COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team will be led in 2021 by four captains: senior Niki Carver, juniors Ashley Prange and Kaitlyn Coffman and sophomore Avery Clark. Carver, Prange and Coffman were all captains last season while Clark is a first-time captain.
“This leadership group has come together during this difficult year and added stability and focus to the group,” said head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. “In such unique circumstances, they have helped build the framework of commitment and respect within this 2021 squad. I look forward to seeing their competitive spirits come out during games and leading during those clutch moments. We have some true winners within this group and it starts with our captains.”
Carver, a Gainesville, Ga. native, is the most experienced Buckeye on the 2021 roster, having played in 114 career games with 107 starts. Last season in a COVID-shortened 18-game season, she had a team-high 14 RBI while hitting .280 with a pair of home runs. A special education major, Carver has twice been an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete.
Prange has started all 60 games that she’s played in thus far in her career and has a .339 career batting average with 12 doubles, 13 home runs and 47 RBI. She played in nine games during the 2020 season and hit a team-high .484 with four home runs. A second team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Freshman Team honoree in 2019, Prange is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree majoring in health sciences.
Coffman hit 10 home runs in her last full season as a Buckeye in 2019 as a freshman. She’s started 69 of the 70 games that she’s played in during her career and has 39 RBI, seven doubles and 30 runs scored during that time. The Visalia, Calif. native is majoring in speech and hearing science. She was an OSU Scholar-Athlete in 2019.
Clark, from Prospect, Ohio, made an instant impact for Ohio State as a freshman in 2020. An 18-game starter, she hit .444 – second best in the Big Ten – and had a team-high five home runs. A two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Clark drove in 13 runs and had a .778 slugging percentage. A health sciences major, she earned OSU Scholar-Athlete honors last year.
Ohio State will open its 2021 season on Friday, Feb. 26 with a doubleheader against Iowa in Leesburg, Fla. The Buckeyes also have doubleheaders against Minnesota (Feb. 27) and Nebraska (Feb. 28) on the opening weekend of competition.