Groveport Madison High School baseball coach Dick Noble likes the progress his team has made even though it has a losing record.
The Cruisers were 8-14 overall and 0-12 in the OCC-Ohio Division before closing the regular season with a home-and-home series against Reynoldsburg on May 6 and 8.
"We've only been run-ruled twice all season and we play in a very good OCC division in baseball," Noble said. "The boys have been improving throughout the season and they're still working hard to improve. We're not ready for the season to end just yet."
The Cruisers are seeded 35th for the Division I district tournament and will play May 13 at 25th-seeded New Albany in the first round. The winner plays at eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty on May 15.
Groveport swept a doubleheader against Westland on May 4, winning 10-0 in five innings in the first game and 9-3 in the second game.
In the first game, Jake Seipel threw a one-hitter, second baseman Cody Snyder went 2-for-3 with four RBI and first baseman Isaac England went 2-for-4. In the second game, Wes Fering allowed three hits in four-plus innings for his first varsity win, and third baseman Tommy O'Diam went 2-for-3 and Snyder and shortstop Jordan Spurling both went 2-for-4 with a double.
"Jake Seipel gets a lot of groundballs and we're getting at least one double play per game, especially when he's on the mound," Noble said. "He's keeping us in the games and our defense has been stellar. The trouble we're running into is that we're losing games in the sixth and seventh innings when he tires out some.
"Our staff, as a whole, has struggled to throw strikes and we don't have any seniors on the staff, so we can leave (Seipel) in when he tires or bring someone in and hope they can throw strikes. The rest of the staff is basically just learning the ropes. We've got a freshman, Collin Bobo, who isn't doing bad, but he's just learning to pitch at the varsity level."
Through 19 games, outfielder Logan Mavromatis had a team-high .378 batting average. Spurling was hitting .375 and England was batting .351.
"Logan is having a very good season, but we expected that from him in his senior year," Noble said. "He bats second and Isaac bats third. Isaac is a vocal leader and very captain-like for a junior. He's 6-foot-4 and a big target at first base. Plus, he scoops (throws) well."
Noble believes Spurling has the potential to play at the college level.
"He has a great arm, but our defense weakens when he goes to the mound," Noble said. "He's such a good, coachable kid. He listens very well and absorbs everything. He's hitting .375 as a sophomore and he's just scratching the surface."
Softball team falls in crucial OCC games
A recent stretch in which the softball team lost three of four OCC-Ohio contests hurts its quest for the OCC-Ohio championship.
Groveport fell to Grove City 1-0 on April 26 and lost to Gahanna 8-6 in eight innings on April 30.
Then, after beating Newark 9-0 on May 1, the Cruisers lost to Pickerington Central 10-3 on May 2.
Groveport was 12-8 overall and 7-4 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Pickerington Central on May 6 and Reynoldsburg on May 8. It concludes the regular season Thursday, May 9, at home against Lancaster.
"I still feel like we were right there," coach Steve Cunningham said. "We beat Gahanna (3-0 on April 8) and took them to eight innings and our only real ugly loss was to Grove City (16-7 on April 10) in the first round (of league play). But we came back to give (Grove City) a great game the second time, so I believe we're as good as anybody in this league when we play to our potential.
"That's why I'm excited for the (Division I district) tournament. The OCC-Ohio is a very strong conference and we've played very well after losing our first two games of the season. Our overall record may not get us a high seed, but I think we can go out there and beat anybody when we're playing well."
The Cruisers are seeded 13th for the tournament and will play host to 37th-seeded Watkins Memorial on May 14.
In the loss to Gahanna, the Cruisers rallied to score two runs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 6. Pitcher Emily Downing hit a solo home run and third baseman Amy Castle singled, moved to second on a bunt, went to third on a sacrifice fly to center field and scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
However, Gahanna's Brittany Oldaker hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth.
"I think these girls showed their character with back-to-back games like that during a difficult time for us," Cunningham said, referring to the losses to Grove City on April 26 and Gahanna on April 30. "The visiting hours for (longtime assistant coach) Kristine Ensign (who died April 21 after a three-year bout with cancer) were the day before the Grove City game. Then we took the weekend off because the funeral was in Toledo. We were rained out on (April 29) and came back against Gahanna.
"To fight back and tie it like we did, only to leave that game deflated and be two games out of first place, hurts. But it showed what these girls are all about."
Boys tennis team set for OCC tourney
The boys tennis team closes the regular season Thursday, May 9, at Fisher Catholic before competing in the OCC-Ohio tournament Saturday, May 11, at Reynoldsburg.
The Cruisers, who won four consecutive matches between April 18 and April 29, were 5-8 overall and 1-5 in the league before playing Reynoldsburg on May 7.
After losing its first five matches, Groveport defeated Hamilton Township 4-1 on April 18, Madison Christian 3-2 on April 22, Newark 3-2 in an OCC-Ohio match April 23 and Westland 3-2 on April 29.
In between league losses to Pickerington North (5-0 on April 30) and Pickerington Central (5-0 on May 2), the Cruisers beat Hartley 4-1 on May 1.