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Karli Spaid and Jenna Golembiewski: Miami softball’s powerful 1-2 punch

Spaid sits tied for third all-time home runs (92) in NCAA history
Spaid sits tied for third all-time home runs (92) in NCAA history

The Miami University RedHawks softball team has been a powerful program in recent years. 

For the past 10 seasons, the RedHawks have had seven winning seasons with an overall record of 327-223-2. During that 10 year period, Miami had six seasons of 30 plus wins and finished top of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season standings four consecutive times from 2019-2023.

It’s no question the RedHawks have been blessed with All-MAC talent for the past 10 years, their talent has not only been apparent within the conference, it has also been apparent on the national stage.

This season, Miami ranks nationally in multiple categories including tied for fifth in team batting average at .357, second in on-base percentage at .458, first in home runs at 118 (2.95 per game), first in runs scored at 369 (9.22 per game) and first in slugging percentage at .750.

Miami currently has eight hitters in the MAC with batting averages over .300, five who rank in the top 15 for hits, seven who rank top 10 for RBIs and seven who rank top 10 in homers. 

Two of Miami’s top hitters are players who are having career years. They rank first and second in the nation in home runs and first and third in the MAC in RBIs, and both are in the top 15 in batting average.

Those two players are Jenna Golembiewski and Karli Spaid.

Photo by Andy Mead | The Miami Student
Golembiewski was recently a Softball America Player of the Month selection in March, leading the RedHawks with 12 home runs

Golembiewski, a junior outfielder, has been special in her three years for the red and white. Last year, she broke out in a big way with a .306 batting average in 134 at-bats with 41 hits, 17 homers and 36 RBIs on route to a MAC Player of the Year selection. 

This year, Golembiewski already has nearly twice as many RBIs at 66, 18 more hits at 59 and seven more homers which are second in the nation with 24. 

Golembiewski also was recently a Softball America Player of the Month selection in March, where she had a batting average of .500 in 15 games. She also led the team in hits with 26, doubles with 6, home runs with 12, RBIs with 28 and slugging percentage at 1.308.

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“I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but it was really awesome and there aren’t any words to describe it,” Golembiewski said.

Head coach Kirin Kumar was pleased with the honor and how much effort Golembiewski has put in this year. 

“She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached and she never stops,” Kumar said. “She keeps plugging away and getting better, and she really is an incredible human which makes it a lot of fun.”

Spaid, a senior infielder, has also been a key reason why the RedHawks are so dangerous offensively. 

In her four years at Miami, she has a .387 batting average with 247 hits, 229 RBIs and 92 home runs, including three consecutive seasons with 20+ home runs. She also currently sits tied for third all-time collegiately in home runs. 

Spaid has been a part of two MAC championship teams and has made the NCAA tournament three straight times. The RedHawks have yet to make it out of the Regional Round, but this time she feels differently.

“This team feels very special, and there seems to be a different vibe this year compared to the teams in the past,” Spaid said. “It also feels good to be a part of such a deep and experienced team.” 

The RedHawks are looking to win their fifth MAC regular season title in a row. A big test coming up in the second half of the season will be a mid-week doubleheader against the University of Toledo Rockets on April 30. The Rockets currently sit at 11-6 in the MAC and are looking to dethrone the RedHawks.

Miami only has four conference matchups left against the Central Michigan University Chippewas, the Kent State University Golden Flashes, the Rockets and the Northern Illinois University Huskies.

Spaid and Golembiewski still have work to do, but their early season performance against the defending national champions Oklahoma University Sooners (who have won three consecutive national championships) gives them hope for postseason play.

“Our trip to Norman this season was special, because it built culture, and that has helped us to build a strong culture and foundation. We also want to be a part of something Miami Softball has never done,” Spaid said.

Kumar is in her fourth year with the RedHawks, and she has coached them to another strong season. So far, Miami is 34-6 overall, 16-0 in MAC play and on a 21-game win streak (the longest in MAC Softball history).

“This year compared to years past has been different,” Kumar said. “In prior seasons, we had kind of a younger team, and now it’s more of a veteran oriented lineup, which makes things dangerous for opposing pitchers.”

The RedHawks are in elite company, especially in the MAC, and they will hope to finish the season strong with about three weeks of regular season games left.