The Big Walnut High School boys club lacrosse team appears to be on its way to its first winning season in its six-year history.

The Big Walnut High School boys club lacrosse team appears to be on its way to its first winning season in its six-year history.

The Golden Eagles are 5-3 overall after beating Wellington 14-2 on April 26 and have five regular-season games left. They went 6-9 last season after finishing 5-9 in 2010, 5-8 in 2009, 2-10 in 2008 and 0-9 in 2007.

"We're as good as we've ever been," fourth-year coach Nate Dewey said. "We're pretty much beating the teams we should beat."

Through seven games, senior midfielder Ryan Schmidt had a team-high 13 goals. Junior midfielder Trevor Severs was next with 11, followed by sophomore midfielder Jhordan Lang with seven and sophomore midfielder Carter Marsch and senior attacker Brandon Sholl both with six.
Schmidt appeared in only two games last season because of a back injury but was expected to be a key offensive contributor this year. He hasn't disappointed.

"He was primed to have that kind of season last year before he got hurt," Dewey said. "He had glimpses of that as a sophomore, so I'm not surprised that he stepped into a scoring role this year."

Through seven games, Big Walnut had eight players score at least one goal and six score four or more. In addition to having a balanced offense, Dewey is pleased with the way his team has played defensively.

"Our defense, in general, has been phenomenal," Dewey said. "In our wins, we haven't allowed more than six goals. Even in the games we've lost, (senior goalkeeper Sawyer Lott) has been pretty solid and has made some big saves to keep us in it."

Through six games, Lott had allowed 37 goals – an average of 6.2 per game – and had 60 saves. Last season, he allowed 145 goals – a 9.7 average – and had 175 saves and was named second-team all-OCC-Central Division.

The Eagles' top defenders are seniors Matt Pozderac and Lukas Swysgood. Pozderac, who attends Centerburg and is the only member of the 28-player roster who does not attend Big Walnut, has committed to playing at Hiram College. Swysgood plans to play at Otterbein
University.

"It's been a really good team effort defensively, but they're our primary back-end guys this year," Dewey said. "Lukas usually covers the other team's top player."

Dewey also likes what he has seen from senior Kameron Montgomery, who was moved from midfielder to long-stick midfielder this season.

"He's been a real pleasant surprise," Dewey said.

Big Walnut is one of five club teams in central Ohio, along with Columbus City Schools, Delaware Hayes, Licking County Legend and Marysville.

The Eagles defeated Licking County Legend 11-1 on April 6 and beat Marysville 8-4 on April 13. They play host to CCS on Monday, April 30, and travel to Delaware on May 10.

Big Walnut's schedule includes two other club teams in Kettering Alter and Lebanon. The Eagles defeated Alter 14-6 on April 21 behind four goals apiece from Lang and Marsch and travel to Lebanon on Saturday, May 5.

Big Walnut lost to Alter in the previous meeting between the teams, falling 7-3 in a play-in game to the OHSLA Club Division tournament in 2010.

"The win over Kettering Alter shows where we are in the club division," Dewey said. "It's been a banner year so far. Hopefully we finish (the regular season) strong and carry that into the tournament."

The tournament draw will be held May 13.

Last season, Big Walnut defeated Marysville 15-5 in a play-in game and beat Toledo Ottawa Hills 7-4 in the first round to advance to a quarterfinal, where it lost 16-0 loss to Cincinnati Anderson.

Baseball team remains in hunt for OCC title

The baseball team is closing in on its first league championship in nearly four decades.

Big Walnut was 15-4 overall and 8-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing Mount Vernon on April 27. Entering play that day, the Eagles were tied for first with Olentangy Orange, ahead of New Albany (6-4), Delaware (5-5), Mount Vernon (5-5), Watkins Memorial (5-5), Hilliard Bradley
(3-7) and Franklin Heights (0-10).

Big Walnut's only league title came in 1973, when it won the now-defunct Mid-Ohio Conference championship. The Eagles joined the OCC in the 1997-98 school year.

"We're well aware of (the last league title)," coach Chris Holly said. "Last year we wanted to change the (championship) banner (hanging in the school gymnasium) and we weren't able to do that. (Winning a league title would) mean a lot to the kids because we're the smallest school in the league and people doubt us all the time. We haven't been good in baseball in recent years and we're trying to get people to notice us."

Last season, Big Walnut finished 16-10 overall, marking its first winning season since 2004, but went 6-8 in the OCC-Capital to tie for sixth.

The Eagles, who entered the contest against Mount Vernon on an eight-game winning streak, play host to the Yellow Jackets in the second game of their league series on Monday, April 30. They then finish league play with two games against Franklin Heights, traveling to Franklin Heights on Wednesday, May 2, before playing host to the Falcons on Friday, May 4.

"Right now, our goal is to beat Mount Vernon," Holly said. "Everyone in our dugout knows we have to take it one game at a time. They know what we have to do."

Big Walnut maintained its first-place tie with Orange by sweeping its series against New Albany, winning 4-2 on April 23 and 4-3 on April 25. In the first game, Big Walnut broke a 2-all tie with two runs in the top of the fifth inning and junior Cole Harbin pitched a four-hitter, allowing just one earned run.

In the second game, Big Walnut trailed 3-0 before scoring one run in the bottom of the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth. Senior Aaron Gase pitched a complete game, limiting New Albany to five hits and two earned runs.

"Our guys have a never-say-die attitude," Holly said of his team's comeback win against New Albany. "They never think they're out of a game."

Through 19 games, Big Walnut had a .309 team batting average. Its offensive leaders included senior center fielder Grant Beam (.438, 18 RBI, 20 runs, 4 stolen bases), senior shortstop Tyler Beam (.350, 15 RBI, 20 runs, 1 home run, 7 stolen bases), senior second baseman/catcher Aaron Dattilo (.321, 15 RBI, 17 runs), sophomore right fielder/first baseman Jeremy Bok (.315, 14 RBI, 15 runs) and Gase (.313, 21 RBI, 9 runs), who typically starts at catcher.

Also through 19 games, Gase was 6-0 with a 2.46 ERA, Harbin was 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA, sophomore Kyle Duncan was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and junior Max McLean was 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA.