Courtesy of OSU athletic department
Cammi Prantl has never been one to shy away from the bright lights.
Starting in all 35 games this season for Ohio State’s softball team (21-14, 3-6), the freshman left fielder is batting .356, second highest on the team, and has moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Buckeyes’ batting lineup after beginning the season at No. 9.
“This is something I’ve wanted since I was, like, 13 or 14,” Prantl said. “I wanted to come in as a freshman and start and be Big Ten Freshman of the Week and Player of the Year and stuff.”
Coming out of Teays Valley High School in Ashville, Ohio, the 5-foot-8 player always knew she wanted to be a Buckeye.
“When I was really young, I used to come watch Dee Dee (Hillman, OSU player from 2008-11) play, and she always had people coming to watch her because her hometown (Defiance, Ohio) was so close,” Prantl said. “I live only 20 minutes away, and I really wanted that hometown feel, too.”
Prantl was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on March 18 for her efforts during the latter half of OSU’s seven game spring break trip in Maryland and Virginia. Helping the Buckeyes to a 6-1 record for the week, Prantl hit .560 (14-for-25) with eight runs scored and five RBI.
“I was really honored, because I never even dreamed (being named ‘Freshman of the Week’) would happen to me,” Prantl said. “My parents were really proud, and it was nice to hear all the support from the team and the coaches and my family.”
The OSU coaching staff took notice of Prantl’s acumen with the bat at the start of winter practice. In an effort to build her confidence, they started her at the bottom of the order, at No. 9. She then worked her way up to No. 7, then No. 5 and now she sits at No. 2, behind OSU’s leading hitter, sophomore outfielder Taylor Watkins.
Coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said she couldn’t ignore Prantl’s natural hitting capabilities.
“I think Cammi’s a great addition to the lineup,” Schoenly said. “We started her off in the nine-hole, and she hit, like, .300 down there … so she moved up behind Taylor, which is a huge spot to fill, but she’s worked her way in. She’s got speed and power and she can bunt, slap and hit, which is really rare.”
Prantl said she came onto the team just focused on being herself, hoping it was enough to have her new teammates accept her.
“Cammi came in really strong,” said senior outfielder Alyson Mott.
“She’s a really strong player and a native Ohioan and I know she wants to play as hard as she can for the team,” she said.
Schoenly said with all of Prantl’s success, the sky’s the limit.
“Right now, we’re just pushing her to challenge herself defensively,” Schoenly said. “We don’t really talk about ceilings. We want all the kids to reach their full potential.”
Prantl has goals that speak to her potential: winning a Big Ten championship and national championship, as well as becoming an All-American or Big Ten Player of the Year, are on her list of things to achieve.
And while she does want to accomplish these goals for herself and her teammates, she has some extra incentives pushing her.
“If I get Academic All-American or even All-American, my dad said he’d buy me a new car,” Prantl said, laughing. “So I’m still working toward that.”
OSU is scheduled to take on Ohio University Tuesday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Athens, Ohio.