The Whetstone High School boys tennis team is looking forward to its rematch with Westerville North on Thursday, May 1, at home.
The Braves lost to the Warriors 5-0 on April 9.
"We had three kids on spring break that week and we're interested to get a true test of where we are against a good suburban school," coach Bucky Walters said. "That was our only loss so far this season."
The Braves, who were 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the City League-North Division before facing Linden-McKinley in their league finale April 28, have had to overcome the loss of two players from their starting lineup. One was lost to academic ineligibility and the other left the team because of work commitments.
"This is one of the smallest teams I've had in a while and we lost two experienced players, including our No. 2 singles player and one of our doubles players," Walters said. "But the guys have pulled together and the younger kids are stepping up and doing the job."
According to Walters, Whetstone will represent the City-North in the City championship match May 8 at a site to be determined if it beat Linden. The opponent likely would be Columbus West, the two-time defending City champion.
The Braves have lost to West in the City championship match the last two seasons, falling 3-2 both times.
"We had a spectacular match against Centennial (a 5-0 win on April 23) to put us in this position," Walters said. "Matt Ray and Drew Gabalski won great matches on the first two singles courts and we won handily in the other three matches."
Against Centennial, Ray defeated Ben Oatney 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 at first singles and Gabalski beat Weston Clarke 7-5, 6-7 10-8 at second singles.
"I was very happy for Matt Ray because he lost to Oatney twice last year," Walters said. "We're real excited about that. I think Akeem Adesiji has played very well at first doubles and we've used two guys as his partner there in Quentin Pruneau and Alex Embaie."
Baseball team rolls past league foes
The baseball team continues to roll through its City-North competition.
Whetstone was 13-3 overall and 7-0 in the league before playing Brookhaven on April 28.
Last week, the Braves defeated Eastmoor Academy 14-2 on April 21, Columbus East 14-1 on April 22, Northland 9-2 on April 23 and Mifflin 19-1 on April 24.
Entering the week, Whetstone's closest league game was a 3-0 win over host Centennial on April 11. The Braves play host to the Stars in a rematch Wednesday, May 7, before concluding league play May 9 at Northland.
The City championship game will be played May 22 at a site to be determined.
Having played six games last week, Whetstone's pitching ran thin in a pair of games April 26, with the Braves losing to Olentangy Orange 12-5 and Ready 10-2.
Senior John Jannazo, who pitched a four-hitter against Northland to improve to 5-0, started against Orange and took the loss.
"Northland had six returning starters and a good nucleus and they were vocal and ready to play," coach Tim Broskie said. "But John Jannazo was excellent, especially after the first inning. He was going against Orange on short rest.
"We were able to work in some young pitchers last week. We got three wins from sophomores Zach Barnum (against Eastmoor), Sam Price (against East) and Nick Hall (against Mifflin). That's exciting for the future."
Price went 4-for-5 at the plate against Mifflin and senior Chris Hutchings went 3-for-4 against Northland, and junior catcher Jake Sebetich threw out two Northland baserunners who were attempting to steal.
Softball team still looking for answers
The softball team is in search of answers as it tries to turn around its season.
Although Whetstone was 6-1 in the City-North before playing Brookhaven on April 28, it was 6-7 overall.
"We're not playing well or being coached well," coach Larry Peck said. "We need to decide what type of team we want to be. We haven't had momentum all year. We haven't had any consistency and I accept responsibility for that. I've been outcoached.
"It's my job to find the right buttons to push and I haven't found them yet. We've had our anticipated lineup together for just two games. We've got 22 players on varsity and j.v. combined and we're constantly pulling girls up and changing lineups because we're missing girls for games and practices with illnesses, other school commitments and all sorts of reasons."
On April 26, Whetstone was swept in a doubleheader against host Reynoldsburg, losing 6-5 and 10-9. The Raiders scored the winning run in each game in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Braves led the second game 9-5 before yielding four runs in the sixth.
"We have trouble getting off the field with two outs, and that was the case in both losses (to Reynoldsburg)," Peck said. "We had two outs with nobody on in the sixth and they scored four times to tie it."
According to Peck, the Braves have been led by catcher Mara Diaz, shortstop Bailey Waitkus, pitcher Maddie Wilming and designated player Emily Tuttle.