Miami softball continues to make history
Published: Sunday, July 1, 2012
Updated: Sunday, July 1, 2012 22:07
By every possible measure, the 2012 season was the greatest in the 38-year history of the Miami University Softball Program.
The softball team set records with 41 wins this season, including a win versus the seventh-ranked University of Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, and 16 victories in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play.
The five-player senior class of Jessica Simpson, Jordan McElroy, Daniela Torres, Casey Drees and Katie Osburn led the team.
According to Simpson, this class was, “dedicated to the program and wanted to make a difference.”
By finishing with 139 career wins, 18 more than any other class in Miami history along with both of the NCAA Tournament wins in Miami history, it is clear the women will have a lasting legacy on the Miami softball program.
2011 was a good season for Miami softball, but the players knew this year had a chance to be special.
Jessica Simpson said it best saying it, “just had to be a good season.”
The team started off the season strong, winning seven of its first 10 games. It carried that momentum into MAC play, where it finished 17-7 in conference games, earning it the MAC East Title and the second seed in the MAC Tournament.
However, in the first game after the team’s bye, it was upset by sixth seed Central Michigan University, forcing it into a win-or-go-home situation for the rest of the MAC Tournament.
And that is just what the RedHawks did, reeling off three-straight wins in the next two days to get to the MAC Championship, where they met Central Michigan once again. Since Central Michigan had yet to lose in the tournament, Miami needed to beat them twice without losing, only an hour after their final elimination game that morning versus Western Michigan University.
In the championship series, Jessica Simpson took over as she pitched 14 scoreless innings against the Chippewas, leading the RedHawks to 2-0 and 4-0 wins to take home the MAC Tournament Championship for the third time in school history.
With the MAC Championship, the Red and White qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The team was placed in the Knoxville, Tenn. regional with seventh-seeded Tennessee, Virginia Tech University, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, giving the RedHawks a chance to achieve another one of the team's goals: to make a name for itself outside of the MAC, according to Simpson.
The RedHawks did just that, shocking Tennessee with a 1-0 win behind a five-hitter from Simpson and an RBI single from Torres in the first inning. That win matched them against Virginia Tech with a chance to clinch a spot in the regional championship game for the first time in Miami history, but it was not meant to be. The RedHawks fell 6-0 and then lost 8-0 in a rematch against Tennessee to end their season.
Since the end of the season, Simpson and the Miami softball team have earned national recognition.
Simpson was featured in the June 4th issue of Sports Illustrated in the weekly “Faces in the Crowd” section. This section honors athletes of all ages who have achieved significant success in their sport.
The softball team was honored by the NCAA and received a Public Recognition Award based on their multi-year Academic Progress Rate and is given to the top 10 percent of teams in each sport.