In the Locker Room With Melanie Budney, Kelsey Steiner, Emily King and Richelle Romanchik


Zach Harvey

Seniors Melanie Budney, Kelsey Steiner, Emily King and Richelle Romanchik

Sarah Orbuch, Sports Editor

This week, the Review sat down with senior softball teammembers Melanie Budney, Kelsey Steiner, Emily King and Richelle Romanchik to discuss water fights, crushing Kenyon College and a 10th inning walk-off spring break victory.

How was your annual spring break trip to Florida? 

Kesley Steiner: Break was awesome. I feel like we really came together as a team and found ourselves and our identity. The warm weather didn’t hurt either.

Melanie Budney: It was fantastic, as usual.

What are your expectations for the rest of the season? 

KS: We are an incredibly talented team, so if we come out ready to play our game the way we can, then we can beat any team we face.

MB: I definitely hope we get more wins, especially conference wins. I want us to really pull together as a team and find the balance between attacking hard on offense and staying tough on defense. We are a fighting team, but I think sometimes we get complacent when we have a lead, and then we lose our intensity a bit. I want us to fight our hardest from start to finish without letting up.

Do you have any team traditions in Florida? 

KS: We have a water battle with the coaches! During one of our runs, they drove by us with squirt guns, and then we sprinted to their house and hid there.

MB: This has happened ever since our coach’s first year here. It’s super intense — the coaches hid inside our house while we were trying to sneak into theirs, but we totally destroyed them in the end.

Is it difficult having such a small roster? 

KS: It has been hard because if one of us gets injured, it automatically puts the pressure on the rest of us, but we are kind of used to it. We have always had 11 people on the roster; at this point, we know what we need individually and as a team.

Richelle Romanchik: We are always ready for any position that we are put in.

MB: We are very versatile.

RR: At practice we always have to be ready to play multiple positions.

Who is your biggest rival? 

Emily King: Kenyon.

MB: Kenyon.

RR: Kenyon.

KS: Kenyon. They are just so similar to us in academics and athletics.

EK: When I pitch, I make a really loud pitching noise that sounds like ‘hut,’ and there were these guys my sophomore year [ from Kenyon] that thought it would be funny to say ‘pizza,’ ‘Jabba’ and ‘blue 42’ before I pitched. So it sounded like Pizza Hut, Jabba the Hut, blue 42 hut, which in retrospect is hilarious, but at the time, it was not funny.

What has been your favorite Oberlin softball moment? 

KS: We had a really awesome 10-inning game this spring break that we just battled the entire time, and it was really nice to connect with the rest of the team. We felt more like a cohesive, strong team in that moment than we probably ever had. It was really good to see.

MB: That was mine, too. We were playing in this giant stadium and we went into overtime, so there were, like, three teams watching us, and a huge crowd of people in the stadium. [Sophomore] Jenny Hill had the final hit that scored the final run, and that was a really incredible moment for everyone.

RR: Our original water battle over spring break my freshman year. We really fought even though we had no idea what we were doing. Athletically, my favorite moment was last year. The day after we played DePauw [University], we played this one team that we lost to in the first game, but we had this really intense game, and we only had 10 players, and every single player was playing hard. It was very much this battle, similar to the 10-inning game this year.

EK: The 10-inning game we had in Florida this year, because I was pitching that game, and it was probably the most people I had pitched in front of, and I thought, ‘Maybe this is what it feels like to play at a big school.’ Off the field, there are a lot of great moments. Spring break in general has always been great.

What are your hopes for the future of Oberlin softball? 

MB: I hope that, for one thing, it gets bigger; it will be a lot easier on everyone else. I hope that we maintain the camaraderie and intensity that we have this year and pass it down to future players and athletes here. I think what makes this team so great is how we get along so well. I would not want to stand out on that field with anyone else.

RR: I hope that, even if we cannot do it this year, that in future years, the team beats the four conference win, 12- win series that we had three years ago.

EK: I think that it would be great if we could build the program, and that people would think, ‘Oh Oberlin softball, they’re good.’

What is one word to describe OCSB? 

RR: Quirky.

MB: Spirited.

KS: Growing. We are still kind of growing into ourselves.

EK: Talented, because we are talented, but sometimes we just need a reminder.