Ohio has played 27 of its 51 game schedule knowing that next year is promised. Any errors it may make, any close losses or huge wins its had, the wrongs can be righted and the success can be built upon.
Ohio enjoys this promise, Eastern Michigan on the other hand, only has 18 regular season games left to squeeze out some form of success and memories.
On March 20, Eastern Michigan announced four varsity sports will be cut after the 2017-18 academic year in efforts to save money. Of the four sports that will cease to exist, softball is one of them.
“It’s awful,” Ohio’s first baseman Mikayla Cooper said. “We pray for those girls and hope that they find somewhere else to go.”
In a statement released from Eastern Michigan’s athletic department, all the scholarships of athletes whose teams are being cut, will be honored through graduation should they decide to remain on campus.
“We were a little shell-shocked,” Eagles first baseman Jan Logan said in a Detroit Free Press article. “We don’t have a plan yet; we are still figuring things out.”
At least for the near future, things are figured out and Ohio’s trip to Ypsilanti could potentially be its last.
The Bobcats (15-12, 3-0 Mid-American Conference) are surging at the right time. Winners of the last six, including a 6-1 rout of Pitt, the Bobcats' offense has been dominant through the six-game stretch.
Cooper, in four of the last six games, has hit four home runs to aid the Bobcats batting average and slugging percentage to .267 and .421 respectively.
The Bobcats, just through 27 games, have hit 22 home runs compared to last season’s total of 36.
“I hit every day it’s just like trust your instincts, trust your training, go in there and hit,” Cooper said. “If I get a hit, it’s going to trickle down to the rest of the offense.”
Ohio’s offensive dominance should continue at Eastern Michigan as it posts one of the worst ERAs in the MAC at 5.05.
The Eagles (4-22, 0-3 MAC) have struggled defensively this season in pitching and fielding. With 53 errors through 26 games and its best pitcher tossing a 4.32 ERA in 14 starts, Eastern Michigan’s defense will have to play better than its best against a hot Ohio offensive.
Where the Eagles have seen some moderate success is in its offense. Junior third baseman Amanda Akles posts a .353 batting average with 15 RBIs and two home runs. Their next best hitter is sophomore second baseman Arielle Anderson who has posted a .294 batting average thus far.
While a dismal record portrays the Eagles in a dim light, the Bobcats coach Jodi Hermanek sees through the numbers.
“We can’t go in there and take them lightly,” Hermanek said. “Those are games we want to be in charge of just like it was any other opponent; we’re just staying locked in.”
Ohio will look to remain locked in and extend its win streak starting off in Friday’s double header at Varsity Field with the first pitched slated to be thrown at 1 p.m.