Grimm leaving mark on Kent State record books

Samantha Ross

Senior Maddy Grimm wanted to leave her last season on the Kent State softball team on a , and 40 games into the Flashes season, that’s exactly what she’s done.

“Based off of the past three years, I’ve come into this year trying to leave with a bang because there’s not much time left,” Grimm said.

Throughout her childhood, Grimm was always active and tried multiple sports.

“I played basically any sport that you can think of think,” Grimm said. “I tried it for at least a year. I did gymnastics, tennis, golf, figure skating when my brother was at hockey, soccer, basketball and softball. I tried to get my dad to let me go out for track, but he didn’t let me when I was in high school.” 

Grimm went to Ligonier Valley High School in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, where she played softball, soccer and basketball. She was also the kicker for the football team.

“I was very busy, and I think that has a lot to do with my work ethic and being able to manage my time and know how teams work.”

In high school, Grimm was a three-time all-state selection at shortstop, batting .579 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs during her junior season and leading Ligonier Valley to three consecutive conference titles.

Softball was Grimm’s least favorite sport, but this is the sport she has excelled at in college. 

“I thought that it (softball) was so boring,” she said. “I liked the intensity of basketball, and in soccer you are constantly moving. Softball was always my best sport. My dad pushed me to do either basketball or softball in college. When people say ‘why did you choose Kent’ it’s one of those things where you walk on campus, and you just know you’re home or where you’re supposed to be, and I had that same experience when I was on my visit here. That’s why I came to Kent and played softball.” 

Grimm said she didn’t have any expectations when she came to Kent and that helped her deal with possible setbacks and frustrations.

“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’ and it paid off,” she said.

Grimm has started all four years on the Kent State softball team.

“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 learned a lot about softball specifically. I think that my softball IQ increased significantly.”

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

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“Sophomore year I just took what I learned freshman year and was like I’m going to (do) better,” Grimm said. “The girls that come in and out of the program influence you differently, and there are some alumni that were very influential in my success as well”

Softball coach Eric Oakley noticed Grimm faced challenges every year, but she kept working. 

“Somebody came in every year and pushed her and she took that as a blessing,” Oakley said. “She took that as motivation to keep getting better. The best players continually get better every year. I’ve been lucky enough to be here three years of her four, and I’ve just watched her get better every year.”

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

During her junior year, Grimm set the university’s single season records with 51 runs scored and 124 total bases and was also named to the Mid-American Conference All-Tournament Team.

Oakley said he believes Grimm is one of the best softball players in the country.

“(Grimm) is a phenomenal softball player,” Oakley said. “She’s one of the best softball players in the country, and I have no problem saying that. She’s been tested by some of the best teams in the country, and she’s performed. I feel comfortable saying she’s one of the best players in the country.”

Grimm is the all-time leader at Kent State with 50 home runs, seven MAC East Player of the week titles, two academic All-MAC titles, and two NFCA all Mideast Region First team titles. 

Being on both girl’s and boy’s teams in high school helped her learn how teams work, Grimm said. 

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

Grimm’s teammate Nicole Teefy said Grimm is a big contributor to the team, not only because of her skills, but because of her positive attitude and dedication to the sport.

“Maddy is always somebody that I’ve been able to look up to,” Teefy, a senior infielder, said. “Even though we are the same age, her experience and how she shows up everyday, and she’s just very personable, and every time I watch her play it makes me want to show up everyday and give my all because I know she shows up everyday, and she makes me want to be better as a teammate.”

Both Teefy and Oakley said her approach is what makes her stand out.

“The way she carries herself when she walks on the field, you see this formidable athlete,” Oakley said. “She’s got the build and she just carries herself well. Some people just carry themselves with a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger, and she definitely does that.” 

Grimm said her parents are a big part of who she is today and pushed her to succeed.

“They knew what I could handle,” Grimm said “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.” 

Even though Grimm’s least favorite sport was softball, she was able to develop a passion for it in college.

“I think it’s important to enjoy what you like while you can,” Grimm said. “Eliminating all those other sports in college has made me find a passion for softball that I didn’t really know I had.”

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