The final week of the regular season proved to be both productive and costly for the Canal Winchester High School baseball team.
The Indians went 3-0, beating Reynoldsburg 7-6 on May 7 and defeating Liberty Union 5-4 in nine innings and Fairfield Union 2-1 in their MSL-Buckeye Division finale on May 11, to improve to 14-11 overall.
However, Canal Winchester lost two starters to what coach Jay Bartos believes are season-ending injuries, as third baseman Matt Cunningham suffered a sprained knee while sliding into second base against Reynoldsburg and first baseman Dalton McKee fractured his right index finger while batting against Liberty Union.
Cunningham had a team-high .406 batting average and McKee had a team-best 30 RBI through 25 games.
"This was a bittersweet week because we played some of our best baseball, but we lost two of our top players for the rest of the season," Bartos said. "Defensively, I think we can handle it, but Matt and Dalton are two of our best hitters and we'll miss their leadership."
Canal Winchester was seeded 27th of 41 teams in the Division I district tournament and faced 18th-seeded Lancaster in the first round May 13. The winner played 13th-seeded Hilliard Darby in the second round May 15.
The second-round winner plays 12th-seeded Pickerington Central or 34th-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at Olentangy. The semifinal winner likely will face top-seeded Pickerington North in a district final Wednesday, May 22, at Otterbein University.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman.
Canal Winchester rallied from a 6-2 deficit against Reynoldsburg, with pitcher Trevor Beerman earning the win.
Against Liberty Union, pitcher Chase Wymer got the win and catcher Max Baker scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning on an RBI single by first baseman Jerod Shirley.
Against Fairfield Union, Troy Fleming was the winning pitcher and Wymer drove in left fielder Jared Kotwis for what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the second inning.
The Indians finished 9-5 in the MSL-Buckeye, placing second to Bloom-Carroll (13-1).
"Our pitching has been very good and we played good defense against Reynoldsburg," Bartos said. "We got some timely hitting (last week) and that made a big difference."
Girls track team wins Viking Invitational
Even though its leading scorer, Joscelyn Powell, did not compete because of a foot injury, the girls track and field team won the 10-team Viking Invitational on May 11 at Teays Valley, scoring 118.5 points to finish ahead of runner-up Watkins Memorial (111) and third-place Reynoldsburg (89).
"We knew that Watkins Memorial and Reynoldsburg have some good athletes so we weren't sure if we could win this meet without Joscelyn, but the rest of our girls came through for us with several good performances," coach John Bender said.
Taylor Smith won both the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and long jump (15-3 1/2), Gretchen Rosch won the pole vault (10-6) and the 3,200-meter relay of Elizabeth Kifer, Cassidy Long, Chloe Palmer and Nicole Tennison finished first in 10 minutes, 37.54 seconds.
Rosch also teamed with Julia Blum, Ashley Mavis and Smith to place second in the 400 relay (53.26) and placed third in the 100 hurdles (16.9). Also placing second was the 800 relay of Blum, Mavis, Arena Paige and Smith (1:52.17).
"Taylor Smith had a big day, winning both of her individual events and anchoring both of our sprint relays to second-place finishes," Bender said. "Gretchen did quite well, too, continuing what has been an outstanding season."
The boys team finished second (104.5) in the 11-team Viking Invitational behind Watkins Memorial (207.5).
Trae Johnson won both the 110 hurdles (15.49) and 200 (22.6) and finished second in the long jump (19-2 1/2). Wyatt Gardner won the 3,200 (9:53.04) and Jermil Powell placed second in the high jump (6-2).
Both the boys and girls teams are competing this week in the MSL-Buckeye meet, which began May 14 and concludes Saturday, May 18, at Amanda-Clearcreek.
The Indians then will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet on Tuesday, May 21, Wednesday, May 22, and May 25 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advances to the regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.
"We wanted to avoid (the) Gahanna (girls team) because they are the top team in our district, but unfortunately they picked to compete in our district after we had already chose to go there," Bender said. "The rest of us will compete for second place behind them."
Softball team begins postseason play
Seeded 21st of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament, the softball team opened the postseason against 33rd-seeded Mount Vernon on May 14.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Gahanna or 40th-seeded Northland in the second round Thursday, May 16, on the home field of the higher seed. The second-round winner will face third-seeded Marysville, 25th-seeded Briggs or 32nd-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North.
The semifinal winner likely will face fifth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Canal Winchester went 3-1 last week, beating Hilliard Davidson 6-2 on May 7, losing to Ready 2-1 on May 9 and defeating Liberty Union 8-1 and Fairfield Union 6-3 in its MSL-Buckeye finale on May 11 to improve to 16-10 overall.
Against Davidson, Carly Favorito pitched a two-hitter and shortstop Kaleigh Whitlatch hit a solo home run. Favorito earned both wins May 11 and catcher Alyxis Moore hit a solo home run against Liberty Union.
The Indians finished 8-6 in the MSL-Buckeye.