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Softball: Kerry Coombs served as inspiration before Ohio State’s win over Michigan

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OSU cornerbacks and special teams coach Kerry Coombs talks to the media on March 30 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. Credit: OSU cornerbacks and special teams coach Kerry Coombs talks to the media on March 30 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. Credit: Nicholas McWilliams | Sports Editor

Ohio State softball coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly wanted her team to be extra motivated ahead of last weekend’s matchup with archrival Michigan. So she called in some help from the football team, asking cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs to speak to her team.

Coombs visited the team on Friday afternoon and delivered a fiery motivational speech that energized the team immediately, Kovach Schoenly said.

“I’m so grateful to him because our girls hear the same thing over and over from me, so to hear it from someone who understands the tradition, somebody who’s all about it … they literally were ready to run through walls,” Kovach Schoenly said

Coombs’ message was simple: Winners win, losers lose. He spoke about persevering and not giving up until the battle is won.

The players took the speech to heart, leaving the room even more energized for the big series than they were before, sophomore outfielder Bri Betschel said.

“When we walked out of that room we were like ‘can we just play right now?’” Betschel said.

The Buckeyes thanked Coombs for taking time out of his day the best way they could — by beating Michigan.

OSU fell in the first two games of the weekend series but bounced back on Sunday, defeating the Wolverines 5-0 thanks to a 10-strikeout, complete-game shutout from junior pitcher Shelby McCombs and two home runs which came against Michigan’s Megan Betsa, one of the nation’s top pitchers.

The win snapped OSU’s 21-game losing streak to Michigan, which dated back to April 28, 2010.

“To be able to pull off a win against that team,” Betschel said, “It’s just indescribable.”

It wasn’t just a win for the softball team, but the entire Buckeye community, Kovach Schoenly said. She was especially thankful to Coombs for visiting, and happy to share the win with him.

“It was really fun to have him and embrace the whole Ohio State athletic community,” Kovach Schoenly said. “He was just our biggest fan.”

With a 23-9 record, the Buckeyes are off to their best start since the 2009 season.

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