Jan. 16, 2014
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio University softball team began preparations for the upcoming 2014 campaign this week as the 19-player roster returned to campus for the 2014 semester.
"I started having dreams about softball a couple weeks ago, so I'm definitely ready," said sixth-year head coach Jodi Hermanek. "You know you're ready when you start dreaming about the game. We had a great fall with a lot of learning and a lot of progress. You get four short weeks to prepare for your season. It's what you live for."
Hermanek noted that Ohio's preseason training will be broken up into certain phases of the game, allowing the Bobcats to steadily build their preparation up to the crescendo of the start of the season.
Hermanek's coaching staff of Kelly Miller and Taylor Schlopy return for a second year. The trio is joined by volunteer assistant coach Caitlin Colvin and student manager Katie Clark.
"The staff camaraderie from last year to this year is completely different, in a good way," said Hermanek. "Last year was so much newness and learning so much about each other and bringing in different ideas while trying to stay consistent to the culture of what we've been known for here. This year, it's so much more effortless. It's more steady and more consistent, and I think it's built a great relationship between the athletes and the coaches. We're all a tighter-knit family."
The Bobcats return several starting position players and their top-two arms from last year's squad, which finished 28-29 (9-13 MAC) and eliminated Mid-American Conference East Division rivals Miami University and Kent State University from the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Sophomore pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) returns as Ohio's top arm after earning a spot on the All-MAC Freshman Team in 2013. She earned MAC East Pitcher of the Week honors three times and led Ohio in appearances (43), wins (14), complete games (11), shutouts (4), innings pitched (177.1), strikeouts (184), and opposing batting average (.238).
Junior pitcher Lauren McClary (Pasadena, Texas) posted a 10-16 record and a 4.20 ERA over 29 starts in the circle. She threw nine complete games, three shutouts, and three saves on the year.
Four position players who started at least 50 games last year return to the lineup for the `Cats in 2014 -- junior catcher Adrienne Gebele (Annapolis, Md.), sophomore infielder Amanda Dalton (Salem, Va.), senior infielder Raven King (Alpine, Utah) and senior outfielder Alyssa Wolfe (Junction City, Ohio).
Gebele belted a personal-record 11 home runs and drove in 29 runs in 2013. Dalton had the fifth-best batting average on the team, going 33-130 (.254) from the plate. King hit .246 on the year, collecting 30 hits in 122 at-bats. Wolfe made a game-winning catch in a MAC Tournament elimination game against rival Miami which was featured on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Ten.
Other returning Bobcats include senior infielder Alexandria Basquez (Elk Grove, Calif.), junior pitcher/first baseman Kaylin Clarke (North Royalton, Ohio), sophomore infielder Alexia Cortez (Beaufort, S.C.), sophomore infielder Amanda Dalton (Salem, Va.), redshirt senior outfielder Chelsea Hortman (Cincinnati, Ohio), senior outfielder/shortstop Erin Lashley (Pickerington, Ohio), junior outfielder Dakota Pyles (Galloway, Ohio), junior outfielder Timmie Rappe (Wheaton, Ill.) and sophomore outfielder Sloan Walker (Cypress, Texas).
The 2014 squad includes five new freshman faces in infielder Casie Hutchinson (Lebanon, Ohio), outfielder Leanna Bachman (Carroll, Ohio), infielder Kristen Searcy (Creighton, Mo.), catcher/infielder Madison Claytor (Alpharetta, Ga.) and infielder Taylor Saxton(Circleville, Ohio).
Hermanek laid out some of the goals for her club heading into the new season.
"We want to play every single game to win," said Hermanek. "We've got a challenging schedule this year, and one that gives us some variety with some elevated team and some teams that are right at our level and some teams that haven't experienced as much postseason play. It's about playing to win every single game."
Ohio's 56-game slate opens in Columbia, S.C., at the Carolina Class Feb. 7-9.