The Bexley High School baseball team posted a regular-season record of 19-6, which included a 13-game winning streak, and captured its first league title since 1999.
Now the Lions are looking for more.
Seeded third in the Division II district tournament, Bexley opens the postseason Thursday, May 15, at home against 12th-seeded Granville or 13th-seeded Heath in a second-round game.
"This league title is a byproduct of the goal we have of trying to get to a district final. We never spoke about the league championship and there is zero celebration within our team," said coach Tom Marker, whose team tied Columbus Academy for first in the MSL-Ohio Division at 12-2. "If we stick to our identity and do the things we need to do, we'll be where we want to be.
"The most important part of any season is to become battle tested and get prepared for the tournament. From this point forward, it's a 'survive and advance' mindset. Our goal is to be playing in a district championship (game) with a chance to advance. We need to take care of business Thursday first."
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal Tuesday, May 20, at Worthington Kilbourne against fifth-seeded Licking Valley, ninth-seeded DeSales, 22nd-seeded Eastmoor Academy or 25th-seeded Beechcroft. The district final is May 22 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
Bexley beat Granville 14-9 on May 3 and lost to DeSales 10-5 on April 12.
The Lions dropped two of their last three regular-season games, 12-2 at St. Charles on May 8 and 2-1 at Defiance on May 10. They also beat Bryan 6-3 on May 10 at Defiance.
"When we got beat by St. Charles, I think the kids bounced back real well against Bryan and Defiance," Marker said. "The goal of the trip was to challenge ourselves against some quality opponents and hopefully reveal some flaws that we have. We saw some of those things and we'll look to clean them up ... leading up to the tournament."
Senior Marshall Drewry is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA and junior left-hander Josh Shapiro is 3-3 with one save, a 3.16 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. Shapiro also is hitting .338 with a team-leading 20 RBI.
Junior Drew Elliott is 5-1 with a 1.63 ERA, and freshman Tommy Bruning is 5-0 and has not had a run score against him in 32 innings.
"Tommy Bruning has logged some good innings for us," Marker said. "Tommy has had the luxury of getting ample rest between starts and he hasn't had to go against any perennial powerhouses.
"With that being said, going 32 innings and not giving up a run is pretty phenomenal."
Junior Ethan Bredemeier is hitting .347 with 14 RBI, and senior Tate Hughes is batting .342 with 13 RBI. Senior Alex Eikenberry is leading the team with a .349 average to go with 18 RBI.
"This group of seniors has been through a lot. They don't want to be in the district semis for a fourth straight year and not get it done," Marker said.
Girls lacrosse team wins 1st league title
It's easy to understand why girls lacrosse coach Gillian Thomson was happy with her team entering the Division II South/Central Region tournament.
The Lions took a six-game winning streak into the postseason. They were 12-3 overall and also won a share of their first Central Independent League title at 6-1.
The Lions opened postseason play May 12 against Chillicothe, with the winner playing host to Cincinnati McAuley or Cincinnati Wyoming in the second round Thursday, May 15. That winner advances to a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 20, against DeSales, Hartley or Watterson.
Bexley lost to DeSales 9-6 on April 8, but defeated Watterson 8-6 on April 15 and Hartley 17-8 on May 1.
"We've had a strong finish to the regular season. It was really exciting to grab a share of first place in the Central Independent League with DeSales and (Columbus Academy)," Thomson said. "We've been second to (Academy) the past two years and there are a lot of strong teams in our league, so we're really proud of that accomplishment."
The Lions' offense has been powered by senior midfielders Samantha Bolon and Sarah Dawley. During the regular season, Bolon (59) and Dawley (53) combined for 112 of Bexley's 201 goals.
Only one opponent had scored in double digits. That came April 24 in a 10-9 overtime loss to Olentangy.
"Our defense has done really well against a lot of different offenses," Thomson said. "Senior captain Emma Crane anchors our defense -- she sees everything really well, plays great individual defense and keeps everyone organized and calm.
"Our goalie, Mimi Nahem, continues to come up with so many great saves and is showing great poise under pressure."
Boys tennis team advances in OTCA
The boys tennis team defeated Marion Pleasant 5-0 in a Division II Central/Southeast district match of the OTCA team tournament May 5.
The Lions were 8-9 overall before facing Wellington in a district semifinal May 12.
Bexley also will compete in a Division II sectional Thursday, May 15, and Saturday, May 17, at Columbus School for Girls.
In singles, sophomore Cody Rawlings will face David Schuring of Pleasant in the opening round, sophomore T.J. Phelps will play Peter Jon Showalter of Shekinah Christian or Greg Norwood-Yost of Eastmoor and junior Gauthier Knox-Kelly will play Worthington Christian's Chris Tsibouris.
In doubles, senior Max Knox-Kelly and sophomore Shia Saar are seeded second and seniors Ethan Goodstein and Logan Wilhelm are seeded fourth. Both teams have a first-round bye.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 23 and 24 at Columbus Academy.
Boys lacrosse team ends six-game slide
The boys lacrosse team snapped a six-game losing streak with a 12-2 win over Gahanna on May 9.
The Lions improved to 3-9 before facing St. Charles on May 13. They close the regular season Friday, May 16, at home against Columbus Academy.
Against Gahanna, junior midfielder Taylor Farthing had four goals and senior attacker Cole Keny and junior attacker Colby Nebel each had two. Freshman goalie Zach Welsh had nine saves.
Softball team finishes second in MSL-Ohio
The softball team finished the regular season 18-5 overall and second in the MSL-Ohio at 9-3.
Senior pitcher Katy Watson went 17-5 in the regular season.
Seeded third in the Division III district tournament, the Lions opened against seventh-seeded Northridge in the second round May 14. The winner advanced to a district semifinal Monday, May 19, at Pickerington Central against fourth-seeded North Union, 15th-seeded Centerburg or 16th-seeded Fredericktown.
The district final will be played at Pickerington Central on a date to be determined.
Track teams compete at Circleville
The boys track and field team placed second and the girls team finished sixth in the eight-team Circleville Invitational on May 9.
Senior Ian Kellogg won the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 27.2 seconds) and junior Andre Stewart placed first in the 300 hurdles (41.8). The 800 relay also finished first (1:33.4) for Bexley, which scored 117 points as Thornville Sheridan won with 169.
For the girls, senior Lissy Schmidt won the 400 (1:03), sophomore Tyler Mansfield took first in the 200 (27.8) and the 1,600 relay also placed first (4:20.8).
Circleville won with 126.5 points and Bexley scored 75.
The MSL-Ohio meet began May 13 and concludes Friday, May 16, at Whitehall.
The Lions then compete in Division II district meets Tuesday, May 20, Wednesday, May 21, and May 24 at Heath. There is one district meet for the girls and the boys team competes in district 1.