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Softball: Ohio State heads to California for Mary Nutter Classic

Then-junior Emily Clark follows through on her swing, hitting a double against Wright State on Sep. 24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The Lantern

Having recovered from three losses this past week, the Ohio State softball team (4-4) will head to Palm Springs, California, to take on Army (4-6), Utah (5-5), Duke (5-5) and New Mexico (4-4) in the Mary Nutter Classic.

After winning one of four games in the ESPN Elite Invitational tournament, head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said the high-level competition gave the Buckeyes the experience of what the postseason will be like in February.

Schoenly said this experience is irreplaceable, encouraging the team to have a short memory and try to learn from the lack of success in the invitational.

“I think that we are able to get our young kids in some tough situations so that they are able to feel that pressure, and then hopefully the next time, they will be able to execute,” Schoenly said.

The trip to California this week is special for the team with six players returning to their home state. Freshman pitcher Jessica Ross is one of them.

“I think we are all excited for next week. I am really excited,” Ross said. “All my family are going to be there.”

Past this series, Ross is looking forward to the entire season and believes in the whole team following losses in four of the past five games.

“We are looking forward to a great season,” Ross said, “We are really competitive. I think we all get along great, so we just work together. We can beat any team.”

Competing in front of hometown friends and family is encouraging for California players, which Schoenly said will help bring a new energy to the game.

Of the four opponents it will face, Ohio State played against Utah last week, earning a 10-2 win — a season high in runs.

“I really want to just see the team come together again and figure out what it’s going to take to make big plays,” Schoenly said.  

The Buckeyes will face Army, Utah, Duke and New Mexico State for the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, California, this weekend. The first game will start at 1 p.m. Friday.

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