Ronnie Ladines’ pitch flew to the backstop, and Deanna Cole took off from third base, trying to score the winning run for Ohio in the 10th inning.
As she slid into home plate, Ladines fell on Cole’s leg while catching the ball and tagging Cole. The umpire called Cole out.
Coach Jodi Hermanek exploded from the third base coaching box and immediately got in the umpire’s face. She came very close to getting ejected from the game.
“I felt like it was the wrong one,” Hermanek said. “I felt like Deanna was under the tag, the tag was high, and I just felt like it was the wrong call.”
In the top of the 11th, Bailey Brownfield hit Savannah Jo Dorsey's pitch over the wall in center field to give Kent State a 1-0 lead it would not relinquish.
As soon as Hermanek saw the pitch go over the wall, she immediately started back on the home plate umpire, who ejected Hermanek.
“The game would have been over,” Hermanek said of why the home run sparked more anger. “For me, it’s just like bringing more opportunities to the plate for the opposition. We ask our athletes to be excellent and not do that, so we need that from the umpiring too. Just like if our athletes give up extra at-bats, you get frustrated, well, got extremely frustrated there.”
Hermanek’s original frustration came from the fact that Cole’s run represented the chance to break through against Ladines that Ohio had been searching for all day. Ladines threw a complete game shutout, striking out 11, while only allowing seven hits and two walks in route to the win.
“I think she’s one of (the) top in the conference,” Hermanek said. “She changes speed well. This year she is bringing more drop to her ball. She’s just a seasoned, experienced pitcher that has played against a challenging schedule this year, so she’s ready to be in these types of games. So I felt like when we had her that’s where we were not flinching, and that is when the call did not go our way.”
Ladines’ impressive start was overshadowed by what Dorsey did for Ohio. Dorsey struck out a career-high 22 batters in the loss. Her previous career high was 16, which she surpassed by striking out Ladines in the eighth inning. Dorsey did not feel it was as big of an accomplishment because it went into extra innings.
“It doesn’t feel like much because it was in eight innings, so it doesn’t feel like I did it in the game,” Dorsey said. “Even though it’s still a game, the game is longer, so it just feels like cheating.”
Extra innings or not, Dorsey’s performance was the most locked in Hermanek has seen the redshirt senior in her career.
“Clutch, awesome,” Hermanek said. “You don’t get that too many times throughout too many people in the nation.”
The loss was not only a heartbreaking one for the Bobcats, but it was also costly. Cole needed to be helped off the field after trying to score in the 10th, but came back out to play the outfield in the 11th. On the next pitch after the home run, Cole went to back up left fielder Alexa Holland on a fly ball, but she took one step and fell to the ground. Cole would be helped off the field and was carted off.
Ohio (26-11, 7-5) will look to rebound from the tough loss when they travel to Akron on Friday to start a three-game weekend Mid-American Conference series.