April 18, 2019

Lilli Piper: Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist

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Lilli Piper is a three-year letterwinner on the Ohio State softball team. The Norton, Ohio native has started each of the 145 games she has played in. A two-time All-American and unanimous first team All-Big Ten selection, Piper set the single-season home run record (20) as a junior. She is one of only two players in program history to record at least 50 runs and 50 RBI in a season. The shortstop currently ranks second in career batting average (.407) and third in home runs (3rd) among Ohio State’s program leaders. Academically, she has received Academic All-Big Ten, Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete and OSU Scholar-Athlete laurels. Piper was recently selected as the No. 15 pick in the 2019 NPF College Draft by the Cleveland Comets.

Ohio State Buckeyes

What was been the most rewarding experience or opportunity during your time as a Buckeye student-athlete?

The most rewarding experience is when little boys and girls come up to me after a game or even just out in public and say, ‘You’re my favorite player and I play the same position as you.’ Just knowing that I have impacted someone other than the people that I see on a daily basis is amazing. It is so rewarding because I was in their same shoes not too long ago and just keep reminding them that all things are possible through hard work and dedication.

What makes you a good candidate for this award? Is there anyone, in particular, you would like to thank for helping you during your time at Ohio State?

What makes me a good candidate for this award is that I was not supposed to be here. In the beginning, I played basketball and took a different path, but it just made me work even harder when that path didn’t work out. I came to Ohio State, which had been something that I grew up dreaming about. I am thankful every day that I spent the last three years here because it has made me such a better person than when I first got here. I would like to thank my coaches for taking a shot on me because it has changed my life tremendously. I would also like to thank my teammates that I’ve shared the field with over the years. They have impacted my life and shaped the person I am today. Also, everyone in athletics that I’ve come across during my time here. They have been so helpful in my everyday life from school all the way to softball. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the help that they provided. I want to thank my parents for even making this opportunity possible with all the sacrifices that they’ve made since I was a little girl. 

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a student-athlete, especially at a university like Ohio State?

Being a student-athlete at Ohio State is like winning the lottery. It doesn’t matter what team you’re on or where you go, people will always yell “O-H” or “Go Bucks!” It means that you’re part of community so much bigger than just athletics. There are people all over the country that want to be a part of OSU Athletics. It also means that I have a family that I get to spend every day with even if I’m away from where I grew up. The Ohio State University is my home away from home that I get to spend with my family away from my family. The opportunities that are given to the student-athletes are endless and the sky is the limit for all of us because of the people that work so hard around us to make us the best possible people we can be.

What are your post-college plans? After graduation, how do you plan to take what you have learned as a student-athlete into the business world/professional athletic endeavors?

After college, I plan on being a firefighter as well as striving to be a professional softball player in the NPF. As a student-athlete, I’ve learned to work under pressure, not only in softball moments but also in school, which will be very beneficial to the career path that I want to take. I’ve learned that preparing every day is what helps in handling pressure situations. Every day as players we prepare ourselves for the game so we can perform to the best of our abilities. It’s the same way in school with studying for the test to be able to do the best that we absolutely can. As a student-athlete, the situations that I have been put in will help me succeed later on in life.