Madi McCrady is excited.
The reason she's excited is because it's the first time she'll play at Ohio Softball Field. The Bobcats’ first game at home is Friday against Central Michigan. It will be the first of three, with a doubleheader Friday and a single game on Saturday.
The anticipation has been building for the freshman McCrady and Ohio, too. The first scheduled home game was for Wednesday, against Dayton, but that game was postponed due to weather.
“It’s going to be cool to have that home field advantage,” McCrady said. “Being able to have our fans there, that helps.”
After playing 23 games away from Athens to start the season, some home cooking might help the Bobcats.
“I’m so excited to not have to pack my suitcase this weekend,” coach Jodi Hermanek said.
The 23 games, played in tournaments and invitationals, have had mixed results for Ohio.
The Bobcats (11-12) have seen all parts of their game have success. The pitching, defense and hitting have all seen ups and downs. When one of those facets have had a down, the others have picked up the slack.
Ohio has trailed in 18 games this season. The team has five comeback wins. If the Bobcats get behind early in a game, they don’t feel pressure.
“I’m looking for all us to stand up and help win the conference,” Hermanek said. “I’m looking for all of us to dig deep.”
Ohio has found production it wants from throughout the roster — not just from its veterans, but the underclassmen as well.
In the circle, senior Danielle Stiene has led the way. She has a 2.68 ERA with three shutouts. She has also struck out 99 batters.
Past the senior leader Stiene, McCrady and sophomore Kendall Meeks have also made contributions. McCrady has 53 strikeouts in 11 games. Meeks has allowed 10 earned runs in 20 ⅔ innings.
On the hitting side, redshirt junior Michaela Dorsey and junior Alex Day have led the way. Dorsey is hitting .341 with 15 RBIs. Both she and Day have slugged four home runs.
Along with those veteran hitters, freshman Katie Yun has found herself a major part of the lineup. She had a four-hit game in the Bobcats’ last game, a 10-3 win over Stony Brook, and has hit three home runs and drove in 13 runs over the beginning of the season.
“The kid was on time, at the right time,” Hermanek said of Yun.
After 23 games away from home, Ohio will start Mid-American Conference play as well. But, playing in front of that home crowd will definitely help, at least according to McCrady.
“We have a huge fan section already, which is awesome to see,” she said. “But, of course, it’s going to be more here.”