Buckeyes, OSU, sports

BUCKEYES EARN AT-LARGE BID TO 2017 NCAA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A 35-win season and Big Ten Tournament finals appearance has earned the Ohio State softball team an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes were one of 32 teams to secure an at-large selection when the 64-team field was announced live on ESPN2 Sunday night.

Ohio State (35-16) is headed to the Knoxville Regional where it is the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 seed USC Upstate (44-11) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. live on ESPN3. The other two teams in the regional are No. 1 seeded and host Tennessee (44-10) and fourth-seeded Big South champion Longwood (28-27). The Vols and Lancers face each other on Friday at 7 p.m.

This will mark Ohio State’s ninth NCAA Tournament appearance and second in a row. For Kelly Kovach Schoenly, it will be her fourth as a head coach – she took Miami to the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2012 as well as the Buckeyes in 2016.

“We’re thrilled to be headed back to the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Kovach Schoenly. “We tested this team against a very difficult schedule and they’ve always found a way to rise to the occasion. It’s gratifying to be able to continue our season, especially for the seniors and leaders who have pushed us the entire year.”

The Buckeyes earned their at-large bid of the strength of a regular season that saw them win 13 games against RPI Top 100 teams and finish 15-8 overall in Big Ten play, good for a third-place finish. At this past weekend’s Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State knocked off Wisconsin and Michigan State in making its first championship game appearance since 2007. Other highlights of the 2017 campaign include:
• The Buckeyes played 18 games against teams that earned a spot in the 2017 tournament.
• Ohio State was ranked or receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Collegiate Softball Top 25 poll for every week during the regular season.
• The Buckeyes were 18-7 against a non-conference schedule that featured 11 games against teams from Power 5 conferences.
• Ohio State’s non-conference RPI was ranked No. 24 nationally, third highest in the Big Ten, and included 11 games against programs that were in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
• The Buckeyes compiled 12 true road win and a total of 25 victories at either road or neutral sites.
• Ohio State played its first 25 games away from home, going 18-7 in that stretch.
• The Buckeyes’ 35 wins to this point in the season are the most since 2010.

Statistically, the Scarlet and Gray are led by sophomore Lilli Piper, who is batting .424 this year with 17 home runs, 51 RBI, 46 runs scored and a .785 slugging percentage. The first team All-Big Ten selection was a member of the Big Ten’s All-Tournament Team after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of Saturday’s semifinal versus Michigan State. Classmate Emily Clark was also an all-tournament selection and is hitting .338 this year with nine home runs, 44 RBI, and 29 runs scored.

In the circle, the Buckeyes boasted the Big Ten’s best overall ERA in 2017 at 2.46. Senior Shelby Hursh leads the way at 15-5 with a 2.33 ERA over 129.0 innings and 115 strikeouts. All four pitchers who have seen at least 60 innings of action have an ERA of under 2.80.

KNOXVILLE REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, May 19
Game 1: Ohio State vs. USC Upstate | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN3/WatchESPN
Game 2: Tennessee vs. Longwood | 7 p.m. | ESPN2

Saturday, May 20
Game 3: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner | 12 p.m.
Game 4: G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser | 2:30 p.m.
Game 5: G3 Loser vs. G4 Winner | 5 p.m.

Sunday, May 21
Game 6: G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner | 12 p.m.
Game 7: G6 Winner vs. G6 Loser (If necessary) | 2:30 p.m.

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Buckeyes, ohio state, OSU, sports

Ohio State Extends Softball Head Coach Kovach-Schoenly’s Contract

 

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Buckeyes Head Coach Kelly Kovach-Schoenly (left) hugs hitting coach Jenna Hall to celebrate the Buckeyes going to the Big 10 championship game  

 

After five seasons with the Buckeyes, Softball Head Coach Kelly Kovach-Schoenly received a contract extension through 2020. Coming into this season, she had led the Buckeyes to 128 wins, including nine over top-25 opponents. In 2016, Ohio State appeared in its first NCAA Regional game since 2010.

“Coach Kovach Schoenly has done a terrific job with the softball program over the past five years and we’re very excited to reward her with a contract extension,” said Shelton. “The program is in a good place as athletes have excelled in the classroom, on the field with back to back NCAA bids and in the community with increased fan support. This is a clear sign that it’s heading in an upward trajectory. Coach Kelly and her staff have built a solid foundation for continued future success.”

“I am grateful that [athletic director] Gene Smith and [OSU associate athletics director for sports administration] TJ Shelton have offered this contract extension to continue to coach for a program and university that I love,” Kovach Schoenly told OSU Athletics. “Ohio State is where I want to be, with this group of incredible ladies, for as long as they’ll have me. I thoroughly enjoy developing young woman through sport to be ready to leave this place and go conquer the world.”

