Madi McCrady threw the ball into her glove and turned her back to the field.
She fired in a pitch, and when Northern Illinois’ Amberly Rodriguez grounded out to first, McCrady let out a heavy sigh. She and the Bobcats gave up two runs on two errors in the fifth, but had the chance to respond.
In Ohio’s 8-4 win over Northern Illinois, the game was defined not by what it did wrong, but how it responded.
Sophomore shortstop Katie Yun hit a soft pop-fly into left field that sent Caroline Spacek home.
Senior catcher Natalie Alvarez smacked a line drive into center field that sent Alexa Holland home.
Senior first baseman Morgan Geno wound back on the first pitch of her at-bat, and sent the ball into the parking lot of The Convo for a three-run home run.
“Once they scored those two runs it was attack mode,” Geno said. “We couldn’t be complacent. It set the tone for the rest of the game.”
In the span of five days, the Bobcats (24-11, 5-1 Mid-American Conference) have had to shake off the complacency and go into attack mode. In their game against Northern Kentucky on March 26, a two-run shot from Geno lifted them to a win.
The momentum shift on the diamond was noticeable as the cheers and banters that were once coming from the visiting dugout, made their way across the infield and into Ohio’s dugout.
The Bobcats’ blunder in the fifth ceased from existence for the rest of the game. McCrady pitched a three up and three down sixth inning as the Bobcats tacked on an insurance run on a Holland sacrifice bunt.
“It was their way of not even telling me ‘hey I’ve got your back,’” McCrady said in regards toward the Bobcats potent offense. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.”
Some of the Bobcats complacency could be rooted in the number of home games in the last two weeks. They’ve enjoyed the comfort of playing in front of their fans and in their ballpark, but that’s set to change as they begin a road stretch that includes nine of its twelve April games outside of Athens.
For coach Kenzie Roark, it’s a change she thinks will be good for her team.
“As great as it’s been being at home, it might feel even more comfortable on a bus,” she said. “I love playing in front of our home crowd, but I think they’re ready to get back to their more normal routine.”
As McCrady threw the ball into her glove one last time and threw what was her final pitch of the day, Ohio managed to squeak out another win behind explosive offense and consistent pitching.
“I’m just glad everyone had a great team win today,“ McCrady said.