Canal Winchester High School softball coach Randy Hinton predicted that his team would be competitive in the postseason in Division I this spring after competing in Division II in previous years.

Canal Winchester High School softball coach Randy Hinton predicted that his team would be competitive in the postseason in Division I this spring after competing in Division II in previous years.

His faith was rewarded as the Indians won three games in the district tournament before losing to third-seeded Pickerington Central 4-0 in a district final May 19 at Central to finish 18-11 overall.

"I always believed we could win games as a Division I team, and now we know we can win at any level," Hinton said. "You never really know for sure until you play games in the Division I tournament, so it was nice to be able to move up and win games right away at the next level."

Seeded 12th, the Indians opened the postseason by beating visiting Hilliard Darby 2-1 on May 8. They then defeated Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 in the second round on May 10 at home and upset sixth-seeded Marysville 5-0 in a district semifinal May 14 at Central before losing to Central.

Against Marysville, Alyxis Moore hit a solo home run in the top of the third inning and Kaleigh Whitlatch drove in a run with a single in the fourth before the Indians added three unearned runs in the inning as the result of a Marysville error.

"Our defense did a super job in our first three tournament games, with (senior) Morgan White making several great plays at shortstop and (senior pitcher) Lauren Arndt coming up with some key strikeouts at the right times," Hinton said.

The Indians won 12 of their first 15 games, beating Bloom-Carroll 1-0 on April 16 in a key MSL-Buckeye Division game as Arndt pitched a three-hitter.

But Canal Winchester lost to Bloom-Carroll 10-0 in five innings in its league finale on May 2, as it managed only two hits, committed four errors and allowed five unearned runs.

The loss cost the Indians the MSL-Buckeye championship. Bloom-Carroll finished first in the league at 13-1, one game ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (12-2).

"Beating Bloom-Carroll was the highlight of the regular season because it put us in the lead to win our league," Hinton said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to hold that lead."

The Indians lose two four-year starters in White and senior third baseman Angela Steube, along with a third-year starter in Arndt.

White batted .413 with 21 RBI and 17 runs scored was named second-team all-district and first-team all-league. Arndt went 18-11 with a 1.85 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 166 2/3 innings and was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league, and Steube batted .342 with 18 RBI and 17 runs and was second-team all-league.

Expected to return are six starters in juniors Hannah Barnhart (LF), Moore (C) and Whitlatch (2B) and freshmen Jenna Carlisle (RF), Taylor Griffin (1B) and Raven Hamilton (CF).

Whitlatch batted .391 with three home runs, 18 RBI and 25 runs and was named first-team all-league. Hamilton hit .282 with eight RBI and 18 runs and was second-team all-league.

Freshman Carly Saberito, who pitched the first two innings of each of the Indians' tournament games, is expected to replace Arndt next season.

"Our seniors were great leaders who set a real good example for the rest of the team," Hinton said. "But we have a lot of good players coming back, so our future looks good."

Baseball team 'played scared' at times

The baseball team finished 13-13 overall after losing at third-seeded Gahanna 4-2 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 9.

Canal Winchester opened the tournament with a 14-1 win over visiting Northland in six innings May 8.

"At times we played scared because we had a lot of young guys on our team who were adjusting to playing varsity baseball for the first time," coach Jay Bartos said.

The Indians lost their first six games before beating Lancaster 7-3 on April 3. That was the first of four consecutive victories. They then lost three in a row before winning four of their next five and then lost two in a row before winning four of their last five regular-season games.

Among Canal Winchester's victories was a 6-4 win over Bloom-Carroll on May 2. The Indians finished second in the MSL-Buckeye at 9-5 behind champion Bloom-Carroll (13-1).

"Lancaster was big because it was our first win and we fought through it to beat (former Canal Winchester coach) Jason Vest," Bartos said. "We beat Bloom-Carroll on our senior night and that was a big deal because they swept us last year."

The Indians lose three senior starters in Chris Angle (3B/1B/P), John Sharp (CF/LF) and Nick Zaluski (P/SS).

Sharp batted .432 with 10 RBI and 33 runs and was named first-team all-league and second-team all district.

The Indians expect to return nine players who were regular starters or saw significant playing time in juniors Matthew Cunningham (LF/P), Kevin Ilich (2B/SS), Zach Kiser (LF), Josh Miller (1B/P), Isaac Pifer (SS/RF), Colby Rapier (2B/SS) and Jerod Shirley (DH) and sophomores Max Baker (C) and Trevor Beerman (P/3B).

Ilich batted .432 with six triples, seven doubles, 18 RBI and 34 runs and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Shirley hit .394 with 25 RBI and 10 runs and was second-team all-league. Pifer batted .391 with 15 RBI and 14 runs.

"We'll have 12 seniors next year and most of them have a lot of experience playing baseball, so I feel good about our future," Bartos said. "Our experience level should be the difference between how we did this year and how we do next year."

Smith wins regional title in high jump

The boys and girls track and field teams competed in the Division I regional meet May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.

Competing at regional for the girls team were Kayla Scott in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, Jocselyn Powell in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 100 and 200, Taylor Smith in the high jump and long jump, Gretchen Rosch and Rachel Muller in the pole vault and the 800 relay of Fleetwood Carter, Arena Paige, Ashley Mavis and Smith.

Qualifying for state on May 23 was Smith in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches, first).

Competing for the boys team were Tyler Jenkins in the pole vault, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Antonio Whitfield in the long jump, 100 and 200, Jarrod Genther in the 1,600, Bryn Campbell in the discus, Sam Decker in the 300 hurdles and the 1,600 relay of Jenkins, Whitfield, Decker and Jaquan Ransome.

Qualifying for state on May 23 were Campbell in the discus (164-6, second), Whitfield in the long jump (22-1 3/4, third) and Jenkins in the pole vault (14-8, fourth).