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Ohio Softball: California trip is homecoming for two Ohio softball players

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The Ohio Bobcats (11-7) softball team is heading west this weekend, playing five games in southern California throughout the weekend.

Ohio will open the weekend in LA, where they will face BYU and Robert Morris at UCLA on Friday. The team will then move to Long Beach State University on Saturday where they will battle against San Diego State, take on host Long Beach State. Ohio will conclude their weekend on Sunday when the Bobcats duel against the Flames of Liberty.

This road trip is even more special to two Bobcats, because it will be a homecoming for them. Senior catcher Natalie Alvarez and Sophomore outfielder Allie Englant are both Long Beach natives and are excited to be playing in their hometown.

Alvarez, as a senior had the chance to help pick out where the team went as a senior and when given options including playing in her hometown, she quickly jumped on it.

“I was asked where I wanted to go for senior trip I said Long Beach duh!” Alvarez said.

Both players are excited not only for the opportunity to play in their hometown, but also to have family be able to attend the games. Englant said that nine family members were planning on coming, while Alvarez has members from both sides of her family along with coaches from high school.

This provides a unique opportunity for the two to play at the university so close to where they grew up, but neither have stepped on the field to play a game on that campus in quite some time.

“I played there twice when I was around 12 years old.” Alvarez said.

“I’ve never played softball there, but have played soccer on the neighboring field.” Englant said.

Both Englant and Alvarez will be excited to see old friends from home, but Long Beach State actually has a former Ohio Bobcat on their roster. Jamie Wren played for Ohio last season and the season prior, starting 67 games for the Bobcats. During her time playing for Ohio, Wren totaled 67 hits, 33 runs, and two home runs.

“We’re all excited to see her again and she’s doing really well right now,” Alvarez said. “I’m excited to rekindle the friendship.”

The softball team has plans for when they have some spare time to spend a dinner at the Alvarez household, something her parents have been hoping would happen for a long time.

“They’re excited, they have been wanting to host since my freshman year,” Alvarez said. “My mom is getting a taco man and there will be tents.”

This trip is the second last weekend series that Ohio will play before heading into MAC play when Bowling Green comes to town on March 22’nd. The Bobcats are adjusting new coaching staff looking to repeat as MAC champions, but that pressure hasn’t carried over to playing.

“I think the new coaches have made us feel loose and comfortable while playing and that shows with how lighthearted we are.” Englant said.