during pivotal tough stretch

during pivotal tough stretch

Minutes after the Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team completed a 5-0 victory over Groveport last Monday, the players huddled around coach Jim Campolo and had a few laughs.

The light attitudes continued as they cleaned up the field over the next few minutes.

"We were talking and I told them I didn't like any of them, which made them start laughing," Campolo said. "Really, I think there's just a little more jump in their step after a game like this."

A pressure that had been building for more than a week seemed to lift once the Lions put together a complete game. After pounding Lancaster 14-2 on April 16, Gahanna lost its next seven, scoring just seven runs in that span. It lost four of those games despite Kim Lennox allowing three or fewer runs.

Last Monday, six of the nine starters had at least one hit. First baseman Jami Thomas hit a home run in the fourth inning, her third of the season.

"Basically we're just happy because we won and because we hit the ball," said Thomas, whose team had won nine of 10 before the losing streak.

"I think we did that because we were having fun. This makes usall stronger. We feel like the pressure is kind of off of us now and we feel like we can go out and win now."

The skid might end up costing the Lions their fourth consecutive OCC-Ohio championship. Gahanna played first-place Hilliard Darby last Wednesday and will close the league Monday against visiting Lancaster and Wednesday at Newark.

The Lions lost to the Panthers 2-1 on April 14. Darby lost to Lancaster 7-4 on April 9 but beat the Gales10-0 last Monday and closes the league Monday at Westland and Wednesday with Groveport.

Entering league games last Wednesday, Darby was 6-1 and Gahanna was 4-3.

During the losing streak, the Lions lost to Newark 1-0 on April 21 and to Westland 5-4 on April 23.

"When we lost to Westland, I told them that we've got to get some help now," Campolo said.

"That's not always a good situation to be in. Westland I thought would be a good team from the start of the season, and against Newark we just didn't get it done when we needed to. The first time we played Groveport (in a 4-1 win April 9), we struck out 19 times. This time we did what we were supposed to and struck out seven times."

•STRUGGLES -- The Lions took a 2-0 lead against Groveport in the fourth and scored their other three runs in the sixth.

After Thomas, the cleanup hitter, hit her home run, No. 5 hitter Paula Lindsay hit a single. Lindsay went 2-for-3.

Those two hitters, according to Campolo, were about the only consistent threats in the lineup over the past two weeks.

Leadoff-hitter Tiyona Marshall hit a single and scored in the sixth and catcher and No. 8 hitter Cathlene Beck had an RBI-double. Beck also went 2-for-3.

"We've hit the ball, but unfortunately we haven't hit it at the right time," Campolo said. "We had games when we'd have a runner on first and second with no outs and we'd do nothing. We've started to do a lot more with our baserunning to get something going. If we can't do it with our bats, we've got to do it with our feet.

"It's been a really strange year. We'd had a lot of distractions, losing three players for three different reasons since the beginning of the season. We're just getting back (second-baseman Jendy Weppler) from an injury and we've just had a number of distractions that have taken away from our ability to play. Plus this is by far our toughest schedule. We're getting beat by some pretty good teams."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln softball team:

April 22 -- Lost to Watterson 1-0

*April 23 -- Lost to Westland 5-4

Last Saturday -- Lost to Brunswick 3-1; lost to Amherst Steele 2-1. Brunswick improved to 13-3 and Steele improved to 13-2.

*Last Monday -- Defeated Groveport 5-0. Jami Thomas hit a home run and Kim Lennox pitched her fourth shutout.

*Last Wednesday -- Played Hilliard Darby

Today -- Home vs. Pickerington North

*Monday -- Home vs. Lancaster. Gahanna won 14-2 on April 16.

*Wednesday -- At Newark. Gahanna lost 1-0 on April 21.

Of note: The Lions were 11-9 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Ohio game