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Ohio's Taylor Saxton celebrates after she scores another run in the March 25, 2017, game against Toledo at the Ohio Softball Stadium. (HANNAH RUHOFF | FOR THE POST)

Softball: Injuries and lineup changes give rise to new faces

Alexa Holland walked to the plate with confidence.  

The Bobcats trailed by a run and were down to their final out, but had runners on second and third for the young freshman outfielder.

Holland promptly lined a single into center field that brought home both runners, giving Ohio the 3-2 win over Toledo on Saturday.

The moment was huge for the Bobcats because it showed that despite the adversity the team has battled, everyone on the team can step up and delivere when called upon.

“The fact that I am a freshman, I don’t have anything to lose,” Holland said. “I’m only getting opportunities because there are players in front of me that are hurt, so I’m just trying to make the best of my opportunities.”

Haley Adams and Michaela Dorsey have not dressed for a game this season because of injuries. MacKenzie Brunswick and Dallas Messenger have both missed games because of injuries and are now relegated to just running bases while they come back and Deanna Cole started the year with a cast on her arm that has forced her to only be able to run bases.

Having players moving in and out the lineup and in and out of different roles for the team has forced Ohio to adjust, and bring in some athletes from other sports.

Alexis Milesky and Yamonie Jenkins have both finished their four years playing soccer and basketball, respectively, and have joined the team to run bases. Brittany Keen, who plays field hockey, has also joined the team as an outfielder.

These injuries have also led to a starting role for Holland. She was originally being used as a pinch-hitter. And she was doing well as a pinch-hitter and has since done a great job in the lineup, hitting .300 with a double, triple, eight RBIs and four stolen bases.

“When she got her opportunities in the early part of the season, she would come up, and I said to my staff at the time that I don’t think she understands the levity of her being able to come in and for one pinch-hit and come up with that hit and be successful,” coach Jodi Hermanek said.

The lineup changes haven’t just stopped at Holland, however, as Natalie Alvarez has recently been starting in right field and hitting .292 with a home run, three doubles, a triple and 16 RBIs. Her starting has meant Jamie Wren has moved to a pinch-hit role. 

Wren was originally starting in center but moved to the corner outfield spot when Cole returned to full duty. Wren is hitting .254 with three doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs and two stolen bases this season while Cole is second on the team in batting average hitting .353 with a double, a RBI and eight stolen bases.

Even with all these role changes, and lineup changes, Ohio is riding a nine-game winning streak leading to an overall record of 22-6 (3-0 in the Mid-American Conference).


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