The Gahanna Lincoln High School softball team set up what it hopes is a long Division I district tournament run by closing the regular season with one of its best stretches.
After seeing its OCC-Ohio Division title hopes end with a 9-0 loss to Grove City on May 3, the Lions bounced back to sweep a doubleheader the next day over Warsaw River View (1-0) and Strasburg-Franklin (11-1).
Gahanna then earned five-inning wins over league-foes Pickerington North (13-3 on May 6) and Pickerington Central (12-0 on May 8) to take a 20-6 record into the postseason.
The Lions were seeded sixth for the tournament and opened May 14 against 40th-seeded Northland.
"We just weren't ready to play (against Grove City) and why, I don't know," coach Jim Campolo said. "Part of it is that most girls don't have to handle pressure a whole lot and Grove City was a lot of pressure. After that there was no pressure and they played the game for the right reasons and played for fun."
The Lions were the only team to win a league game against Grove City (4-1 on April 17), but they ended up second (11-3) behind the Greyhounds (13-1) and ahead of Groveport (9-5), Pickerington Central (9-5), Lancaster (7-7), Pickerington North (5-9), Newark (2-12) and Reynoldsburg (0-14).
The Gahanna-Northland winner plays 21st-seeded Canal Winchester or 33rd-seeded Mount Vernon in a second-round game Thursday, May 16, at the site of the higher-seeded team. That winner faces third-seeded Marysville, 25th-seeded Briggs or 32nd-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North.
If Gahanna plays Marysville, it will represent a rematch of a game the Lions won 7-3 on April 4.
The district final is May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Senior pitcher Emmalee Harding had nine victories, junior pitcher Alex Jander had eight and junior pitcher Hannah Smith had three entering the tournament.
Through 19 games, the Lions were led offensively by senior outfielder Olivia Schumacher (.559 average, 19 RBI), junior catcher Becca Gavin (.514, 28 RBI) and sophomore third baseman Brittany Oldaker (.487, 8 home runs, 39 RBI).
"Defensively we were strong, our pitching was very good and we hit the ball well (during the final week of the regular season)," Campolo said. "We hit a couple home runs against Pickerington Central and from top to bottom everybody in the lineup is hitting the ball."
Boys volleyball team wins tourney opener
The second-seeded boys volleyball team beat 14th-seeded Upper Arlington 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 in its Division I East Region tournament opener May 11 at Westerville South.
The Lions played sixth-seeded Pickerington North in a regional semifinal May 15 at Westerville Central. The winner will meet fourth-seeded Hilliard Davidson or fifth-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Davidson. The eight-team state tournament is May 25 and 26 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
"I feel like our ability to play as a team has helped us," senior outside hitter Austin Washburn said. "This is new for a lot of kids on our team, but we've definitely progressed as the season has gone on."
Gahanna was 16-9 and had won six of its last eight matches before playing Pickerington North. The Lions lost to the Panthers 26-24, 25-22, 25-23 on April 11 but won the rematch 25-18, 25-21, 25-23 on April 30.
"We went through some growing pains at the beginning of the season and had a tough schedule, but it was designed to challenge the boys," coach Mike Sage said. "We're still getting better. We played a scrappy Upper Arlington team well enough to win."
Teague wins league first-singles title
Senior boys tennis player Canyon Teague continued his roll during the OCC-Ohio tournament May 11 at Rey-noldsburg.
Teague beat his first two opponents 6-0, 6-0 and then defeated Reynoldsburg's Cameron Raglin 6-2, 6-1 for the first-singles championship.
Last season, Teague won the first doubles title with 2012 graduate Daniel Emoff.
Teague also defeated Raglin 6-0, 6-3 on April 18.
"My serving and my ground strokes were good, and I was just consistent," Teague said. "I stayed aggressive in both matches (against Raglin). In this one I always had the lead."
Teague is the top seed for the Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Davidson. Also playing singles will be senior Aaron Thomas and sophomore Eric Chen, with the teams of senior John Spain and freshman Chris Kusovski and juniors Stefn Sandberg and Zach Horn competing in doubles.
"I'm really pleased with the drawing," Thomas said. "I feel like I've got as good of a chance as anyone to move on. We hope to have multiple people qualifying for district."
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 24 and 25 at Davidson.
Spain and Kusovski won a pair of three-set matches to reach the OCC-Ohio final in first doubles before losing to Pickerington North's Patrick Yen and Matt Barry 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Thomas finished third in second singles, Chen was third in third singles and Sandberg and Horn were fourth in second doubles.
Gahanna finished 6-1 in the league after defeating Pickerington Central 4-1 on May 13.
Baseball team begins tourney
The baseball team received the sixth seed for the Division I district tournament and began the postseason May 15 at home against 41st-seeded Westland.
The Lions were 17-10 overall.
The winner will play 15th-seeded Westerville South, 23rd-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 26th-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at Grove City.
The district final is Wednesday, May 22, at Ohio Dominican, where Gahanna could meet second-seeded Olentangy Orange, 11th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley, 17th-seeded Zanesville or 36th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne. The Lions lost to Orange 8-0 on April 2.
The district champion will play in a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman.
Girls lacrosse team opens postseason
The girls lacrosse team was 6-9 after defeating Marysville 12-7 in its Division I South/Central Region tournament opener May 13.
Gahanna played top-seeded Upper Arlington in a second-round game May 15, with the winner to meet Cincinnati St. Ursula or Pickerington North on Monday, May 20, in a regional semifinal. The regional final is May 23.
Boys lacrosse team prepping for tourney
The boys lacrosse team is awaiting the Division I Central Region tournament drawing Sunday, May 19.
The Lions were 5-12 overall before playing Westerville South on May 15. They are 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio and close the regular season against league-opponent Hilliard Bradley on Friday, May 17.