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Ohio senior Alexis Milesky, right, stands in the softball dugout during the Bobcat's game against Rutgers on February 17, 2017. After playing on the soccer team for four years, Milesky decided to play softball during her final spring in Athens. (CARL FONTICELLA / PHOTO EDITOR)

From soccer to softball: Alexis Milesky flourishes in new athletic role

It’s been eight years since Alexis Milesky played softball.

Back then, Milesky was just an eighth grader. She tried to continue playing softball in high school, but she just couldn’t make all the practices her freshman year and decided to move on.

Milesky instead stuck with soccer and eventually came to Ohio University. She quickly became a force for the Bobcats at forward, where she was an integral part of the offense. Most of the goals Ohio scored either were set up by Milesky or scored by her. She went on to score 17 goals and amass 40 points in her four years.

Milesky was not only a big part of the offense, but she was also a constant force on the pitch for Ohio as she appeared in 74 games in four years.

After all of her success on a college pitch, Milesky found an opportunity to play the sport she had left behind eight years ago.

Injuries to players such as Michaela Dorsey and Haley Adams combined with a few roster changes hit the softball team after fall practice ended, and coach Jodi Hermanek was looking to bring in some speed to help the team out in the spring.

For that, she looked to Ohio soccer coach Aaron Rodgers.

When Rodgers originally told Milesky about the opportunity, she thought it was for the club softball team. 

"He goes, 'No, the real one,' " she said.  “They gave (Hermanek) my number and then she called me and was like, 'OK, wear athletic clothes because we are going to take you to the cages.' ”

After a two-and-a-half-hour workout, Milesky had a spot on the softball team.

“She is a tremendous athlete,” Hermanek said. “Just watching her get out here and get in the outfield during these practice works and getting in the batting cages and stuff, she is just such a little athlete. It’s inspiring to watch, it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Milesky, who is studying integrated science, was excited to be on the team but met difficulty early on as she struggled to balance softball, school and her personal life.

“I was really struggling at first because I’m doing my student teaching right now, and obviously planning a wedding too,” Milesky, who is engaged to Ohio basketball player Kenny Kaminski, said. “I was like, 'There is no way I can do this,' and I was so upset about it.”

Milesky’s support sister on the team, Deanna Cole, and the rest of her new teammates rallied around her and helped make the transition much easier.

“They have all been absolutely amazing,” Milesky said of her new teammates.

The role is completely different from soccer, but she is fine with just coming in to run the bases and help the team in any way she can.

She has even brought her aggressiveness over from the pitch to the diamond, as seen in Sunday’s win over Rutgers when Milesky tagged up at first and advanced to second on a pop-up to shallow left field behind third base.

“Just like I told (Milesky) at the end there, there are girls that have been playing this game 900 years and would not make that tag and advancement right there,” Hermanek said. “The fact that you were like, 'I thought that I was supposed to do that' just means you are not going to hesitate and flinch, which means you are going to deliver, and that is exactly what we want.”

So far this season, Milesky has delivered, scoring three runs for the Bobcats as a runner in five games. She also has not been picked off or ran herself into an out yet, showing that even though she has not played the game in a while, she still has the ability to be a smart baserunner.

“She is aggressive," Hermanek said. "The great thing about her is that she doesn’t know enough to be hesitant, but she knows enough just to not run herself out of it.”

Hermanek recognizes the hard work Milesky puts in at practice, and how excited her teammates become when she enters the game to run. It's been evident every time she came into the game to run this past weekend, as every teammate came to the top step of the dugout to cheer for her. When she came back in from running, her teammates would line up and make sure they patted Milesky on the back and told her good job.

Hermanek not only wants to recognize Milesky’s hard work or the great character she has, but the coach also wants to reward Milesky’s efforts by giving her an at-bat. 

“She is going to get a swing before the season closes,” Hermanek said. “I guarantee that.”

@JimmyFarmer13

jf744915@ohio.edu

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