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Softball Returns to Conventional Season, Sets Sights on OAC Crown

Softball Returns to Conventional Season, Sets Sights on OAC Crown

BEREA, Ohio – After two years of canceled seasons and conference only schedules, the Baldwin Wallace University softball team looks to settle into a normal routine and battle for the school's first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference regular season title.

With a full non-conference and conference 40 game slate, veteran head coach Tom Spencer returns 12 letterwinners, the Ohio Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, four All-Ohio Athletic Conference players and three Academic All-OAC performers from last year's squad that went 22-16 and 19-15 in the OAC.

The strength of the team will be in the circle as BW returns two-time OAC Pitcher of the Year in junior right-hander Nikki Camarati (Brunswick/Holy Name) and junior right-hander Hannah Welling (Ravenna).  

Last season, Camarati, who is a two-time All-OAC first-team selection, led the OAC with a career-best and school single season-record 228 strikeouts, which was 125 more the second place pitcher. She was tied for second in the conference and tied for seventh in school history with 14 wins in a season. Camarati also was third in the league with a 2.25 earned run average.  She also had a career-high three saves and a career-best tying 17 complete games in 143 innings pitched. Camarati was selected as the OAC Pitcher of the Week on three occasions. For her career, Camarati has appeared in 62 games with 49 starts and owns a record of 35-14.  She is second all-time in strikeouts with 450 and enters her senior campaign needing 83 strikeouts to move into first place. Camarati has an earned run average of 1.77 in 316 innings pitched with five saves. She is a seven time OAC Pitcher of the Week.

Welling had a career season in 2021 as she appeared in a career-high 17 games and had a career-best seven victories.  She tallied career-highs in strikeouts with 47, innings pitched with 82.1 and complete games with four.  In her career, Welling has made 25 appearances, including 19 starts, with six complete games. She has won eight games and has struck out 71 batters in 104.1 innings pitched.  Welling has also tallied 25 assists, two walks and two runs scored.

Joining Camarati and Welling in the circle are freshmen Sara Frederickson (Lake Balboa, Calif./Notre Dame), Marisa Hall (Paris/East Canton), Taryn Welty (Medina/Wooster) and Ashley Zwick (Canton/South).

Behind the plate, the Yellow Jackets return senior Kayla Lorenzo (Chagrin Falls/West Geauga), sophomore Bridie Bricker (Brook Park/Berea-Midpark) and freshman Rylee Schaar (Fayetteville, N.C/McLean {Va.}).  Schaar could also see time at first base.

Bricker, who is an All-OAC first-team selection, returns as the incumbent starter after breakout rookie season in 2021.  She led the OAC with 11 homeruns, which was one away from tying the school single season record.  Bricker was third in the conference in runs batted-in with 38, tied for 11th in doubles with 10 and 12th in batting average with .363.  She also tallied 24 runs scored and six walks. Behind the plate, Bricker led the league in fielding percentage with .997, putouts with 291 and was third in throwing out base runners with eight.

Lorenzo, who served as a student coach in 2021, has appeared in five career games.  She has recorded four putouts, two assists and caught one runner stealing.  Lorenzo has two career hits with one run batted-in.

The infield will have a new look as just two starters return in junior first baseman Raegan Thompson (Mentor) and sophomore All-OAC shortstop Emily Mau (Broadview Heights/Brecksville-Broadview Heights).

Thompson, who made the switch to first base from behind the plate in 2021, could also be used as the designated hitter.  She played in 38 games in 2021 and batted .333 (38-of-114).  Thompson was second on the team with 11 doubles. She tallied 127 putouts, 21 runs batted-in, 14 walks, 13 runs scored, five assists and two stolen bases.  In her career, Thompson has appeared in 46 games and has a .303 batting average (40-of-132).  She has recorded 152 putouts, 23 RBIs, 17 walks, 15 runs scored, 11 doubles, seven assists and two stolen bases.

Mau, who is an All-OAC second-team selection, played in 37 games and led the team and was tied for fifth in the OAC with 15 stolen bases.  She led the team in runs scored with 29, tied for team lead in hits with 44 and was second on the team in batting with a .358 average.  Mau also recorded eight walks, seven runs batted-in and six doubles.  In the field, she led the team with 59 assists and fourth in putouts with 55.

Juniors Meredith Deutsch (Parma) and Alicia Saxton (Boardman), sophomores Grace Bowman (New Windsor, Md./Linganore) and Ana LaGuardia (Medina) and freshman Kenzie Morsillo (Middleburg Heights/Padua Franciscan) will all look to fill the open spots in the infield.

Seniors Amanda Crisler (Lorain/Amherst) and Ashley Matousek (Sagamore Hills/Akron Archbishop Hoban), junior Jackie Kasai (Columbus/Upper Arlington) and sophomores Lexy Coggins (Vermilion/Firelands) and Julia Gersey (Solon) all return after either starting or seeing playing time in the outfield.

Crisler, who is an Academic All-OAC selection, appeared 23 games and batted .289 (11-of-38) in 2021.  She recorded 13 putouts, eight walks, eight runs scored, four runs batted-in, two doubles, two stolen bases and one triple.  In her career, Crisler has played in 52 games with a .256 batting average.  She has tallied 17 runs scored, 13 putouts, 11 walks, two doubles, two stolen bases, one triple and one assist.

Matousek, who is a two-time All-OAC selection, finished tied for second in the OAC with a career-best tying 12 doubles.  She was second on the team and fifth in the league with 33 runs batted-in.  Matousek was second on the squad and tied for ninth in the conference with a career-high six homeruns.  In addition, she recorded career-bests in runs scored with 25 and stolen bases with two.  In her career, Matousek has played in 89 games and has a career-batting average of .337 and a .400 on-base percentage.  She has recorded 92 hits, 72 runs batted-in, 44 runs scored, 25 doubles, 18 walks, 11 homeruns and one triple.

Kasai, who had her 2021 season cut short due to an injury, played in 28 games and batted .313 (26-of-83.  She was second on the team with eight stolen bases.  Kasai tallied 30 putouts, 23 runs scored, eight runs batted-in and five doubles.  In two seasons, she has appeared in 36 games with a .295 batting average (31-of-105).  Kasai has recorded 40 putouts, 26 runs scored, 15 walks, nine runs batted-in, nine stolen bases and seven doubles.

Coggins, who became the everyday starting center fielder just eight games into the season due to an injury, appeared in 34 games and batted .209 (.18-of-86).  She was fifth on the team in runs batted-in with 10.  Coggins had nine runs scored, seven walks, four stolen bases and three doubles.

Gersey played in 20 games and recorded 10 hits, four runs scored, four runs batted-in, four walks and two doubles.

Freshmen Sarah Griffin (Grafton/Elyria Catholic) and Morsillo will push for time patrolling the outfield.

BW opens the 2022 campaign as it travels to the Grand Canyon State as it will play 10 games in five days at Tucson Invitational Games at the Lincoln Park.  The Yellow Jackets will host non-conference doubleheaders against Calvin (Mich.) University, Hiram College, Geneva (Pa.) College, Oberlin College, the College of Wooster and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Ohio Athletic Conference play opens at home on March 26 with a doubleheader against Wilmington College.  BW will also host league doubleheaders against Capital University (April 9), Heidelberg University (April 13) and the University of Mount Union on Seniors' Day (April 23).