The Delaware Hayes High School boys lacrosse team hasn't missed a beat this season despite having a younger, less-experienced roster than it did a year ago when it won its second consecutive club state championship.
The Pacers, who have moved up to Division II this season, were 5-0 overall before playing Sylvania Southview on April 18.
"This is a new group of players taking a leadership role and starting to come together," coach John Lyon said. "They believe in the three Hs -- head, heart and hustle. When we aren't playing our best, they take the hustle to the next level and become relentless to win the little battles. We're doing a great job on groundballs."
Delaware finished 18-3 overall last season and went 4-2 in the OCC-Central Division to tie Pickerington North for second behind Pickerington Central (6-0). The Pacers are 3-0 in the league this season, having defeated Pickerington Central 11-6 on April 16, Westerville Central 11-10 in double overtime on April 9 and Westerville North 11-5 on April 2.
Delaware, which travels to Pickerington North on Monday, April 21, led Pickerington Central 4-3 at halftime before pulling away in the second half. The Pacers were led by attacker Judson Huston, who had four goals and an assist.
"The game against Westerville Central was amazing," Lyon said. "We trailed by four goals and eventually we took the lead. (Westerville Central) tied it at 10 with one second left. Although we were somewhat deflated, we showed some toughness right then. We made it through the first four-minute overtime before we won it when Judson Huston scored off an assist from (midfielder) Justin McKee."
Midfielder MacGregor Roberts had five goals against Westerville Central, with Huston adding two goals and two assists and midfielder Clay Sparks scoring two goals. Against Pickerington Central, Roberts had two goals and midfielder Joseph Sanfillipo had a goal and three assists.
Goalkeeper Tyler Groth had five saves against Pickerington Central and 10 against Westerville Central.
Through five games, Roberts had a team-high 16 goals, followed by Huston with 14, and Sanfillipo led the team with 15 assists. The Pacers outscored their first five opponents 60-30.
"We have a strong defense led by Bryan Neitzelt, James Wegmiller and Austen Kimbro," said Lyon, whose team defeated Goshen (Ky.) North Oldham 18-1 on March 28 and Springboro 9-8 on April 5. "Neitzelt has tremendous instincts, vision and stick skills and leads the team in groundballs. Plus, he's versatile. Wegmiller is also a natural leader, although Neitzelt is more vocal."
Lyon said he also has been impressed with the play of freshman attacker Cole Livermore and sophomore midfielder Sean Gliebe.
Softball team remains hot after Florida trip
Mikayla Cooper hit a two-run home run and pitcher Madi Huck scattered five hits as the softball team beat Mount Vernon 4-1 on April 16.
The following day, Huck allowed six hits and worked around three errors in a 4-1 win over New Albany as the Pacers improved to 10-1 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Capital.
"I'm very happy with our start and where we are at this point," coach Mark Thomas said. "We've got to continue to work on fundamentals and stay sharp. We need to make sure we stay focused, from the freshmen through our coaching staff.
"We've got four very experienced seniors who are talking and communicating well with the younger girls, so the camaraderie seems good right now and I think that unity will remain all season. We've got great leadership."
The Pacers opened the season with a spring break trip to Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Orlando, Fla., going 5-1 in games played between March 31 and April 3. Their only loss was to Shepherdsville (Ky.) Bullitt County East, 1-0 in 12 innings on April 3.
"I actually think that loss will carry us a long way," Thomas said. "(Bullitt County East) was the top-ranked team in Kentucky and we played a gem of a game really. Overall, it was a great trip and we came back and continued to hit the snot out of the ball."
Through 10 games, the Pacers had a .343 team batting average and had outscored their opponents 63-8.
Delaware's other league wins came against Big Walnut (5-1 on April 9), Worthington Kilbourne (3-1 on April 10) and Olentangy Orange (6-1 on April 14).
Against Orange, Lindsey Blair went 4-for-4 at the plate with a double, Cooper, Chandler Fields, Kaitlyn Woerner and MacKenzie Stonebraker each had two hits and Cooper had two RBI.
Baseball team having trouble in OCC play
The baseball team had lost three of its previous four games before beating Big Walnut 9-2 on April 17 to move to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Capital.
Jackson Boger and Braden Schmidt, who pitched the seventh, combined on a two-hitter for the Pacers, who played Dublin Scioto on April 19.
The Pacers lost to New Albany 11-1 in five innings April 16. Their other league losses were to Big Walnut (2-1 on April 14) and Worthington Kilbourne (15-4 on April 10). Their league win came against Kilbourne (4-1 on April 9).
Delaware defeated Licking Heights 8-6 on April 12.
Noble Moore pitched a complete game in the loss to visiting Big Walnut, as the Golden Eagles scored one run in each the sixth and seventh innings.
Against New Albany, the Pacers allowed six runs in the first.
Against Licking Heights, Jacob Brown posted his first varsity win, with Moore pitching the seventh inning to earn the save. Colin Reed hit a home run in the top of the seventh, Greg Suber and Josh Daughenbaugh both had three hits and Suber had four RBI.