Inexperience getting best of young Irish
After losing to Dublin Jerome 6-1 in the first game of the first Dublin Classic, the Dublin Scioto High School softball team was looking to bounce back when it played host to Dublin Coffman in the final game of the event April 13.
The Irish made a bid to finish 1-1 on the day, trailing 5-4 heading into the seventh inning, but the Shamrocks scored 12 runs on their way to a 17-7 win.
Scioto coach Larry Howell pointed to his team's inexperience as it lost its seventh consecutive game before playing Westerville South in an OCC-Cardinal Division game April 16.
"We're (1-7) now (before April 16), so I'm not happy about that," Howell said. "We've been shellacked a couple of games. We're still young. We have girls still trying to learn. Overall, we're making strides. Going in we knew we had a long way to go and we still have a long way to go to be able to compete. We'll keep working at it."
Scioto's only win before playing the Celtics a second time was a 2-1 victory over Briggs in the opener April 4.
Howell and Jerome coach Jim Muessig agreed before the season that the Classic game between the teams would count as a league contest.
Against Coffman, the Irish fell behind 5-1 before rallying with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Trailing 5-4 in the sixth, senior Mackenzie Nelsen tripled with one out but was stranded at third. Nelsen also doubled, and senior Marissa Gibson and junior Kelsey Esterline each singled twice. Against Jerome, Esterline singled twice, and Nelsen and junior Andi Smith each doubled.
"We played well (April 13)," Howell said. "The final score (against Coffman) doesn't say how close it was. It was 5-4 going into the top of the seventh. We have to learn to finish. You don't let it get away at the end and we did."
Proceeds from the event benefited the American Cancer Society, as players from all three teams wore special T-shirts to commemorate the day.
Howell hopes the Classic becomes an annual event.
"It's something the parents have wanted for quite a long time," he said. "We tried to do it last year and couldn't do it because of conflicts. It's something that needs to be done every year. Maybe we'll expand it and do other stuff with it. ... It's a great event."
Jerome sweeps first Classic
Jerome won both its games in the Classic, defeating Scioto in the first game and then beating Coffman 3-2.
The Celtics are looking to improve on last season's 12-12 record. The 12 wins were the most in program history.
"We're getting along really well and we're all supporting each other," junior pitcher Abby Haab said. "We knew it would be a struggle because we had six seniors graduate last year, but we just came out trying to beat the program's record (for wins)."
Muessig was pleased with his team's 8-3 start before playing Westerville North on April 16, but he hopes the offense can improve.
"The games we've lost, we're still not hitting the ball. We're leaving people on base," Muessig said. "We're running into a lot of good pitchers and we have to find ways to score runs."
Haab was the winning pitcher in both games of the Classic, as she turned in a pair of complete-game efforts.
Against Scioto, she allowed eight hits, struck out 10 and walked none.
Against Coffman, Haab allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked none.
Junior Katie Kendall doubled twice and tripled, sophomore McKenzie Ciminillo singled twice and doubled and sophomore Leslie Booth doubled and singled against Scioto.
Against Coffman, Caitlin Clancy doubled and singled.
Muessig said the Celtics remain focused on trying to win the OCC-Cardinal title.
"I told the girls you can play with anybody in the league, but anybody can beat you," he said. "It all depends on how ready they are to play and whoever makes the big play, and hopefully it's us."
Big inning helps Coffman earn split
Coffman broke open the close game against Scioto with the 12-run seventh inning capped by junior Maddie Darby's three-run home run.
"Our bats came alive in the seventh," coach Leah Howard said. "It was much closer than that."
Freshman Sam Isaly gave Coffman a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first.
Isaly added three singles and junior Hannah Sabatino singled three times and doubled.
Junior Haley Marshall was the winning pitcher against Scioto, allowing 13 hits, striking out four and walking two.
Sophomore Samantha Skuce doubled and singled against Jerome.
"It was a good game," Howard said. "Jerome played a great game, so you have to give them a lot of credit. They played well."
The Shamrocks earned their first OCC-Central win by defeating Hilliard Davidson 8-4 on April 8 at home.
"That's a big win for us because they're a good ballclub, too," Howard said. "That's a rival, so our girls are pretty excited."
The Shamrocks are looking to improve on last season when they finished 8-17.
Through eight games, senior Kelsey Hansen was leading the team in hitting at .500, followed by senior Meredith Mockler (.452), Sabatino (.448) and Isaly (.444).
Marshall was 3-1 with a 4.55 ERA, 11 strikeouts and six walks in 20 innings.
"We're capable of a lot and we're learning as we go," Howard said. "We're young and we have a long way to go, but we are capable."