Ladines, Grimm lead softball to win over Buffalo

Henry Palattella

Coming into Friday’s Mid-American Conference matchup against Buffalo, Kent State senior softball pitcher Ronnie Ladines had never recorded more than 11 strikeouts in any of her 117-career appearances on the mound for the Flashes.

But that all changed when Ladines (W, 12-13) recorded 15 strikeouts in Kent State’s (22-24, 10-9 Mid-American Conference) win over the Bulls (8-41, 3-16 MAC) Friday afternoon.

“It was outstanding,” coach Eric Oakley said of Ladines’ performance on the mound. “Obviously, it was a 1-0 game and your pitcher throws 15 strikeouts. You can’t ask for much more than that. She was phenomenal. One of the best outings I’ve ever seen her have.” 

The Flashes’ lone run came off the bat of senior Maddy Grimm, who accounted for two of the Flashes’ three hits. The senior hit a home run with one out in the sixth inning to give the Flashes a 1-0 lead.

“She hits a lot of shots —  some just float over (and) some are just absolute no-doubters,” Oakley said. “That was an absolute no-doubter.”

Grimm, who holds the Kent State record for most career home runs, now has 16 on the season. 

“Everybody realizes that’s what she does for us, and in a close game it was a major hit for us,” Oakley said, “and I think we felt pretty confident we were gonna hold on from there.”

Buffalo pitcher Ally Power (L, 3-14) countered Ladines and only gave up three hits through seven innings to go along with seven strikeouts. 

“I think we were being a little too selective,” Oakley said of his team’s approach at the plate. “I think we had good talks between innings and that they understood the approach. We just didn’t necessarily execute our approach as well as we should have.”

One of the factors that could have led to the Flashes’ slow game offensively was the lack of junior Holly Speers, who sat out for the third straight game. 

“We’re picking and choosing with her a little bit,” Oakley said of Speers’ playing time. “So, that’s really just a circumstance situation. You’ll probably see her tomorrow.”

The Flashes take on Buffalo in a double-header tomorrow that will start at 1 p.m.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected]