Talent Ready to Fill Voids


Softball: Program looks to improve after losing star seniors

Jimmy Farmer / For The Post

Ohio is coming off its third season of 30-plus wins in the last four years, but it will face the challenge of replacing a legend in the 2017-18 academic year.

The Bobcats have become one of the most consistent sports programs at Ohio due to the right arm of Savannah Jo Dorsey. Dorsey graduated from Ohio as the program’s leader in wins, strikeouts, shutouts, innings pitched and complete games, among other accolades.

Losing a program-changer in Dorsey will be a big loss for Ohio, but the Bobcats will still have a talented pitching rotation.

Taking the top spot in the rotation will be Danielle Stiene, who pitched a perfect game in the 2017 season. Stiene is often overlooked because she pitched behind Dorsey the majority of her career, but she is entering her senior season already holding Mid-American Conference team honors in 2016 and the honor of being ranked in one of the top 50 Fastpitch pitchers in a 2017 Fastpitch News poll.


Hannah Ruhoff | FILE

Ohio's Taylor Saxton celebrates after she scores another run in the March 25, 2017, game against Toledo at the Ohio Softball Stadium.

Behind Stiene, Ohio will have sophomore Desirae Villanueva, who showed flashes of great potential in her freshman season, including a complete game victory in just her second career start.

Also entering the rotation for Ohio will be incoming freshman Madi McCrady, who signed with Ohio during the early signing period.

Those three will look to keep Ohio’s pitching staff the best in the MAC in the new year, but they will have the challenge of doing so without catcher Madison Claytor.

Claytor graduated from Ohio as one of the most consistent players coach Jodi Hermanek had. Claytor was an extension of Hermanek on the field, often giving the advice Hermanek was going to share during a circle visit before she even reached it.

The Ohio pitching staff also raved about Claytor’s game plan behind the plate and contributed much of its success to the catcher.

Replacing Claytor will be Natalie Alvarez, who mostly played right field during the 2017 season to keep her bat in the lineup. But when Alvarez did get behind the plate, Stiene raved about Alvarez’s ability to pick up on parts of Stiene’s mechanics and help Stiene adjust during rough patches for Stiene’s starts.

Also entering the fold for Ohio will be incoming freshman Brooke Rice, who signed with Ohio during the early signing period.

Offensively, the Bobcats made great strides behind the tutorship of assistant coach Jeremy Manley. Morgan Geno, Alex Day and MacKenzie Brunswick all saw major increases in their offense production last season with Manley’s help.

Those three will look to continue to improve, while Mikayla Cooper, Taylor Saxton and Alexa Holland will look to continue their consistent hitting from the past season and keep Ohio as one of the top offenses in the MAC.

The Bobcats have a talented roster, despite losing Dorsey, Claytor and infielder Casie Hutchinson to graduation, and will look to win the MAC and take another step toward national success.

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Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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