Licking Heights High School baseball coach Jeff Boyer is in his 30th season coaching baseball. He is the third current Licking County coach to have three decades of service.

Licking Heights High School baseball coach Jeff Boyer is in his 30th season coaching baseball. He is the third current Licking County coach to have three decades of service.

Boyer's staying power proves he knows high school baseball. When Boyer talks, other coaches listen. On April 21, his team played Grandview for the second time this season. The Hornets won the rematch 15-6 to complete the regular-season sweep.

After the game, Boyer sought out first-year Grandview coach Brian Thomas.

"You look better than you did a few weeks ago," said Boyer to Thomas, whose Hornets also beat Grandview 10-5 on April 5.

The words from the veteran coach only confirmed Thomas' beliefs.

"We've seen improvement over the last week and a half," Thomas said. "We knew going into the season we only had one senior coming back (Tyler Fitzgerald). So there was going to be a learning curve."

Grandview's biggest area of improvement, according to Thomas, has come in the outfield.

Depending on which player is pitching and catching, Grandview employs five outfielders - A.J. Finley, Cameron McLain, Colin Ridgeway, Oliver Rouch and Eric Vandeusen.

"Early on in the season we were averaging three errors in the outfield," Thomas said. "We might have had one in the last week and a half. Overall, our errors are down."

Grandview's improvement comes at an important time. Beginning April 19 and ending with the Bobcats' regular-season finale Monday at Fisher Catholic, Grandview is expected to play 13 games in 15 days. The Bobcats entered that stretch without an impressive overall record, which has been commonplace in recent seasons. Grandview won five of its first 14 games, but those 14 games have included tougher opponents.

In an effort to prepare his team for the postseason, Thomas scheduled some difficult non-conference opponents. Grandview had already played Dublin Scioto, Hilliard Bradley and Olentangy, and it played Buckeye Valley last Tuesday and will play host to Bloom-Carroll on Saturday.

"You don't get anything, as far as the team is concerned, from going and playing a lower team and beating up on them," Thomas said. "You're supposed to beat those teams. You should score a lot of runs and, generally, you're a little more lackadaisical."

Grandview is aware of its past postseason disappointments. What better way to prepare for the Division III district tournament than to recreate that intense atmosphere by playing a strong non-conference opponent?

"When you play Scioto or Olentangy you better be ready to compete right off the bat," Thomas said. "You see a high grade of pitching, fielding and hitting and it raises your competition level. If you get used to seeing better pitchers or hitters, when you see other Division III teams in the tournament, it's not a shock to you."

Grandview was 0-5 in non-conference games entering last Tuesday. Regardless of the outcomes, lessons were learned. In the postseason, Grandview is expected to implement those lessons.

"Those games showed our kids we can compete with those teams," Thomas said. "We just have to cut down on the mental errors and, as the season has progressed, we've done that."

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Grandview baseball, boys tennis, softball and track and field teams:

BASEBALL

*April 20 - Lost to Fisher Catholic 4-3

*April 21 - Lost to Licking Heights 15-6

*Last Friday - Defeated Harvest Prep 6-5

*Last Monday - Game against Liberty Union postponed

Last Tuesday - Played Buckeye Valley

*Last Wednesday - Played Millersport

*Friday - At Berne Union

Saturday - Home vs. Bloom Carroll (DH)

*Monday - At Fisher Catholic

Of note: The Bobcats were 6-9 overall before last Tuesday and were 6-4 in the MSL-Cardinal before last Wednesday.

BOYS TENNIS

*April 20 - Def. West Jefferson 5-0

April 21 - Def. Ready 4-1

April 22 - Def. Centennial 3-2

Last Monday - Match against Canal Winchester postponed

*Last Tuesday - Played Fisher Catholic

*Today - Home vs. Columbus Academy

Friday - At Grove City

Monday - At Village Academy

*Tuesday - At Bexley

Wednesday - Home vs. Bloom-Carroll

Of note: The Bobcats were 5-3 overall and were 2-1 in the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio before last Tuesday.

SOFTBALL

April 20 - Def. Wellington 18-1

*April 21 - Lost to Licking Heights 12-8

*April 22 - Def. Harvest Prep 15-2

Last Saturday - Def. Whetstone 7-2; lost to Olentangy Orange 16-0 in five innings. Orange pitcher Mason Robinson threw a no-hitter.

*Last Monday - Game against Liberty Union postponed

Last Tuesday - Played Jonathan Alder

*Last Wednesday - Played Millers-port

*Friday - At Berne Union

Saturday - Home vs. Grove City Christian (DH)

*Monday - At Fisher Catholic

Wednesday - At Whitehall

Of note: The Bobcats were 5-10 overall and were 2-8 in the MSL-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

TRACK & FIELD

April 20 - Boys: Finished first (72) ahead of London (60) and Yellow Springs (39). Girls: Did not compete.

Last Friday - Boys: Finished third (81) at Bobcat Booster Invitational behind Jonathan Alder (134) and Liberty Union (107). Finishing first were Ryan Schofield in 300 hurdles (42.9) and the 3,200 relay (8:38.5). Girls: Finished first (163) at Bobcat Booster Invitational. Finishing first were Paige Lachey in high jump (4-8), 100 hurdles (15.8) and 300 hurdles (47.9), Jordan Fitzgerald in 200 (28.2) and the 3,200 relay (10:15.9).

Friday - At Hamilton Township's Ranger Invitational

*MSL-Cardinal and MSL-Cardinal/Ohio contest