For Cammi Prantl of the Ohio State softball team, being a part of the Buckeye community is the most important thing. The senior catcher and outfielder grew up in Ashville, Ohio, a small village about 30 minutes south of OSU’s campus. For her, community remains close to her heart.
“Representing Ohio is the most important thing to me. That’s why I stayed close to home,” she said. “To be close to my school and my community, and it all adds to the great team aspect here.”
Over the past three seasons, Prantl has risen to nearly every occasion, starting all 163 games she has played in. With an overall .336 batting average and 44 career doubles, she is looking to play her final year without losing her competitive edge.
Her coaches and teammates expect nothing less.
“She’s going to continue what she’s been doing, if not better,” OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said. “She’s been one of the most consistent kids we’ve had in the program.”
Consistent, yes, because Prantl has never hit below .325 in a season and has contributed 100 total RBIs across her three campaigns in scarlet and gray.
She said her goals for her final collegiate season are to cap off her career with All-American or All-Region honors and for her team to win the Big Ten championship.
Because of those large aspirations, her teammates are not worried that Prantl will lose her edge as a competitor.
“I think the main thing that Cammi has taught me is to compete,” redshirt senior middle infielder Maddy McIntyre said. “Competing is something that comes so natural to her, and Cammi brings it every time. It’s great to be around a teammate who’s willing to do that.”
Schoenly described Prantl as a “small little thing” when she came into the program, but that only made her more of a star with players from around the area. Prantl, who gives hitting lessons locally, has become somewhat of a celebrity and role model for girls who hope to one day play for the Buckeyes.
Pitcher Morgan Ray falls into that category of those looking up to Prantl, as the freshman has been putting her trust in the senior catcher.
“I trust Cammi with all my heart. She pushes me every time and doesn’t let me get away with a bad pitch,” Ray said.
After this season, Prantl leaves behind a big presence to fill. Schoenly said she wants the younger players to develop the same competitive edge and fire that the senior has given to the team.
“I don’t think I could ever ask someone to replace her,” Schoenly said. “I really don’t want her to graduate.”
For many athletes, a senior season is a victory lap, but not for Prantl, who is looking to either work in the pharmaceutical industry or go to culinary school.
“Definitely bittersweet,” she said when asked about her final season at OSU. “But I think I’m more excited than sad to see it end because it’s just been such a great journey here.”
Wherever Prantl’s future takes her, her heart, along with her biggest fans, will always be in central Ohio.
“She’s like the ultimate competitor,” Schoenly said. “She wants to be the best.”
Prantl’s final season with the OSU softball team is set to begin with a pair of doubleheaders in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Feb. 12 and 13.