In their series last season, the Ohio Softball team outscored the Dayton Flyers 25-15 in a two-game sweep at the Ohio Softball Field. Coming into their home-opening series, the Bobcats were looking to pick up right where they left off against the Flyers.
Designated hitter Tiffany Ricks and pitcher Emily Froment had other ideas.
Ricks’ grand slam in game one and Froment’s excellent pitching in game two sparked the Flyers (6-10) to a double-header sweep of the Ohio Bobcats, 7-4 and 6-3.
The series between these two schools was moved to Athens from Dayton due to unplayable field conditions; therefore, Ohio (13-8) played their home-opening series eight days earlier than expected.
“They did a good job of keeping a zone attack in both games,” Ohio softball coach Jodi Hermanek said. “In the second game we were able to connect with the ball, but their defense was in the right spot.”
After a stellar start to the season, the Bobcats have now dropped five of their last six games. Junior center fielder Alyssa Wolfe went 3-for-4 with one run and freshman pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey pitched 7.2 innings and allowed five hits while striking out 10 batters.
“Mac (Lauren McClary) threw decently today,” Hermanek said of her ace. “She had a couple of key walks, but hung in there pretty well. Savvy (Savannah Jo Dorsey) got rocky in the sixth inning, but she was able to bounce back.”
In game one, Ohio got off to a perfect start. In the bottom of the second inning, designated hitter Adrienne Gebele hit an RBI single to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead after two innings.
In the top of the third inning, everything came apart for the Bobcats. After Dayton tied the game at one on an RBI single by Natalie Mariano, Ricks had the bases loaded and a chance to break the game open for Dayton. With one swing of the bat, Ricks’ grand slam capped off a five-run inning for the visitors.
After a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning extended Dayton’s lead to 6-1, third baseman Raven King hit a two-run bomb that just barely cleared the left-field wall to cut Ohio’s deficit to 6-3.
With Ohio down 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh, catcher Lauren Gellerman’s RBI single made for an intriguing finish. With two runners on and two outs, King came to the plate. With a chance to tie the game, the Alpine, Utah native grounded out to third to end the game.
Even though the Bobcats fell short, Hermanek was pleased with the effort.
“I am happy with the way we fought back,” she said. “We needed to do a better job fielding bunts, and we did not come up with that timely hit we needed.”
In game two, the Flyers were able to start the faster of the two teams. In the top of the first inning, Jordan Jennings hit a home run over the scoreboard in center field to hand the Flyers a quick 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, Paige Rhodes was hit by a pitch to increase the Dayton lead to 2-0.
In the top of the sixth inning, Mariano hit a two-run double to increase Dayton’s lead to 4-0, and to finish the inning, Jennings two-run single made the score 6-0 in favor of the Flyers.
The ‘Cats were able to reduce the deficit in half thanks to a two-run home run by senior first baseman Caitlin Colvin in the sixth inning and an RBI groundout by junior Alexandria Basquez in the bottom of the seventh, but Dayton pitcher Alysha Isaacson got the final out in a tense seventh inning.
“It was fun and exciting,” Hermanek said of playing at night with the new lights. “It’s a privilege and an honor. I am happy that our field allowed us to play here tonight.”
The Ohio Bobcats will look to get back on the right track when they travel to Richmond, Ky. to take on Eastern Kentucky on March 19. First pitch of the scheduled double-header is set for 2 p.m.