Spring sports teams wrap-up successful seasons

Doug Gulasy

Three Kent State sports teams recently ended their spring seasons with success, including a Mid-American Conference Tournament championship for the softball team. Here’s how they and other teams they played fared:


The Kent State baseball team won the MAC regular season title before falling short in the MAC Tournament.

The Flashes (36-21) committed five errors in a 12-4 loss to Eastern Michigan in the MAC Tournament championship game, ending their season without a bid in the NCAA Regionals.

“Eastern Michigan was the better team that day,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “It hurts me to say it, but they were. To beat us, they deserved to win that conference tournament championship.”

Still, Stricklin said that he was proud of the way his team rebounded from a difficult start to the season.

The Flashes began the season 10-15 and lost their first five conference games but responded by going 26-6 the rest of the season. They finished the MAC 16-8, winning the regular season title in the final game of the regular season.

“Our guys really turned things around (after the tough start) and played the game hard and did things the right way,” Stricklin said. “We just started playing better baseball. . I think it says a lot about our team and our players to overcome the adversity they overcame.”

Junior pitcher Chris Carpenter, who had Tommy John surgery two seasons ago, was named MAC Pitcher of the Year. The Chicago Cubs drafted him Thursday in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft.

Besides Carpenter, the Flashes will lose three key seniors to graduation: infielder and leading hitter Doug Sanders, utility player Ryan Tokarz and reliever Reid Lamport.

But several other key players will return, including MAC Player of the Year Greg Rohan, so Stricklin said he has high expectations for next season’s team.


The softball team cruised through its conference season and tournament, winning the MAC regular season and tournament titles for the first time in program history.

The Flashes (46-12) won the most games in school history and went 20-2 in conference play to clinch the regular season title. They then won the MAC Tournament with a 5-0 victory over Ohio to advance to NCAA Regionals.

“The five seniors and the junior class were extremely disappointed last year in not winning the MAC Tournament – they won it in 2006,” coach Karen Linder said. “So I think that was really the biggest motivation for us going into this season was wanting to be a team that was able to win the regular season and the conference tournament.”

At NCAA Regionals, a double-elimination tournament, the Flashes lost their opening game to Notre Dame. They responded by winning their next two games, eliminating Wright State and Notre Dame with runs in the final inning of each game.

The Flashes’ season ended with a 5-0 loss to Michigan in the championship round of NCAA Regionals, but Linder said she was still happy with the way the team played after losing its opening game.

The team loses five seniors to graduation: shortstop and MAC Player of the Year Jessica Toocheck, career home run leader Jamie Fitzpatrick, center fielder Kim Hamilton, left fielder Corey Houk and pitcher Gabe Burns.

But Linder still expects big things from next year’s team.

“How I’ve addressed the team and how we’ve talked about it is (that) we don’t want to be in a rebuilding year,” Linder said. “I don’t look at it as a rebuilding year. We’re in what we call a reloading and a restructuring year.”

Women’s golf

After winning its 10th straight MAC championship, the women’s golf team was unable to advance to the NCAA Championships.

Needing to finish eighth at the NCAA Regionals to qualify for NCAA Championships, the Flashes instead placed 14th out of 21 teams.

“It was a very good golf course, a good test of golf, (and) we struggled right from the start,” coach Mike Morrow said. “We got off to a slow start the first day (and) really put ourselves in a hole.”

The team was in 15th place after the first day of the three-day tournament. The Flashes moved to 10th place after the second day, and Morrow believed the team had momentum and a possibility to move up further and advance.

But after moving as high as seventh on the third day, the Flashes fell back and were unable to qualify.

Still, Morrow said he was pleased with the way the team played this season. The Flashes placed in the top five in all of their tournaments except for NCAA Regionals and were ranked 13th in the country in the final poll of the season.

“That (ranking is) just an incredible feat for No. 1, a northern school (and) No. 2, a Mid-American (Conference) school,” Morrow said. “Obviously, only 12 teams in the whole country are rated higher than us. I think that says a lot about how we were a consistently good team all year long.”

Contact managing editor Doug Gulasy at [email protected].