more than it would probably like.
The Bobcats can score, but now it’s just a matter of getting multiple runners on base, getting them in scoring position and not just leaving them on base at the end of the inning.
Ohio is second in the conference in fielding percentage, with 97 percent as of last Friday. With the exception of one play, Ohio fielded the ball well against Ohio State. There were no errors from Ohio.
Most of the team's problems come from a lack of depth in the pitching staff and not getting into scoring position. Defensively, Ohio is handling the opposition well.
With a little more offensive and pitching consistency, the team can return to the NCAA Tournament like it did two years ago.