Grimm leaving her mark on Kent State record books

Kent+State+senior+infielder+Maddy+Grimm+poses+for+a+portrait+in+the+David+and+Peggy+Edmonds+Training+Facillity+on+Nov.+2%2C+2017.

Kent State senior infielder Maddy Grimm poses for a portrait in the David and Peggy Edmonds Training Facillity on Nov. 2, 2017.

Samantha Ross

Senior Maddy Grimm wanted to leave her last season on the Kent State softball team with a bang, and that’s just what she did this season.

The senior from Stahlstown, Pennsylvania, has hit more home runs than any player in school history. She holds the first, second, third and fourth ranks in home runs per season at Kent State. 

Her career slugging percentage of .753 is 167 points better than the school’s second best player.

She has driven in more runs than anyone in school history — and still has at least 10 games to play. 

She is such a feared hitter that opposing teams have walked her almost 40 percent of the time — 20 percent of the time intentionally.

“Maddy is a phenomenal softball player,” coach Eric Oakley said. “She’s been tested by some of the best teams in the country, and she’s performed. She’s one of the best players in the country.”

Growing up, Grimm played a multitude of sports.

“Basically any sport that you can think of, I tried for at least a year,” she said. “I did gymnastics, tennis, golf, figure skating when my brother was at hockey, soccer, basketball, and softball.”

 At Ligonier Valley High School near Pittsburgh, she played softball, soccer and basketball. She was even the kicker for the boys football team.

“I went to a small high school, but there were different girls on the different teams,” Grimm said. “I saw the different dynamics and started to understand what it took for that group to come together. Being around guys, seeing how they were kind of crazy about sacrificing themselves to win these games helped me a lot.”  

Grimm, a three-time all-state selection at shortstop, led her high school to three consecutive conference titles.

But surprisingly, softball was her least favorite sport.

“I thought that it was so boring,” she said. “I liked the intensity of basketball, and in soccer you are constantly moving.” 

Since softball is her best sport, her father encouraged her to play that or basketball in college.

Grimm’s parents are a big part of who she is today.

“My parents always pushed me, but they were never hard on me to the point where I was going to break. They knew what I could handle. My dad did a really good job at toughening me up as a kid. If I went two for three in a game he’d be like ‘well that last at bat this should have been done.’ It’s not like he was taking away any of my success, he just kind of was like you can get better.” 

It just took a visit to Kent State to make her a Flash.

“It’s one of those things where you walk on campus, and you just know where you’re supposed to be,” she said.

And focusing on softball has changed her mind about the game.

“Eliminating all those other sports in college has made me find a passion for softball that I didn’t really know I had,” she said.

“I didn’t really have any expectations going into college, and I think that helped me,” Grimm said. “If things were different, I could have gotten frustrated or it could have set me back. I just went in and was like, ‘I’m just going to help this team be the best that we can be and I’m going to do the best I can in every opportunity I get.’”

Grimm has started all four years.

“Freshman year was a big learning experience for me,” Grimm said. “I was always taught to be an athlete and be the best athlete you can be, but I think that my softball IQ increased significantly.”

In her freshman year, Grimm was named MAC East Player of the week three times, set freshman record with 44 RBI, and second on the team with 38 hits and a .288 batting average.

Oakley said Grimm has only gotten better. 

“A lot of times someone will come in and start as a freshman,” Oakley said. “They’ll kind of plateau and think ‘OK, I’ve achieved it and that’s all I have to do,’ but she was challenged and tested every year. Somebody always came in and pushed her. She took that as motivation to keep getting better.”

During Grimm’s sophomore year, she set Kent State season records with 19 home runs, 54 RBIs, 121 total bases, and .852 slugging percentage.

During her junior year, Grimm set the Kent State single season record with 51 runs scored and 124 bases and was also named to the MAC All-Tournament Team.

Teammate Nicole Teefy said Grimm means more to the team than a big bat. 

“She shows up every day willing to do whatever she can to help the team,” Teefy said. “Even though we are the same age, Maddy is always somebody that I’ve been able to look up to. She makes me want to be better as a teammate.”

Oakley says the way Grimm carries her approach is what makes her stand out.

“When she walks on the field, you see this formidable athlete. She’s got the build,” he said. “Some people just carry themselves with a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger.”

Grim drafted to National Pro Fastpitch League

The Akron Racers elected Maddy Grimm into the National Pro Fastpitch League Draft Sunday, making her the third player in Kent State softball history to get drafted.

Emma Johnson and Brittney Robinson were the other two softball players to be drafted into the NPF. In 2015, the Pennsylvania Rebellion selected Johnson and the Racers selected Robinson in 2007.

“We are very proud of Maddy and extremely excited for her to have the opportunity to continue her softball journey after college,” coach Eric Oakley said on the Kent State athletics website. “She is one of the best hitters in the country and a next level athlete whose defense and base running set her apart from your typical power hitter. It is exciting that Maddy is the newest member of the Kent State Athletics roster of pro athletes, and I know that she will continue to represent Kent State well.”

Grimm leads the MAC in slugging percentage (.852) and on-base percentage (.526). This season, she has 15 home runs, 46 RBI and a .343 batting average. 

Due to NCAA regulations, Grimm cannot sign until this season is over. 

Samantha Ross is a sports reporter, contact her at [email protected]