Teaching his players to go with their instincts is one thing Whetstone High School softball coach Larry Peck has encouraged since he took over the program in 2007.

Teaching his players to go with their instincts is one thing Whetstone High School softball coach Larry Peck has encouraged since he took over the program in 2007.

In some situations, that could even include running through a stop sign at third base with a title on the line.

That's exactly what occurred when the Braves scored the winning run in the 10th inning of a 3-2 victory over visiting Briggs in the City championship game on May 20.

Sophomore Erin Krebs walked to open the final inning and scored from second on a line drive single to left field by sophomore Sarah Buckalew.

Whetstone, which beat Briggs 9-0 in the City final last year, won its third league title in four seasons.

"We had (senior) Kasey (Althouse) coming up, and she was 3-for-4, so I was trying to tell (Krebs) to stay at third," Peck said. "Erin is quick and thought she could make it. She decided that she was going to go and the throw was a little bit off line. It was OK because even if she had gotten thrown out at (home plate), we still would have had runners on second and third with one out."

After Krebs reached base, junior Katie Fuller attempted to sacrifice her to second but failed on her first two attempts. She then swung away and singled to move Krebs to second.

Buckalew also attempted to bunt twice before swinging away for the winning hit.

Sophomore pitcher Haley Buskirk picked up the victory, retiring the last 11 batters she faced.

Whetstone lost to Westerville North 14-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 10 and finished with an 18-8 record. The Braves went 14-0 to finish ahead of Centennial (12-2), Northland (10-4), Beechcroft (8-6), Brookhaven (5-9), Mifflin (4-10), Linden (3-11) and East (0-14) in the City-North.

The Braves will lose three senior starters in Althouse (CF), Caroline Block-Wilkins (LF) and Melissa Tewart-Darwin (1B) as well as Alice Turner, who split time at second base with sophomore Symiah Campbell.

Althouse had a .603 batting average with 21 RBI, 20 stolen bases and just one strikeout in 68 at-bats. Tewart-Darwin had a .994 fielding percentage and drove in 14 runs.

Fuller batted .430 with 23 RBI, 16 stolen bases and just one error in 52 chances at third base. Buskirk went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 141 innings and batted .321 with 17 RBI. Campbell (.326, 14 RBI), Buckalew (12 RBI) and sophomore Katie Dozer (.283, 18 RBI) also were key hitters.

Freshman Lauren Peck started all season at shortstop.

Althouse, Buskirk and Fuller made first-team all-City, Tewart-Darwin and Buckalew made the second team and Block-Wilkins and Peck were honorable mention.

"We had 38 kids and only lose four, plus we have some kids coming in from Dominion (Middle School)," coach Peck said. "We became one of the scrappiest teams I've ever been around. We're pretty optimistic for next year."

•After the end of the 300-meter hurdles final last Saturday at Dublin Coffman, senior Michelle Woods of the girls track and field team sat under a tent, at times with her hands over her face while listening intently.

She wasn't sure whether she had held off Marysville's KyLee Tuchfarber for the final spot at the Division I regional meet, which began last Wednesday and concludes Friday at Pickerington North. Finally, it was announced that she had finished fourth in 48.18 seconds to edge fifth-place Tuchfarber (48.22).

"I was just thinking that I should have gone a lot faster, but I'm glad I made it," Woods said. "I started out a lot faster than I normally do. (Making it to regional) was actually one of my goals. (Coach) Kofi (Owusu-Ansah) made it seem achievable."

The girls team finished 13th (6) of 14 teams in district 2, behind champion Reynoldsburg (115). Woods also was eighth in the 100 hurdles (17.1) to score the Braves' other point.

"(Faster starts) are going to happen in a finals type of race," Owusu-Ansah said. "She's in good shape, and it looks like her training pulled her through."

The boys team tied Independence for eighth (28) of 15 teams, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (121), in district 2.

Both Wade Westbrook in the 1,600 and the 400 relay had tight battles to earn fourth last Saturday.

Westbrook went back-and-forth with Pickerington North's Abuckar Shegow down the stretch of his race before finishing in 4:24.25, as Shegow took fifth (4:24.44).

"I wanted to go into the last 100 meters in fourth place or better," Westbrook said. "I heard everyone yelling at me. (Shegow) got right ahead of me for a second, but I was able to hold him off."

In the 400 relay, the Braves were sixth after Marvin Draper's first lap but moved up to fifth during Joe Saffold's second leg and to third in Brian Adams' third leg. Jordan Mitchell kept Whetstone in third as anchor.

The finishes in those two races were consolation for a tough day overall for the boys. After the 3,200 relay was fifth (8:10.44) on May 19, the 1,600 relay took fifth (3:24.65), Adams was sixth in the 800 (1:59.68) and Evan Schwartz took sixth in the 3,200 (9:58.1).

"It was nice to be able to make it out (in the 400 relay)," Mitchell said. "Brian caught us back up. Everybody ran hard."

•The boys tennis team is losing one senior in Casey Johnson, who mostly played doubles this season and teamed with junior Eugenio Bonello to lose in the first round of the Division I sectional tournament May 13 at Upper Arlington.

Juniors Stefan Koltun and Matthew Brew were the top two singles players before teaming up to win one match at the sectional doubles tournament. Junior Daniel Renick was another key singles player.

Losing first-round sectional singles matches were sophomores Mohumud Sharif and Harley Tripp.

Each of the City League's tennis teams were combined into one division this spring, and the Braves finished fifth (7-4) out of 12 teams, behind Centennial (11-0), West (10-1), Briggs (9-2) and Northland (8-3).

At a glance

Below are the regional qualifiers for the Whetstone boys and girls track and field teams with district event, place and time/distance/height:

BOYS - Wade Westbrook: 1,600 (fourth, 4:24.25). 400 relay: Brian Adams, Marvin Draper, Jordan Mitchell, Joe Saffold (third, 43.87). GIRLS - Michelle Woods: 300 hurdles (fourth, 48.18).