Courtesy of the OSU Athletic Deaprtment
What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, almost 2,500 miles away in Eugene, Ore., Ohio State senior pitcher Mikayla Endicott and her teammates on the Oregon softball team were preparing for their second straight trip to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Endicott, a native of Roseburg, Ore., was in her third year with the Ducks. After appearing in 41 games as a freshman and sophomore, she made only 16 appearances last season and had become impatient with the lack of opportunities the new coaching staff afforded to her.
“Things weren’t really going in my favor,” Endicott said. “I really wanted the opportunity to play. They brought a new coaching staff in and they kinda were set in their ways, didn’t really give me any opportunities. I felt like it would be better to explore my options.”
OSU coach Linda Kalafatis said her coaching staff was on the road recruiting last June when they heard about Endicott’s situation. The Buckeyes had an open place on their roster going into the 2012 season and were looking for an upperclassman who wasn’t getting the amount of playing time she wanted. Kalafatis said they found that in Endicott.
“Mikayla wasn’t getting the time that she had been getting, that she had gotten her freshman year,” Kalafatis said. “There was a coaching change there and a different philosophy. We talked to her and it seemed like what we needed, she needed.”
Endicott visited OSU last summer after talking to Kalafatis about the opportunity to become a Buckeye. She said multiple things made her feel like it was the right place for her.
“I came out here and I liked all the girls that I met,” Endicott said. “I liked campus and I thought that it would be a good fit for me and something good to try. It’s been great so far.”
In her first and only season as a Buckeye, Endicott has seen an increase in playing time compared to previous years. She has appeared in 34 games and posted a 16-11 record with a 2.68 ERA. Her strikeout to walk ratio is nearly 4-to-1 in more than 167 innings of work.
Kalafatis said the addition of Endicott to this year’s team cannot be overstated. The coach said her experiences have made her an effective pitcher in the circle, but have also helped her mentor a group of much younger pitchers.
“Our entire pitching staff except for Mikayla are freshmen and sophomores, so we’re very, very young there,” Kalafatis said. “She played in the Pac-10 so she’s seen some of the best hitters in the game and some of the best teams in the game. There’s no doubt she’s been a key part of our season.”
Senior shortstop Alicia Herron made it clear Endicott has played a major role in the increased success of the team this year and said she is the caliber of player the team was missing at times last season.
“She is great. She’s brought a new life to us that we needed,” Herron said. “We needed some help last year, and this year she’s come through with plenty of wins and she’s really good. We support her 100 percent.”
Endicott said her experience as a Buckeye has been positive. She is happy she chose OSU and received another chance to perform at the level she knew she was capable of.
“It’s been good. It’s a good little Buckeye family,” Endicott said. “I’ve had a lot of fun and … I’m really blessed to have the opportunity to come out here and get another chance.”