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Madi McCrady pitches the ball during Ohio's game against Bowling Green on Friday, March 22, 2019. The Bobcats won the game 7-2.

Softball: Five takeaways from Ohio's series with Northern Illinois

After winning their series with Northern Illinois, the Bobcats are now 5-1 in Mid-American Conference play.

Dominant pitching and offense at the right time propelled the Bobcats to win two of the three games with the Huskies.

Here are five takeaways from the series.

Madi McCrady shines 

The sophomore pitcher saw action in all three games of the series, throwing a combined 13 innings of work and only giving up five runs. 

She also had a combined 17 strikeouts against Northern Illinois in the series, including nine in the first game, which only lasted five innings.

McCrady’s ability to pitch out of jams was also in the final game of the series, as the Huskies had prime chances to score in the third and fourth innings but were unable to capitalize.

With that type of pressure, McCrady was focused on just making sure she puts the offense in the best position to succeed.

“I was in there trying my best, trying to breathe,” McCrady said. “It was just a good accomplish to be able to get out of that.”

Offense puts up runs at the right time

In the first game, Northern Illinois opened with a two-run first inning, so Ohio responded with a five-run inning. In the final game of the series, the Huskies tied it up at two in the top of the fifth, so the Bobcats dropped another five runs on them to comeback.

Coach Kenzie Roark loves seeing that fight in the team.

“They just don’t quit,” Roark said. “I’ve been saying that all year about them and they keep making me look good.”

That ability to score as a counter is part of the reason McCrady has described the offense as her “safety net,” being able to trust she can make a couple mistakes knowing that the offense is potent enough to respond.

MacKenzie Brunswick returns in a big way

Before Friday’s game, Brunswick did not have an at bat since Feb. 10.

The senior outfielder made sure the first at-bat back from her wrist injury was one to remember, as she sent the ball to the roof of the batting cages in left field for a grand slam.

Brunswick was just trying to keep focused at the plate and make the most of her at-bat.

“I just went in there with a clear mind,” she said.

She ended with six RBIs in the first game and three in the second.

Defensive struggles

The one major place of weakness Ohio had against the Huskies was its defense.

The Bobcats had four errors in the series, including two in final game that allowed Northern Illinois to tie the game.

Roark said the team saw those errors as a wakeup call and made them realize that they had to enter “attack mode.”

Overall, Ohio was able to overcome any issues on the defensive side in this series, but if those issues continue, it may be something other teams try exploit.

The benefit of home cooking

The Bobcats played their first home game on March 22. Since then, they have only lost one game at Ohio Softball Field.

Ohio was on the road for almost two months, so when the Bobcats finally got to play games in Athens, they were excited.

The Bobcats will not be at OSF again until April 10, when they come home for a single game against Kent State.

Getting a seven-game home stretch before having to travel again was important for Ohio, as the familiarity of Athens and playing in front of loved ones brought a morale boost for the team. 

“Just being able to play in front of (family and friends) and be home, that made everybody happy,” McCrady said.


Tyler Johnson


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