An up-and-down 2017 regular season gave way to a memorable playoff run for Oberlin softball, which defeated Wellington 1-0 in the Division III sectional final before falling to Elyria Catholic in the district title game.
The team finished 15-12 overall and 7-8 in the Patriot Athletic Conference, good enough for third place.
Ninth-year coach Josie Martin said much of the hope for success this year falls on the shoulders of Bryanna Rivas, who was named Lorain County’s Division III-IV pitcher of the year and earned a spot on PAC, county, and district first teams as well as the All-Ohio second team last season.
Her 265 strikeouts in 2017 set a single-season record for Oberlin, an impressive total that sits nicely alongside a career 1.86 earned run average.
In the team’s season-opener, a 12-inning 4-3 loss to Lakewood, Rivas struck out 19 batters and went four for six at the plate, including a triple, and home run. She also sat down 11 hitters on strikes in last year’s sectional finals win.
“Bryanna does it all,” said Martin. “She works hard and that’s paid dividends for her and for us. She steps into the circle and you know what level of play you’re going to get.”
Rivas has already signed on to play softball at Division II Malone University.
Other returning main contributors include senior Myleia Holt, juniors Alyssa Hicks and Khalilah Wimbley, and sophomores Victoria Jackson and Taylor Anderson. Newcomers Cortny Robinson and Casey Amato are also expected to fill key roles.
“Alyssa will move into the outfield for us after playing the infield and it will be more of a natural fit,” Martin said. “Casey Amato will start in the outfield as a freshman. We’re also very excited about what Cortny Robinson will bring to the team as catcher.”
“We need to improve in both run production and defense,” said the coach. “There were some rough games with a lot of errors last year. Just fixing that will go a long, long way. It’s a pretty young team and we’ve lost two four-year letter-winners. Now it’s a matter of getting some of the newer and younger players to gel and take the needed steps forward.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.