‘Winning is fun’ — nationally-ranked RedHawks take momentum into MAC Tournament

OXFORD — Things are going well for the Miami softball team, there’s no doubt. And the first to admit that are Addy Jarvis and Madilyn Reeves.

It’s been easy to perform inside the pitcher’s circle when you’re backed by the best offense in the nation.

“Very reassuring to know that there are games where we put up five runs in the first inning,” said Reeves, who received MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors and has 20 wins. “… It’s always the easiest to pitch with a lead. I think it’s settling to know that you have five runs of cushion in the very first inning, and it goes like that for a lot of the games.”

“The goal for us is to keep us in every single game,” added Jarvis, a sixth-year transfer from Illinois who is 16-1 and hasn’t suffered a loss since March 1 at No. 2 Oklahoma. “We know that eventually our hitting is going to turn on. There’s been games where we’ve started behind, but if we hold a team to two or three runs, we should win the game.”

The RedHawks have won a lot of games.

They finished the regular season 45-7— the best single-season record in program history — and are winners of 32 of their last 33. Miami completed its Mid-American Conference schedule 26-1, which is the best single-season conference winning percentage (.962) in MAC history.

The result?

The RedHawks are ranked No. 21 according to Softball America and No. 24 in this week’s ESPN poll. Miami had never been nationally ranked until this season.

The RedHawks feature the nation’s top offense (9.37 runs/game), having scored at least 10 runs 25 different times this year. Miami leads the nation in home runs (154) and slugging percentage (.757) and is third nationally in batting average (.361) and second in on-base percentage (.461).

“I was not quite used to that,” Jarvis said. “I’m not going to lie. These are video game numbers. You don’t see that ever. We’re breaking history left and right.

“It’s something I honestly had to adjust to,” Jarvis added. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we score so many runs every game.’ Learning how to play that relaxed, it’s not always the same dire situation because you know they’re going to score runs. You know they’re going to produce. That’s a whole different mentality.”

Top-seeded Miami rode that momentum into Thursday’s MAC Tournament opener against No. 4 Toledo in Akron.

“I just think they’re having fun and doing what they want to do,” RedHawks fourth-year coach Kirin Kumar said. “On top of that, winning is fun, and they’re continuing to do that. They never get down on themselves. So, it doesn’t matter if there’s an error or a run, they have each other’s backs.

“It’s one of those things that the joy they have for each other and celebrating each other makes it really, really easy for them.”

Karli Spaid was named MAC Player of the Year after recording a .421 batting average, to go along with 34 home runs and 73 RBI. This is the second-straight year Miami has captured the MAC POY award after Jenna Golembiewski did the same back in 2023.

Spaid and Golembiewski were named USA Softball Finalists for National Player of the Year. The award will be pared down to 10 finalists on May 15 and a top-3 on May 20. The winner will be announced during the College World Series.

“Being No. 1 and 2 in several categories in the nation with the schedule that we’ve played,” Kumar said, “is something that I don’t know anyone could foresee.

“It’s been the same as it has been all year — having fun and playing and doing what they need to do. We’re not treating this any different than what we have been all season.”

The RedHawks have not lost a MAC Tournament game since 2019 and is a perfect 6-0 under Kumar. They established a new Miami and MAC record with 23 straight wins from March 9 through April 21.

“They’re just playing their game,” said Kumar, who was named MAC Coach of the Year. “If they’re playing their game, it’s hard for anybody to beat us. It doesn’t matter what team. I just don’t think they treat it any differently than anything else.”

Miami was a perfect 15-0 at home this season. The RedHawks were joined by Virginia Tech as the only two programs this season to go undefeated at home.

»»Eight different RedHawks earned First Team All-MAC in 2024: Holly Blaska, Reagan Bartholomew, Karli Spaid, Jenna Golembiewski, Addy Jarvis, Kate Kobayashi, Hadley Parisien, Sami Bewick. ... Sami Bewick earned MAC Freshman Player of the Year.

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