COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senior Dee Dee Hillman and junior Alicia Herron will serve as team captains for the 2010-11 squad, Ohio State softball head coach Linda Kalafatis announced this offseason. The two will be leaders of a Buckeye squad that returns 11 letterwinners from 2010 after advancing to its fourth NCAA regional appearance in the last five seasons.
“While we have many kids that provide good leadership and stability for the team, I think these two young ladies stood out to their teammates,” Kalafatis said. “It was clear that these two have the characteristics that the team felt was necessary to lead the 2011 Buckeyes.”
“Individually, both of them have very good work ethics, they’re obviously stand out players for us, but being a captain and a leader is more than talent,” Kalafatis said. “I think they have good character and are very approachable and from a coaching standpoint, both of them are what you hope and expect out of a Buckeye student-athlete. They perform very well in the classroom, they are very good citizens and they perform on the playing field. We are proud to have Dee Dee and Alicia represent our team this year as captains.”
A native of Defiance, Ohio, Hillman started 46 games in 2010, leading the team with 42 runs and had the team’s third-best batting average (.345). In 148 at-bats, the Buckeye outfielder had 51 hits, good for second-most on the squad. A 2010 Third Team All-Big Ten honoree, Hillman had a .401 on base percentage with six stolen bases last season. Defensively, the 2009 First Team All-Big Ten selection had a .976 fielding percentage, while only committing one error.
“I feel honored and blessed that my teammates have the confidence in me to help lead our team,” Hillman said. “I’m excited to see what the season holds and it’s definitely a privilege and an honor to represent this university. This group is very focused and determined and we have the desire to be a Top 25 team.”
Herron, a native of Cypress, Calif., started all 53 games a season ago, powering the Buckeyes at the plate with a .749 slugging percentage. The 2010 First Team All-Big Ten honoree led the Scarlet and Gray in multiple offensive categories, including batting average (.415), at-bats (171), hits (71), RBI (50), doubles (15), triples (3), total bases (128) and stolen bases (10). The shortstop also was second in runs (41) and home runs (12). Herron is currently sixth on the all-time program home run list with 26 in just two complete seasons with the Buckeyes.
“I feel honored that my team chose me and I plan on carrying on the legacy that former softball players and my teammates have already started,” Herron said. “I’m excited to help take us to the next level this season.”
The Buckeyes come in to 2011 after finishing with a 39-14 overall record last season, including a 16-2 ledger in Big Ten play, tying for second in the league standings. On the season, the Buckeyes swept seven conference opponents including Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State and Northwestern.
The 2011 season begins with the Buckeyes playing at the Florida International Tournament in Miami, Fla., Feb. 11-13, one of five early-season tournaments. Ohio State’s home opener marks the start of Big Ten action as the team welcomes Iowa March 26-27 at Buckeye Field.