Kovach Schoenly, in her fifth year with the Buckeyes since arriving from Miami University, has more wins (163) than any coach in program history during the first five years of their respective tenures. She has twice led the Buckeyes to NCAA Tournament appearances and last week guided the Scarlet and Gray to its first Big Ten Tournament championship game in 10 years. Overall, she’s 163-105-1 with a 63-51-1 mark in Big Ten play since taking over the program in 2013. In her 11th year as a head coach, she’s won 30 or more games for eight consecutive years. Kovach Schoenly also became the fastest coach in program history to reach 100 wins and also reached 300 career wins last season.

Although Kovach Schonely is a Michigan graduate, she is a proud Buckeye through and through and loves to sport the scarlet and gray colors which the Buckeyes have made famous.  She has helped to boost the OSU fan support, and Ohio State set a single-game attendance record April 9 when 1,836 people watched the Buckeyes defeat her alma mater, 5-0, although there were hundreds more lined up outside looking over the fences.

Kovach Schoenly’s 2017 Buckeyes are 35-18 overall, the most wins in a single season since 2010. Her 2015 squad set school records for batting average, home runs and runs scored, while the 2016 Buckeyes were third in the Big Ten in overall earned run average and had five pitchers with an ERA of 3.00 or less.  They also finished 15-8 in the Big Ten for the highest conference finish in seven years. She’s coached 13 All-Big Ten selections, nine NFCA All-Midwest Region choices and one All-American (Cammi Prantl, the program’s first in six years).

In the classroom, 18 student-athletes finished the 2016-17 academic year with a 3.0 or better grade-point average. In 2014, the program had five Big Ten Distinguished Scholars – the most of any softball team in the conference.

“I love playing for coach because she’s always pushing us to be better, both on and off the field,” said sophomore Lilli Piper, who currently leads the team with a .424 average, 17 home runs, and 51 RBI. “She’s shown us that we can compete and win at a high level all while having a lot of fun. We’ve got great things happening for us now and she’s our leader.”

Currently, the Buckeyes are set to play South Carolina Upstate in the Knoxville regional of the NCAA tournament Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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Oho State Powers Its Way Over Wisconsin in Big 10 Softball Tournament

 

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Emily Clark Tags Out a Badger At Second

 

After watching their arch rivals Michigan get upset by the Michigan State Spartans, the Ohio State Buckeyes took the field to square off against a very tough Wisconsin Badgers team. The third-seeded Buckeyes had Shelby Hursh on the mound and she pitched a great game striking out a season-high 10 players and having some great defensive help behind her to secure a hard fought 3-2 victory at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor.

All three Ohio State runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the third. It started when Ashley Goodwin laced a one-out single to left field and the next batter, Becca Gavin, followed with a double to left field, moving Goodwin to third. After a strikeout, a critical error at first base on a ground ball by Bri Betschel allowed both Goodwin and Gavin to score, giving the Buckeyes an early 2-0 lead. Senior Anna Kirk then drove in what would prove to be the winning run as she singled to center, allowing Betschel to cross the plate.

The score would remain 3-0 until the top of the sixth when Wisconsin would finally break through against Hursh. After a line out, two infield singles and ground out, Stephanie Lombardo singled off the center field wall, but White threw her out as she attempted to stretch the single into a double. The hit, however, scored two runs to make the score 3-2.

Hursh’s 10 strikeouts are just three off her career high set on April 6 of last season in a no-hitter against Penn State. She’s just seven strikeouts shy of 500 for her career. A second team All-Big Ten selection earlier this week, she’s now 15-5 on the season with a 2.28 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 125.2 innings.

Goodwin, Gavin, and First Team all Big Ten sophomore Lilli Piper each had 3 hits on the night for the Buckeyes. This game catapulted the Buckeyes into a semifinal showdown with the Spartans.

 

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college, sports

Michigan State Stuns In State Rival Michigan In Big 10 Softball Tournament

 

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The Spartans celebrate their huge upset victory

 

There were a lot of disappointed fans Wilpon Field Friday as the Michigan State Spartans took down heavily favored 17th rank and second-seeded Michigan5-4. The Spartans battled back and scored 3 runs in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead using a leadoff hit-by-pitch and four singles to retake the lead and earn their second straight comeback win in the tournament.

Kaitlyn Eveland knocked in the go-ahead run with an RBI single. Lea Forrester’s RBI double and Kelcey Carrasco’s game-tying bloop single also helped the Spartans rally from a 4-2 deficit entering the inning.

Ramirez drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh and advanced to second on a groundout to put the tying run in scoring position, but a popup to third base ended the game and eliminated Michigan from the tournament.

The Wolverines plated two runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings to rally from an initial two-run deficit. Junior rightfielder Aidan Falk got Michigan on the board with a sacrifice fly to leftfield, but senior third baseman Lindsay Montemarano evened the score with a bouncing single up the middle.

Sophomore second baseman Faith Canfield, who along with Ramirez led U-M with two hits, sliced a two-run single down the leftfield line, dropping it just fair on the line, to drive in the go-ahead runs. Senior centerfielder Kelly Christner kickstarted the surge with a two-strike double — also down the leftfield line. Michigan carried the 4-2 lead into the seventh.

Lea Foerster went 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs for the Spartans. Bridgette Rainey picked up the win, allowing two runs on three hits in three innings. She relieved starter Kristina Zalewski in the fifth for MSU, which hasn’t won this many games since going 33-26 in 2006-07. Senior Michigan RHP Megan Betsa (23-8) took the loss — Michigan’s first at home this season — after giving up eight hits and four walks. She struck out six.

“Any time you can beat a team that’s consistently perennial is great,” said MSU coach Jacquie Joseph. “(To beat) a top-ten team in the country, and to win at their place with the crowd, I thought our kids just showed tremendous poise. It’s a very difficult place to play if you watch the game, our kids were really unfazed. And that’s not an easy thing to do. it’s a big program win, no question.”

Michigan (41-11-1) had won 36 straight home games and 19 straight over MSU, dating back to 2009. The comeback comes a day after Michigan State erased a three-run deficit in the sixth inning to eliminate Indiana, 8-7, on Thursday.

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Busy Week For Chelsea Softball

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The Chelsea Bulldogs were kept busy the past week playing a total of 7 games in less than 5 games and came away with 4 wins.

On Tuesday they traveled to Ann Arbor Huron where they took out the River Rats in a series sweep, with 12-2 and 15-5 victories. Peighton Root won on the mound in the first game helping her own cause out with a grand slam homerun in the 4th inning. Sydney Hines had 3 hits for Chelsea, while Olivia Leonard, Sydnee Liedel, and Hannah Kahler each had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.

In Game 2 it was Maddie Kemp pitching a 7 strikeout game while Hines led her team in offense with 4 hits, while Root, Alise Hale, Madison Adkins, and Kahler each chipped in with 2 big hits of their own.

Less than 24 hours later the Bulldogs hit the bus and took the road again to face a very tough Monroe team at Vince Rossi field. Hits were hard to come by as Olivia Leonard got the only one of the first game, a single in the third inning, to break up Monroe’s no-hitter as the Bulldogs fell 10-0.

Monroe took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning of game 1 but the Bulldogs rallied strongly in the top of the third with hits by Hines, Kahler, and Sara Stribe to build a 4-2 lead. Stribe scored again in the 4th inning after reaching base on an error and the Bulldogs looked to have the game in hand until the bottom of the 6th inning when the Trojans roared back for 5 big runs to take an 8-5 lead and that’s how the game would finish.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs hosted a round robin 3 team tournament for the third time this season and opened up against Plymouth Salem. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning behind back to back doubles by Root and Hale. Salem came back and tied it up in the fourth inning but the Bulldogs regained the lead in the 6th behind hits by Stribe, Hale, and Hines and a perfectly executed bunt by Kahler. But Salem would regain the lead and not relinquish it as they jumped all over the Bulldogs in the 7th inning for 7 runs and came out with an 11-6 victory.

In game 2 on the day, the Bulldogs took down Gibraltar Carlson 13-3 behind Root coming up just a home run short of hitting for the cycle and taking advantage of several walks and errors committed by the Marauders.

In the final game of the day, the Bulldogs squared off against Olivet. Olivet started out strong as their first batter put one out of the park to stake the Eagles to a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs were able to fight back and take a 4-1 lead behind some solid pitching by Root who kept the Eagles off the scoreboard again until the 5th inning but the Bulldogs were able to extend their lead and build on it finishing with a well deserved and hard fought 7-2 victory. Hines, Root, and Hale all had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.

Chelsea has 14 wins against 6 losses this season and will travel to Lincoln Monday to play a doubleheader with the Railsplitters.

 

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bulldogs, chelsea, chelsea high school, Dexter, girls, high school, mhsaa, sports

Chelsea Softball Splits Series With Dexter

 

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Alise Hale makes the tag on a Dreadnaught trying to steal second base

 

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, the Chelsea Bulldogs played host to their arch-rivals Dexter from just down the road in a doubleheader. Game 1 was a pitchers duel between Chelsea’s Peighton Root and Dexter’s Katelyn Niswonger. Dexter came out victorious 1-0. In game 2 Dexter’s strategy was to keep Niswonger in but it backfired big time as Chelsea stomped the Dreadnaughts 13-2!

