Updated Fri, May 16, 2014 2:53 pm
When the Bobcats started the season 7-0 and progressed to 12-1 — their best start in program history — they knew that they could achieve their lofty championship goals through hard work and grit.
Now that same hard work and grit is paying off as they enter the national postseason for the first time in 19 years. Ohio travels to Lexington, Ky., Friday to take on No 14 Kentucky and begin regional play for the NCAA Championship at 7:30 p.m.
The double-elimination championship is made up of 64 teams and begins with 16 four-team regionals that are held on campus sites across the country. The Bobcats have stiff competition in the Lexington regional pod with James Madison (44-13) and DePaul (41-9) joining Ohio (32-24) and Kentucky (44-15) to compete for the top spot.
The Bobcats hope to continue to ride the hot streak they are currently on that has seen them win the last 4 games with a combined score of 11-1.
Much of their formidable performance can be attributed to the incredible pitching of Savannah Jo Dorsey, who was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches of a America All-Midwest Region Second Team on Thursday. The sophomore pitched 34 innings throughout the Mid-American Conference Tournament, allowing one run and six base runners while striking out 44 batters and earning four complete game wins.
The defense has been a strong point for Ohio, and the relationship between Dorsey and freshmans catcher Madison Claytor also has much to do with the solid defensive showing for the team. Claytor has been calling her own games for much of the season but one of the best games she called was the perfect game against Ball State in the second game of the MAC Tournament.
The young catcher was strong behind the plate and helped shutout the most prolific offense in the MAC — one that put 17 runs past the Bobcats in their first two meetings during the regular season — with the help of an inspired offensive showing from All-MAC First Teamer Amanda Dalton and centerfielder Alyssa Wolfe.
The Bobcats need to continue to be strong on both sides of the ball. If not, they can’t hope to make it out of the Lexington regional championship while knocking off the strong opponents seeking the same goal.
James Madison and DePaul face off for the regional opener at 5 p.m., and the winners of both Friday games will meet in the winner’s bracket final for the at 1 p.m. The losers will play an elimination game at 3:30 p.m., with the winner playing the victor of the winner’s bracket final for the opportunity to advance to Super Regionals.