Softball improves to 6-2 with walk-off

Oakland+University+softball+huddling+up.+The+Golden+Grizzlies+beat+NKU+4-3+on+a+walk-off+sacrifice+fly+Saturday%2C+March+19.

Noora Neiroukh

Oakland University softball huddling up. The Golden Grizzlies beat NKU 4-3 on a walk-off sacrifice fly Saturday, March 19.

Michael Pearce, Editor-in-Chief

Walk-off wins are always fun for the team, but especially to cap off the first homestand of the season.

The Golden Grizzlies softball team improved to 6-2 in conference play after a 3-1 series victory over Northern Kentucky University, including a 4-3 walk-off win in the final game.

“It feels really good,” Head Coach Lauren Karn said. “It feels better for the girls, though. They’re the ones out there putting everything on the line.”

After NKU tied the game at three in the seventh inning, the game sat tied until the bottom of the ninth. Cammie Brummitt walked, then reached second on an error and then reached third on a fielder’s choice. 

Catcher Jen Krizka hit a fly ball to right field, which was deep enough to advance Brummitt on a sacrifice fly, and the ball game was over. 

Karn credited the team’s ability to stay in the game to the relief pitchers.

“Our pitchers kept it tied for us and then we were able to push across that run before we got into international tiebreakers,” she said. 

Right now, the softball team is focused on improving their approach to the plate and getting to the ball faster on defense.

Since the Golden Grizzlies are 6-2, the mental adjustments the coaching staff wants to make are aimed at tightening up their game in pursuit of a championship. With a pretty demanding schedule as well, Karn and the coaching staff are focused on keeping the team rested and focused. 

Some weeks, the softball team will play two double headers on Friday and Saturday, then another on Tuesday.

“It’s a major challenge, and one that is a little bit different than past years,” Karn said. “Right now, our team is leaving it all out on the field, every single pitch. We just need to hope they can recover quickly.” 

Brummitt (.310), Lauren Griffith (.364), Madison Jones (.326) and Jessie Munson (.306) all have batting averages over .300 right now. Brummitt has been especially good at driving in runs, she leads the team with 12 RBIs. 

According to Karn, having a “core group” of players that can be relied upon provides a sense of confidence for the team, even during adversity.

“When there’s a sense of consistency, there’s also a sense of calmness, competitiveness and you don’t want to give up because you know at any point you have a core group of people who can really turn the game around,” Karn said.

Early in this Horizon League season, the Golden Grizzlies sit atop the standings, tied with the University of Illinois-Chicago. 

At 6-2 currently, Karn is confident and optimistic about her team reaching the Horizon League championship game for the first time since 2018. 

“Based on what I’m seeing and the way we’re competing, I feel like we have a really good shot at getting to that championship game,” Karn said. “What we have to do is maintain this or even get a little bit better, and that’s the most challenging piece because our season is long.”