Lauren Gellerman: Excellence On And Off The Diamond

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Ohio catcher Lauren Gellerman has had quite the career as a Bobcat, and she has records to prove it. On March 7, the senior blasted the 28th home run of her career against Seattle University. The shot made Gellerman Ohio softball’s career home run leader.

When the ball left her bat, Gellerman did not know what she had accomplished. She did not even know that she hit a home run.

“It was a line drive and it was weird because it bounced off of the fence and it came back into play so no one really knew if it was a home run or not,” Gellerman said of her record home run . “The umpires weren’t (signaling) so I kept sprinting, and then walking, and jogging.”

The hit was finally signaled a home run by the umpires, but still Gellerman did not know the significance of her seemingly routine score.

“On the bus ride home, it was on twitter and everyone saw that it was my 28th home run, and that I was the home run leader,” she said. “Then it was a big deal.”

At that point she received phone calls and text messages from friends, family, and past teammates.

“Both my parents were there actually, so that was fun to celebrate with everyone. Everyone was being so nice and it felt special having everyone say congrats.”

Since, Gellerman has hit another four home runs to set her career mark at 32.  Last weekend, she smacked her ninth and 10th of the season over the fence in a doubleheader against Canisius.

With just less than half of the season left to play, Gellerman may surpass the Ohio record for home runs hit in a season. The record currently stands at 13, which Gellerman set herself along with teammate Raven King in 2012.

To most, the Bobcats’ catcher might be known for her ability to hit the long ball, but she insists she’s not a power hitter.

“I don’t (try to) hit for home runs,” Gellerman said. “I strictly just try to hit a line-drive. Sometimes they go over the fence … sometimes (even) my bad hits go over the fence.”

Along with her 10 home runs, Gellerman is hitting .425 and slugging at a rate of .938.  Thus far in the season, those numbers are better than her spectacular junior year. Last season, No. 25 batted .340 and slugged .660 along with her record 13 home runs.

As a freshman in 2010, Gellerman’s batting average was .250 and she hit four home runs. Every season since the former Westview High Wolverine first put on the Green and White, she has improved her home run total, batting and slugging percentage among other statistics.

The San Diego native notes that playing regularly has helped her improve. Her freshman status coupled with injuries as a sophomore kept her from completing a full season as a starter through her first two years.

In regard to playing time, last season was a much different story for Gellerman. She appeared in 56 of 57 games, and started in 51.

“I was in the lineup all the time and it was just easier,” she said. “I had confidence; I knew I was going to be up there. I had a lot of chances to get hits.

“I think when you are in the lineup every time (you think), ‘I can have a bad day and I don’t have to worry about doing well in this at-bat, because otherwise I’m not going to get another chance. (Now) I just know that I’m going to have more chances and I just have confidence up there, and everyone has confidence in me.”

Gellerman’s confidence is displayed in the numbers she puts up.

As impressive as those numbers may be, she says she does not pay attention to them.

“I don’t really look at numbers as much,” the Ohio backstop said. “Last year when Raven and I tied for single season home runs, I had no idea.”

Though Gellerman does not bother herself with numbers on the field, they are her main focus in the class room. Because Gellerman is majoring in integrated mathematics, numerals are something she works with daily.

“She just knows numbers,” Ohio softball head coach Jodi Hermanek said.

Not only does Gellerman know them, but she knows them well. She currently carries a 3.904 grade-point average. This month she was named a Mid-American Conference Female Scholar Athlete of the Week. In the past two seasons she earned Academic All-MAC Honorable Mention.

“I’ve always been pretty successful in school,” Gellerman said. “Especially being an athlete, I know have to get stuff done early because we travel and we’re on the road a lot, so I’m just really good about staying up on my schoolwork and studying when I need to.”

Being on top of schoolwork helps her on the softball field, Gellerman says.

“I’m just not ever worried about school so I can strictly focus on softball.”

Coach Hermanek says that her star catcher even helps tutor other softball athletes.

As good as No. 25 is with a bat in her hand, or in the class room, she excels just as well behind the plate. 

“I think when people think of Lauren Gellerman, right away they think of her in the (batter’s) box,” Hermanek said. “They think of her right away as a person they don’t want to pitch to. But I also think that one of the secrets is that that kid has an amazing defensive talent.”

“I’m just glad that I can catch and hit at the same time,” Gellerman said.

Gellerman is the epitome of what a student-athlete should be. She takes each aspect of the title very seriously.  Seemingly, Ohio’s catcher is without flaw. Obviously, that is not the case according to her head coach.

“She’s just the kind of person who can look at something and get it taken care of, but if you ask her to remember it like it’s history – that’s where she struggles,” Hermanek said jokingly.

“She’s just all around a student athlete that we’re proud of.”