Wintry conditions force cancellation of softball rubber match


Junior Ronnie Ladines pitches during the softball game against Eastern Michigan University on Friday, April 8, 2016. Kent State lost 0-6.

Nick Buzzelli

The last time the Kent State softball team played a home game at the Diamond at Dix on March 26, the sun was shining and it was a mild 46 degrees out, the typical temperature for that time of year.

Fast forward two weeks and—because of the below freezing temperatures and two inches of snow accumulation—the Flashes had to adjust their weekend schedule.

Despite originally being slated to host Eastern Michigan University for a three-game series on April 8 and 9, the two Mid-American Conference programs were only able to play a pair of games; a 6-0 loss and a 3-1 win, both of which occurred Friday afternoon.

“It was a slow start for our bats and we left a lot of runners stranded,” said interim head coach Eric Oakley, an Eastern Michigan graduate.

“Once they picked up, we were able to get at least one win on the day,” he said. “(Junior) Janel (Hayes) pitched great, but we have to continue to get key hits.”

On Thursday evening, Kent State (23-13, 6-4) announced that the double-header against Eastern Michigan (14-22, 4-6), which was originally supposed to be played Saturday, would be moved ahead one day because of the projected forecast.

And because of the persisting weather conditions, the final game was officially cancelled 48 hours later. It will not be postponed to a later date.

In game one of the series, Eastern Michigan struck first, tallying one run on a Eastern Michigan Brandice Olmos’ base hit, and added five more in the top of the fifth, courtesy of Eastern Michigan’s Olivia Logan RBI single and an Amanda Akles grand slam.

Eastern Michigan’s Abbie Minsker picked up the win by tossing a complete-game shutout, while her counterpart, Kent State’s junior Ronnie Ladines, suffered her fourth loss, surrendering six earned runs on five hits.

However, despite trailing early, the Flashes bounced back in the second game, scoring all three of their runs in the fifth inning from freshman Hunter Brancifort’s solo homer and junior Brooke Dodson’s two-run shot.

And a two-run lead was all Hayes needed:The right-hander gave up four hits and one run, while striking out four, en route to her ninth victory of the season.

Kent State hosts Ohio University Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m., before traveling to Oxford, Ohio for a three-game series against Miami University, the top team in the MAC’s East Division, on Friday and Saturday.

Nick Buzzelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].