Dexter took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and it would hold up for the entire game as Niswonger gave up only 3 hits while striking out 11. Chelsea’s young sophomore pitcher Root gave up only 3 hits also while fanning 6. Chelsea just couldn’t get the bats going and Root was backed up by her outstanding fielders including senior second baseman Olivia Leonard who made a great diving catch in the 4th inning and Sydney Hines who ran all the way to the wall in right field and made a spectacular catch. But the Bulldogs till came up short in only their third loss on the year and second in conference play.

Dexter thought since Niswonger kept the Bulldogs bats mostly silent in game one that they would let her pitch game two. But the strategy backfired as Chelsea jumped out fast in the first inning scoring 5 quick runs behind big hits by Hines, Grace Bush, and Alise Hale. Maddie Vasquez cleared the bases as the young sophomore multi-sport star turned a single into a triple through good heads up base running, good coaching,  and a Dexter error.

In the second inning, the Bulldogs tacked on another run as Hines singled and Root drove her to third with a single of her own. Then as Root stole second base beating the throw Hines took off for home and dove head first safely at the plate to give the Bulldogs a comfortable 6-0 lead thanks to a perfectly executed double steal.

Young sophomore pitcher Maddie Kemp kept the Dreadnaught bats silent until the fourth inning when Niswonger was able to score from first on a double hit by her teammate. The Bulldogs came back with a run of their own as Sara Stribe scored off a Hannah Kahler single.

Dexter would tack on another run in the sixth only to have the Bulldogs explode in the bottom of the inning for 5 more runs behind big hits by Kahler, Root, Vasquez, and Allie Heinen giving the Bulldogs a huge victory and running their record to 10-3 on the season.

Kemp went the distance for the Bulldogs going 6 innings and only allowing 2 runs on four hits and 6 strikeouts. Vasquez, Hines, Kahler, and Root all had 2 hits apiece for the Bulldogs who had 12 hits on the nights.

Chelsea will travel to Ann Arbor Huron on Tuesday the 25th for a makeup doubleheader against the River Rats. Gametime is at 4 p.m.

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Chelsea Softball Takes All 3 Games Again

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Win, repeat, sweep. That’s what the Chelsea Bulldogs seem to be doing in their round robin tournament play this year and the players and their fans couldn’t be happier with the results. In today’s games, the Bulldogs defeated Grass Lake 2-1, run-ruled Holt 11-0, and finished the day off with a well-earned victory over Livonia Churchill 6-3.

In the first game against the Warriors, Grass Lake took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and then it became a pitchers duel with Chelsea’s Peighton Root coming out on top thanks to a walk-off hit by Hannah Kahler in the bottom of the seventh to give the Bulldogs the exciting victory. Root went the distance for the Bulldogs only allowing 3 hits with her solid defense behind her.

In game 2, it seemed to flow a lot easier for the Bulldogs and their big bats as they mercied Holt in 5 innings. The Bulldogs scored 10 runs in the first 2 innings of the game led by a 3 run home run by Alise Hale. Almost every Bulldog reached base in the first inning alone.

The second inning went just as well for the Bulldogs as they piled up another 5 runs with senior third baseman Autumn Johnson starting things off with a double, her second hit on the night. Root brought her around with a big blast over the outfield fence for a two-run homer. 2 batters later it was sophomore catcher Maddie Vasquez getting her second home run of the year, as she went yard for a two-run shot.  Sophomore Maddie Kemp picked up the shutout victory with a 6 strikeout performance while only allowing 3 hits.

The sun was bright and the air just a bit crisp as the Bulldogs started their third game against a very tough Livonia Churchill team.  Root got the ball again on the mound for the Bulldogs and runs were a bit tougher to come by, like in the Grass Lake game. But Sydney Hines was able to clear the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning with a 2 rbi double and then would score herself off a single by Hale giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.

The Chargers tacked on a run in the top of the 5th but the bulldogs established a bigger lead and more breathing room in the 6th inning by adding 3 runs, behind the bats of Root, Hale, and Sydnee Liedel, who went 3 for 4 in the game.

The Chargers had a brief rally in the 7th adding two more runs but it wasn’t enough as Root got the Charger to ground out to third to Maddie Kemp who made the throw to first baseman Grace Bush for the out and the victory and the sweep on the day. Root gave up only 7 hits to go with her 7 strikeouts.

The Bulldogs are now 9-2 on the season and will be hosting their arch rivals Dexter on Monday at 4. p.m.

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