BEREA, Ohio – It was a rare raining day in Tucson, Arizona last March, when the Baldwin Wallace University softball team found out its season was coming to an abrupt end. Now one-year later, BW is set for first pitch but this time not in sunny Arizona but in cold and brisk Northeast Ohio.
Head Coach Tom Spencer, who enters his 17th season, returns 10 letterwinners, four All-Ohio Athletic Conference players and four Academic All-OAC selections from last year's squad that had its season cut due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Headlining the returners are senior All-Ohio Athletic Conference and Academic All-OAC second baseman Alex Kozich (Avon), senior All-OAC center fielder Macy Leach (Westerville), junior All-OAC right-hander Nikki Camarati (Brunswick/Holy Name) and junior all-OAC designated player Ashley Matousek (Sagamore Hills/Akron Archbishop Hoban).
Kozich, who returns for a fifth year, will serve as a team captain for a second season. She has appeared in 121 career games with a .309 batting average. Kozich has recorded 114 hits, 70 runs scored, 55 runs batted-in (RBIs), 24 stolen bases, 23 doubles, 20 walks, six triples, three homeruns, one grand slam and one inside the park homerun. She has a career .979 fielding percentage with 234 putouts and 146 assists.
Leach also returns for a fifth year and will serve as a team captain for a second season. She has appeared in 96 career games with a .330 batting average. She has collected 86 hits, 54 runs scored, 47 RBIs, 30 walks, 24 stolen bases, 13 doubles, three triples and one homerun. Leach has a .957 fielding percentage with 125 putouts and eight assists.
Camarati returns as the ace of the pitching staff. In two seasons, she has a record of 21-7 with two saves. Camarati has a career earned run average (ERA) of 1.38 in 173 innings pitched. She as struck out 222 batters with just 80 walks. Camarati holds the school-record for wins in a season and ranks in the top three in most every single season pitching category.
Matousek has appeared in 51 games with a .331 batting average, a .534 slugging percentage and a .405 on-base percentage. She has recorded 49 hits with 13 doubles, five homeruns and one triple. Matousek has also tallied 39 RBIs and scored 19 runs.
Joining Kozich in the infield are senior first baseman Mackenzie Milligan (Cleveland/St. Joseph Academy) and junior third baseman Kami Miracle (Uniontown/Green). Milligan has appeared in 66 career games and has tallied 54 hits, seven doubles, six homeruns, 29 RBIs, 296 putouts and 10 assists. Miracle has played in 48 games and has recorded 35 hits, four doubles, one triple, 15 RBIs, 34 putouts and 47 assists. Sophomore Alicia Saxton (Boardman) and freshmen Grace Bowman (New Windsor, Md./Linganore), Lexy Coggins (Vermilion/Firelands), Ana LaGuardia (Medina), Emily Mau (Broadview Heights/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) and Angel Minisall (LaGrange/Keystone) will look to find a spot in the infield.
Joining Leach in the outfield are junior Amanda Crisler (Lorain/Amherst), sophomore Jackie Kasai (Columbus/Upper Arlington) and freshmen Delaney Davis (Macedonia/Walsh Jesuit) and Julia Gersey (Solon).
The second half of the battery comes into the season with two catchers only seeing action in five games Sophomore Raegan Thompson (Mentor), who called pitches in five games in 2020, and freshman Bridie Bricker (Brook Park/Berea-Midpark) will get a lot of action.
In 2021, BW will be competing in conference-only games consisting of home-and-home weekend doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Each conference school begins the season with a home-and-home weekend doubleheader against an OAC opponent that counts in overall but not in conference standings.
The Yellow Jackets open the 40-game schedule with its non-conference weekend on Saturday, March 6 with a doubleheader against crosstown rival John Carroll University at the BW Softball Field.
BW starts its OAC schedule on Saturday, March 13 with a home doubleheader against Muskingum University.