Buckeyes, ohio state, OSU, sports

Ohio State Softball Adds Sharonda McDonald To Staff

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Sharonda McDonald, a nine-year coaching veteran who most recently helped the University of Florida reach the Women’s College World Series finals, has been hired by Ohio State as an assistant coach. She will join the Buckeyes in August at the conclusion of her first season as head coach of the Chicago Bandits in the National Pro Fastpitch League (NPF).

“In every way, Sharonda fits what we’re looking for,” said Kovach Schoenly. “She’s been around championship-caliber teams both as a player and a coach and will have a great ability to connect with our student-athletes on and off the field. She’s widely respected in coaching circles and the combination of her experiences will enhance the positive momentum we’re experiencing at every level of the program. It was clear during this process that Ohio State attracts incredibly talented people, and Sharonda rose to the top of the group.”

With McDonald’s assistance, the Gators won the SEC regular season title in both 2016 and 2017, went 114-17 overall and appeared in the 2017 Women’s College World Series finals for the third time in the last four seasons. McDonald oversaw the development of the outfield, which included Amanda Lorenz, the program’s first-ever SEC and NFCA Freshmen of the Year. She also instructed slap hitters, base runners and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator, playing a vital role in the Gators securing two classes that were ranked in the top-10 nationally.

“I’m thrilled for this wonderful opportunity to join Ohio State and the Big Ten Conference,” said McDonald. “In making this decision, I was extremely impressed with the overall culture and direction of the program under Coach Schoenly’s leadership. I look forward to getting to campus and starting to work with the coaches, staff, and players.”

This summer, McDonald is serving as the head coach of one of NPFs perennial powers, the Chicago Bandits. No stranger to the league, McDonald spent six seasons playing professionally. In 2014, she finished her career with the USSSA Pride after playing the 2010-12 seasons for the Akron Racers and the 2007-08 seasons with the Philadelphia Force. In addition to the NPF, McDonald spent the 2009 season playing with the Fiorini Softball Club of the Italian Professional League.

A three-time All-NPF selection during her career, McDonald garnered the prestigious Diamond Spikes Award in 2012 after hitting .303 with 13 stolen bases while with the Racers. She ended the 2014 season with a career average over .270 to go along with more than 100 runs scored during her professional career.

The Houston Texas native made four collegiate coaching stops prior to arriving at Florida. In 2015, she served as an associate head coach at Texas Tech. In her one season in Lubbock, Texas, McDonald helped the Aggies finish the season with wins in a school-record four-straight Big XII series and nine of the last 12 games overall. Under her tutelage, outfielder Kristi Belshe made the All-Big XII second team.

As a volunteer assistant coach at LSU in 2013 and 2014, McDonald and the nationally-ranked Tigers made back to back NCAA Regional appearances. While coaching the outfield, McDonald developed A.J. Andrews into an All-American who was along the SEC and NCAA leaders in hits, batting average, and stolen bases.

McDonald spent three seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach at Ohio University alongside Jenna Hall, who just completed her fifth season on Ohio State’s staff and serves as the Buckeyes’ hitting coach. McDonald and Hall contributed to the Bobcats winning the 2011 Mid-American Conference East Division and appearing in the 2011 MAC championship game. During her tenure, Ohio had six different players secure All-MAC accolades.

McDonald began her coaching career as an assistant coach for Texas Southern in 2009. Under her supervision, the Tigers more than doubled their stolen base output from the season before, sparked by Latrece Shello’s 17 steals.

A standout outfielder during her playing days for national power Texas A&M, McDonald played for the Aggies from 2004-07. In that time, she garnered NFCA All-Region honors three times and a quartet of All-Big 12 selections. She holds Aggie single-season records for runs scored (60) and stolen bases (48) and also ranks as the program’s all-time leader in both categories (195 runs, 153 stolen bases). Her 48 steals in 2005 led the nation and helped her earn the 2005 NCAA Division I Softball Golden Shoe Award awarded to the nation’s top baserunner.

McDonald holds A&M’s sixth-best career average at .338 and is second all-time with 249 hits. She also boasts the Aggies’ top three single-season stolen base marks and set a NCAA record by swiping 73 consecutive bases. As a senior in 2007, she led the Aggies back to the Women’s College World Series for the first time in 20 years.

McDonald received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M in 2008.

