Morgan Ray impressive in junior season at Ohio State
It's been three years now since Frenchtown's Morgan ray was racking up state titles and Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Montana but the ace still racking up the strikeouts.
The Ohio State softball team posted 36 wins this spring, the most for the program in eight years. However an upset loss against Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten tournament followed by a pair of losses to Florida in the NCAA Regionals round stopped their season short of the team's College World Series goals.
"Previous years we've been at a 12-seed or a little bit of an easier bracket," said Ray. "So that was frustrating and we felt like we were pretty good this year but just didn't play to our potential and that was a little bit of a bummer."
This spring Ray posted a record of 18-7, with those 18 victories ranking fifth best in the Big Ten conference. Her ERA of 2.58 was actually up from her sophomore campaign (2.35) but still ranked 7th in the league. And Ray's stuff was as tough to hit as anyone as her opponents batted just .197 against her on the year, the third best result in the conference this season.
Despite the impressive numbers, Ray was battling injury much of the year and says an improvement in her mental game will help her pitch even better as a senior.
"I hurt my neck around the fifth week of the season. That was kind of a major setback for me and I was battling that the whole rest of the season. So that was frustrating."
"It was nice to be able to take on more of a role but it was also more stressful and there's a lot more pressure on your back so I think that's kind of where I struggled this year. I'm going to keep up what I've been doing the last few years physically and I'm going to work a lot more on my mental game this year."
Ray has now appeared in 90 games for the grey and scarlet. The Treasure State product says being a Buckeye has been an incredible experience facing the top competition in the country.
"I definitely am excited to be able to see that I am from Montana. The teams that are making it to the World Series, we played them throughout the year. I think overall I'm really excited with my choice and I'm glad that I decided to come here. I wouldn't change anything."
Next season Ray will be the oldest and most experienced pitcher on the roster for Ohio State.