AKRON. Ohio– For the first time since 2014 the, Ohio softball team (38-15) is the Mid-American Conference Tournament Champions, downing Northern Illinois (24-31), 2-0, Saturday afternoon inside Firestone Stadium. It is the second tournament title for the Bobcats and the first time since 2011 that the MAC Regular Season Champions won the tournament.
"Amazing accomplishment by an awesome team that's been determined after last year," head coach Jodi Hermanek said. "After being on this field and not getting our way, we wanted to earn our way back here. From being regular season champs, and east champs and coming out here this week and being amazing. Just determination. I'm so incredibly proud of this group."
After a clean first inning from both teams, and after starter Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) sent NIU down in order in the top of the second, Ohio struck in the bottom of the first. Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) drew a leadoff walk and was replaced on the bases by Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio). With one out, Cole would steal second. Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) would then register her first hit of the tournament, a monster two-run homerun to give the Bobcats the 2-0 lead going to the third inning.
After Stiene sent NIU down in order in the top of the third inning, Ohio would get another baserunner in the bottom of the frame when Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) singled to right field. However, NIU would get the final out of the inning, sending the game to the top of the fourth with Ohio leading 2-0.
NIU would get their first baserunner of the game in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, Dominique Greeno would single to center. Then with two outs, Natalie Alvarez (Long Beach, Calif.) would throw out Greeno trying to steal to end the inning, sending the game to the bottom of the frame with Ohio leading 2-0.
Northern Illinois would get a runner on in the top of the fifth inning when with two outs, Kayla Scaperrotta would reach first on an error. However, the Ohio defense would get the next out, sending the game to the bottom of the fifth with the Bobcats still leading 2-0.
Ohio would get two runners on in the bottom of the fifth inning, when with one out, Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) would single to left field. That would be followed by a single from Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio), putting runners on first and second with one out. However, the Bobcats would be unable to push a run across and the Bobcats would go to the top of the sixth with a 2-0 lead.
NIU would get their best chance of the game in the top of the sixth inning, when with one out, pinch hitter Abby Howlett would reach on a single up the middle. Then with two outs, Greeno would draw a walk, putting runners on first and second. However, Stiene would get the next batter to fly out, ending the inning and sending the game to the bottom of the sixth with a 2-0 lead.
Ohio would get two runners on in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Geno would draw a walk. Then with two outs, Dorsey would rope a single to left field. Alexa Holland (Rochester, Ind.) would then enter the game for Geno at second, however, NIU would get out of the inning and send the game to the top of the second with the Bobcats leading, 2-0.
NIU wouldn't get a chance to get a rally going, with the Bobcats sending the Huskies down in order and MacKenzie Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) collecting the final out on a fly ball to center, securing the title and the 2-0 victory.
At the plate, the Bobcats scored two runs on five hits. Dorsey led the way, going 2-for-3 with two RBI, a homerun and a run scored. Day added a hit, as did Englant and Saxton.
In the circle, Stiene continued her dominance, pitching seven innings, allowing no runs on two hits, walked one and struck out six, while only throwing 89 pitches.
The Bobcats are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Ohio will await their destination with the NCAA Selection Show airing Sunday, May 13 at 10 p.m. on ESPN2. There will be a watch party at the Athens Buffalo Wild Wings. Stay tuned for more information later today.