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Softball: Senior infielder ties records, improves skills
Entering her senior year, first baseman Caitlin Colvin had just 11 hits in her career. But past the halfway point this season, she has hit 13 home runs — tying the program’s single-season record.
Colvin’s success at the plate has led Ohio (17-12) to its best start in her four years as a Bobcat and sparked an offense that is on pace to obliterate the team record for single-season home runs.
Her total of 13 homers this season not only leads Ohio and the Mid-American Conference, but also places her with the seventh-most in the NCAA last week when she had 12. However, Colvin had recorded just 78 at-bats in her previous three years with Ohio, including just nine at-bats in 2012.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised with my success,” Colvin said. “I think I’ve just been given opportunity and have worked hard over the summer to get where I am now.”
Before filling the cleanup spot and becoming the backbone of the lineup this season, Colvin was primarily a pitcher.
She made 51 appearances inside the circle, where she totaled 143.2 innings. While she did not achieve great success, she was relied on mostly as a second and third pitcher to relieve or start games and give the lead pitchers breaks during doubleheaders.
“We needed her defensively this year, and I think our pitchers have been doing pretty well this year,” said Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek. “She had some struggles in her career pitching, but this year she is taking the bull by the horns and making the most of her investment.”
Hermanek recruited Colvin as a dual threat both in the circle and at the plate, though her offensive presence has taken the forefront this year and she hasn’t pitched as much.
With the arrival of assistant coach Taylor Schlopy this offseason, Colvin received new instruction on her approach at the plate. Schlopy helped rework Colvin’s swing by emphasizing her lower body and exploding toward the ball.
“We changed a lot of my basic fundamentals for a more baseball-esque hitting,” Colvin said. “I’ve been able to use more of my legs and swing through the ball a lot more, which has helped me tremendously in seeing and trusting my legs more.”
With 24 games remaining this season, Hermanek hopes Colvin’s ability to make the big hit will result in success.
“(Caitlin) has always been a powerhouse offensively the last four years, and I know she had it in her, but she’s really confident right now,” Hermanek said.
Colvin will likely surpass teammates senior catcher Lauren Gellerman and junior third baseman Raven King for the single-season home run record in the coming games.
Colvin might also climb the ranks in the MAC record books if she continues to belt balls over the fence, as she needs just six more home runs to tie the MAC single-season record of 19 dingers.
On track to break program records at a record pace, Colvin has received much attention, but she’s more focused on team success than individual records.
“I don’t really pay attention to all the attention I am receiving,” Colvin said. “For me, it’s about helping my team out the best I can. The fact I’m getting attention is awesome, but it’s not my goal.”