The Briggs High School baseball team took a step forward in its hopes of recapturing the City League-South Division championship it lost a year ago when it beat defending champion West 14-3 on April 23.


The Briggs High School baseball team took a step forward in its hopes of recapturing the City League-South Division championship it lost a year ago when it beat defending champion West 14-3 on April 23.

Considering how well the Bruins also have played against non-league opponents, coach Brock Mullins believes his team should have reasons to be confident as it continues the second round of league play.

"We just don't stop fighting," Mullins said. "We fought back two times (last week) to win games in the seventh inning. These kids don't give up."

The Bruins, who scored four times in the seventh to edge Independence 7-6 on April 21 and then beat non-league Westland 5-4 with a game-winning run in the seventh the next day, were runners-up at the Westside Classic last Saturday at Ready.

Briggs opened the tournament with a 13-1 win over Franklin Heights but committed four errors in a 9-5 loss to Ready in the final. The Bruins trailed 9-2 and scored three times in the sixth.

Briggs was 12-5 overall and7-0 in the City-South before facing Walnut Ridge last Wednesday.

The 76ers beat the Cowboys8-2 on April 9 and were 6-1 in the league before facing West again last Wednesday. West was 5-2 in the league heading into that matchup.

Against Ready, Raphael Jackson had a two-run single and Nick Howard had an RBI-single. Other key players for the Bruins have included Tim Knezovich, who bats third and plays first base, and Justin Lay, who is the No. 1 pitcher and bats fourth.

"Right now we're the team to beat (in the City-South) and I feel very confident in how we're playing," Mullins said. "Everybody is gunning for us. We're still sort of a young team and have a couple young infielders. They're still learning the game a little bit."

•RED DEVIL RELAYS -- The Red Devil Relays will be Wednesday at Marion-Franklin, with field events beginning at 3:30 p.m. and running events beginning at 4:30 p.m., according to boys coach Bill Eagle.

The Independence boys team (96 points) and the Gahanna girls team (105) were champions a year ago, and both are expected to return. Other City programs likely to be in attendance include Africentric, Beechcroft, Centennial, Eastmoor, Mifflin, South, Walnut Ridge and Whetstone.

Hartley and St. Charles also are expected to compete.

The City championships will be May 12 and 14 at Eastmoor.

"It's mostly a relay event, but we've added a couple open events," Eagle said. "Last year we added the (800 meters and 1,600), and this year we're not going to have the 1,600 but we'll have the open 800 and open 100. I wanted to see it change into more of a relay format last year but people have said they think it's good to see who some of the top people in the 100 are going to be. We just didn't want to have a City meet before the City meet."

In addition to the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 relays and the two open events, the meet will include the shuttle hurdles, the 800 sprint medley, the distance medley and relays in the shot put, discus, long jump and high jump.

After watching his team take fourth (49.5) also behind St. Charles (67.5) and West (51) at the meet last year, Eagle believes the Red Devils are improved.

Seniors Travonn Moore and Paris Turner and juniors Tyrell Massey and Earnest Lunsford give the team a deep sprint corps. Sophomore Verlon Reed has cleared 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump.

"All of those guys are football players except for Paris and most of them are doing it to stay in shape for football," Eagle said. "I think our team stands a shot at being close to the top."

•TENNIS NOTES -- The City League Coaches Tournament will be Monday and Wednesday at Whetstone Park of Roses and Westgate Park.

East senior Derrick Martin is back to defend his championship after beating his cousin, Centennial's Will Loudermilk, 6-4, 6-4 for the title last year. Loudermilk, a sophomore, will compete for the Stars in the Division I district tournament but has not been allowed to play because of an off-the-court incident.

Centennial sophomore Anand Mehta teamed with Julian Dedalli --who did not return -- to finish second in doubles last year behind West graduates Dustin Ogden and Tony Chea.

Mehta is playing second singles behind senior Stuart McIntyre. Freshman Xiaating Li is at third singles for the Stars and junior Adam Keethler, sophomores Marcus Galli and Chris Upchurch and freshman Preston Eberlyn are playing doubles.

Northland beat the Stars 4-1 on April 15 and Whetstone 3-2 on April 21 and was 4-0 in the City-North before playing Linden-McKinley last Monday.

Senior Ian Smith is playing first singles for the Vikings, followed by junior Rob Dove and junior Clement Owusu.

"We actually only have one senior this year," Centennial coach Barbara Stevenson said. I'd never lost to Northland before but (Vikings coach Allen Jarrett) got out a few soccer players who all can play."

West and Briggs were 3-0 in the City-South before meeting last Wednesday.

The Bruins, who have won seven consecutive City-South titles and defeated Centennial 4-1 for the City championship a year ago, are led by senior singles players Chettrar Nil, James Moore and Phillip Andrick.

The Cowboys feature sophomores Johnny Prum, Sonny Khoeum and Jacob Ferrero at first, second and third singles. Senior Chris Miles is another who could play singles at the Coaches Tournament.

"They've worked hard and improved a lot," said Bruce Duffner, who is in his third season as coach after spending two years as an assistant. "They play very well for sophomores. We're very young. I'm hoping next year and the year after that we'll be very good."