Canal Winchester High School softball coach Randy Hinton believes his players initially were intimidated when they faced pitcher Taran Alvelo on April 5 in a 6-4 loss at defending MSL-Buckeye Division champion Bloom-Carroll.
The Indians didn't produce a baserunner against the all-state pitcher through the first five innings before erupting for seven hits and four runs over the final two innings. The game ended with Canal Winchester leaving runners stranded on second and third base.
Hinton would like to see his players get their bats going sooner against Alvelo when the Indians play host to Bloom-Carroll on Monday, April 22, in the rematch.
"Taran's a great pitcher, but our girls should know that they can hit and score against her now," Hinton said. "Once we started hitting against her, our girls gained confidence and relaxed some at the plate. A lot of it comes down to knowing you can do it instead of going to the plate thinking you're going to strike out. I want to see our girls bat with a confident attitude."
The Indians also gained some confidence when they rallied to defeat visiting Logan Elm 5-4 in a league game April 8. They trailed 4-3 before scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Shortstop Kaleigh Whitlatch and center fielder Raven Hamilton opened the inning with back-to-back singles and later scored on a single by catcher Alyxis Moore.
The teams will meet again in a league game Wednesday, April 24, at Logan Elm.
"Beating Logan Elm the way we did gave us a big mental lift," Hinton said. "We really wanted to avoid falling to 0-2 in our league, and you could just feel the excitement run through our team when we came back to win in our last at-bat."
Canal Winchester continued to receive solid pitching from Carly Favorito last week while going 3-0 in league games. In addition to Logan Elm, the Indians defeated Amanda-Clearcreek 14-0 in five innings on April 10 and Circleville 6-2 on April 12.
Against Amanda-Clearcreek, Favorito had 13 strikeouts and Moore hit a two-run home run.
The offensive leaders for the Indians through seven games were first baseman Taylor Griffin (.522 batting average, 4 doubles, 4 RBI), Hamilton (.462, 3 RBI), second baseman Paige Hughes (.421), third baseman Bailee Faulkner (.391, 3 doubles, 4 RBI), second baseman Callie Caswell (.392, 4 RBI, 6 runs), Whitlatch (.381, 4 RBI, 9 runs, 4 stolen bases) and Moore (.348, home run, 7 RBI).
In the circle, Favorito was 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA.
"Carly's doing well in the circle," Hinton said. "She pitched all but two innings of our (three) games last week and allowed only one Amanda-Clearcreek baserunner. We'll need Carly to throw well for us to have a chance to beat Bloom-Carroll."
Injuries impacting track teams
The boys track and field team scored 22 points to finish ninth in the 15-team Stingel Invitational April 13, behind champion and host Pickerington North (146.5).
"This team is a lot younger than the one we had last year and we're scoring (fewer) points at meets this year, but the kids are doing a great job of working hard and they're getting better," boys coach Kurtis Robinson said.
Jermil Powell turned in the highest finish for the Indians, placing second in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches). The 400-meter relay of Willy Totten, Luke Laguio, Edosa Omoruyi and Noah Ising placed fourth (46.06 seconds), with Wyatt Gardner placing fifth in the 3,200 (10:13.13) and teaming with Ising, Robert Moore and Jason Appel to finish sixth in the distance medley relay (11:56.28).
"We're a little banged up right now and some of our athletes aren't doing as well as they will later," Robinson said. "Jermil is dealing with a hamstring injury so he competed in only one event, but he did very well in the high jump. We ran well in the distance races, too."
The girls team finished 11th (32.5) of 14 teams in the Stingel Invitational, behind champion Gahanna (133).
The Indians had two first-place finishes, with Gretchen Rosch winning the pole vault (10-0) and Taylor Smith winning the high jump (5-0). Joelle Zuberi finished fifth in the 3,200 (12:20.85).
"We're still suffering from injuries and almost all of them are not track-related," girls coach John Bender said. "We have eight girls injured right now, but we hope to get them back soon."
Canal Winchester will compete in the Hank Smith Invitational on Saturday, April 20, at Heath.
Last season, the girls team finished first of 12 teams in the event, ahead of runner-up Big Walnut (109.5), and the boys squad tied Newark for 10th (24.5) of 14 teams, behind champion Granville (119.5).
"We're not trying to score as many points as we can at meets right now," Robinson said. "My philosophy is to develop our kids and put them in different events to try to find diamonds in the rough so we can start to peak (in the MSL-Buckeye) meet in May."