Five Buckeyes to Compete Against USA Softball National Team
June 3, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Five members of the Ohio State softball team - Taylor Watkins, Keelia Nester, Erika Leonard, Shelby Hursh and Melissa Rennie - have been selected to play in a doubleheader on Tuesday, June 17 against the USA Softball National Team. The games, beginning at 6 p.m., will take place at Marathon Diamonds at The Cube in Findlay, Ohio.
Watkins, Nester, Leonard, Hursh and Rennie will be part of a college all-star team made up of players from around Ohio. Tickets are $10 and can purchased online by visiting www.findlayfastpitch.org
Watkins, a native of Tucson, Ariz., was a first team All-Big Ten selection and second team All-NFCA Midwest Region choice. She finished the 2014 campaign with a .361 average, the highest on the team. Watkins added 40 runs scored, 28 RBI, 10 doubles and seven home runs. In Big Ten play, she hit .405 with 12 RBI, 15 runs scored, five home runs and four doubles. Her average was seventh highest in the league. She has started all 163 games of her Buckeye career with a .347 average (eighth best all-time), 182 hits (15th best all-time) and 89 RBI (13th best all-time).
Watkins was playing some of her best softball at the end of the season, hitting .429 with three home runs, three doubles and six RBI in the Buckeyes' final 15 games. She helped Ohio State win 10 of its last 12 contests, including a 7-5 upset of 18th-ranked and second-seeded Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament.
Nester became the Buckeyes' full-time shortstop towards the end of the non-conference portion of the schedule and never relinquished the spot. She was fifth on the team in batting (.276) and added 26 runs scored, 13 RBI, three doubles, one triple and one home run. In 23 Big Ten games, Nester hit .340 with 12 runs scored. For her efforts, she was named the team's Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Year.
Leonard started 37 games this year, primarily at catcher or designated player. A transfer from Florida State and native of Cincinnati, she hit .257 with 20 RBI, seven doubles and 11 runs scored. Voted a co-captain by her teammates at the beginning of the season, she started out the 2014 campaign hot, hitting .429 with a home run and a two-run double in the opening games of the FAU Kick-Off Classic in Boca Raton, Fla.
Hursh, a freshman from Tipton, Ind., pitched 91.1 innings this past season with a 4.60 ERA and 93 strikeouts. She led the Big Ten is saves (seven), recording three over the final two weekends of the regular season. On Feb. 16, she pitched a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over Utah Valley, striking out 12 while becoming the first freshman to pitch a no-hitter since Kristie DeVries in 2001. She also struck out nine in a complete-game shutout of Penn State on April 23. Hursh finished first on the team in strikeouts (93) and second in wins (five) and innings pitched (91.1).
Rennie wrapped up her Buckeye career this spring as a veteran of 157 games. A catcher, she started 39 games this year and had a .995 fielding percentage. Also a stellar student, Rennie is a four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, three-time Academic All-Big Ten and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.