It was drizzling at Ohio Softball Field as Ohio fashioned a 2-1 win against Akron. Ohio (11-17, 5-4 Mid-American Conference) sized up Akron (10-20, 5-4 MAC) to take the first game of a three-game series.
Ohio had to pick up the pieces to regain the lead in the third inning. The Bobcats scored off an RBI double knocked to right-center field by Yasmine Logan. Allie Englant was able to score on the hit after drawing a walk and stealing second, her first of two steals on the day.
The rain had an impact on the players Tuesday, yet Mackensie Kohl still tossed one of her finest games of the season. She was dominant in the circle, and threw a complete game on just 98 pitches. Kohl allowed just one earned run on six hits and struck out six.
Kohl found success by varying her pitches and trusting her team.
“Utilizing my rise ball … staying consistent with my curve and just trusting my defense,” Kohl said. “I think having the defense behind me with the energy and Coach keeps me really calm. Kind of just working with them and Brooke (Rice) behind the plate does a great job.”
Kohl mentioned the rain and how she worked against it.
“I think I just had to focus more on spinning the ball,” Kohl said. “Rather than how hard I’m throwing it, just to hit my location. Not trying to do too much.”
Ohio’s defense was dialed in as well. In the fifth inning, Annalia Paoli made a spectacular diving stop and threw from her knees across the diamond to nab the runner at first.
Megan McMenemy also made a great play at short. She caught the ball over her shoulder as she dipped into left field to rob a hit. Soon after, the Zips started to be aggressive on the base paths and attempted to score a runner from first base. The defense adjusted and put together a strong relay to erase the run at home and close the second inning.
“(Strong defense) helps our confidence all the way around,” Kohl said. “It helps our hitters when there’s not as many runs on the board … It was the definition of a team win today … in a one run game, making sure to stay consistent especially in the rain."
The Bobcats were able to capitalize off the Zips' mistakes. Their first run was scored by Paoli, who got on first due to an error by the second baseman. She was then able to score after Tori Walker’s single to left was mishandled. Both errors proved to be costly, giving the Bobcats their first run of the day in the second inning.
Akron equalized the score with a booming shot to the warning track in left field. The double off-the-wall was enough to score Jaiden Bryant.
Paoli was named MAC Co-Player of the Week before the game, and she put her talent on display with shining defense — while also scoring one of Ohio’s two runs.
Ohio battled and stayed in front from the third inning on, neutralizing any chances Akron had to score. Ohio didn’t score the rest of the way either, but the combination of great defense and dominant pitching was enough to seal the deal.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated the incorrect spelling of Mackensie Kohl’s name. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.