QUICK FACTS
• McDonald finished her professional playing career in 2014 by winning the Cowles Cup title for the USSSA Pride.
• McDonald garnered the NPF’s prestigious Diamond Spikes Award in 2012 after hitting .303 with 13 stolen bases while with the Akron Racers.
• Three teams from the SEC advanced to the Women’s College World Series and McDonald had ties to all three. She played at Texas A&M and coached at both LSU and Florida.
• As a both a player and a coach, McDonald has competed in eight NCAA Regionals, three NCAA Super Regionals and two Women’s College World Series.
• During her McDonald’s two seasons in Gainesville, Florida stole bases at a 86 percent clip (169-for-197) and led the nation in fielding percentage both years (.984 and .985, respectively).

The McDonald File
Season Position Notable
2017-present Head coach, Chicago Bandits Bandits have won four Cowles Cup titles
2016-2017 Assistant coach, University of Florida No. 1 national seed, WCWS finalist in ‘17
2015 Associate head coach, Texas Tech Won four of six Big 12 series
2013-14 Volunteer assistant coach, LSU 80 wins, two NCAA Regional appearances
2010-2012 Assistant Coach, Ohio University Coached six All-MAC selection
2009 Assistant coach, Texas Southern Tigers more than doubled stolen-base output
2004-2007 Center fielder, Texas A&M Aggies’ all-time runs, stolen bases leader
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Awards, Buckeyes, college, ohio state, OSU, sports

Ohio State’s Lilli Piper Earns All American Status In Softball

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Ohio State’s Star shortstop before the Big 10 Tournament

Ohio State’s Lilli Piper steps into the batter’s box against Michigan State in the Big 10 Softball tournament semi-final game. The sophomore from Norton Ohio, just southwest of Akron, falls behind in the count. As the Spartan pitcher serves up what she hopes is the final strike Lilli steps up into the pitch and puts it out of the park over the left-center field fence for a two-run homer and a big Ohio State lead.

“You can’t catch Lilli with the changeup, ” smiles the Buckeyes hitting coach Jenna Hall.  “You just can’t.”

This was just one of the many highlights of the young shortstop’s career thus far as a Buckeye earning her third team All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Lilli is the 12th Buckeye in the softball program’s history to earn the prestigious honor.

I’m so excited for Lilli to be recognized for her phenomenal year,” said head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. “Her stats were clearly worthy, but what I loved about Lilli this year was that she brought passion, energy and a love for the game that was contagious to our team. This is a fitting honor for a consistent, relentless competitor.”

Lilli emerged this season as one of the most dangerous hitters in the Big Ten. In 48 regular season games, she was third in the league in batting (.420) with 49 RBI, 44 runs scored, 16 home runs and a .784 slugging percentage. While stats from conference tournament and regional games are not included in the All-American voting, she continued her torrid pace in the postseason, hitting .438 with a pair of two-run home runs – including one in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals and another in the NCAA Tournament – to go along with a .813 slugging percentage. Her overall numbers included a .421 average, 18 home runs, 53 RBI, 47 runs scored, .787 slugging percentage and .436 on-base percentage.

A transfer from Akron where she played both basketball and softball for the Zips, Lilli set a program record for home runs by a newcomer and was just one shy of tying the single-season mark of 19 set by Sam Marder (2009) and Alex Bayne (2016). She had a team-high 24 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games. Against RPI Top-75 teams (21 regular season games), she hit .429 with 23 RBI, eight home runs and 17 runs scored. Among the highlights was a career-high six RBI effort against Central Florida and a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to clinch a series win at Illinois.

In 23 Big Ten games, Lilli batted .430 and slugged a conference-best 10 home runs while driving in 22 runs and scoring 24 times. Her overall numbers ranked among the top 10 in seven different offensive categories as she was a unanimous first team all-conference selection and first team all-region choice. In Ohio State’s record book, her .421 average is fourth-best in a single season, 53 RBI rank fifth and 75 hits and 18 home runs are tied for second most.

With Lilli’s help, Ohio State went 35-18, 15-8 in the Big Ten and earned its second consecutive at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The 35 overall wins and 15 in the Big Ten were both the most since 2010. After finishing third in the conference standings during the regular season, Ohio State advanced to the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the first time in 10 years. Lilli was one of nine All-America choices from Big Ten programs, the third most of any conference.

Lilli is the daughter of Gary and Ronda Piper and her Aunt Kay Piper was a two-sport athlete (softball and volleyball) at Akron from 1982-85.

Batting

 

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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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Buckeyes, college, ohio state, OSU, sports

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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bulldogs, chelsea, chelsea high school, high school, sports

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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