For the fourth consecutive season, the school district's four high school baseball teams will play in the South-Western City Schools Classic.

For the fourth consecutive season, the school district's four high school baseball teams will play in the South-Western City Schools Classic.

The opening round will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, with Central Crossing at Grove City and Franklin Heights at Westland. The final and consolation will be at 1:30 p.m., with the final at Westland and the consolation at Grove City.

"It's great for our community and for the South-Western City Schools that we have this," Grove City coach Ryan Alexander said.

"I know our kids get up for it," Central Crossing coach Scott Todd said.

"It's a pride factor. One of those schools would like to have the bragging right saying they have the best baseball team in the district. It's very competitive, but fun in nature."

The familiarity among the four schools adds to the atmosphere, and so does good baseball.

The Classic has that in the opening-round matchup between Central Crossing and Grove City. The teams were a combined 22-8 through last Saturday, both winning with pitching and defense.

"Our starters have been right around two walks per game," Alexander said. "We preach a lot to our pitchers to throw strikes. We have a great defense and we teach strikes, strikes, strikes. Walks have killed us in our losses."

Mike Mayers has emerged as Grove City's ace followed by Jonnie Owen and Zach Maynard. Tyler Raymond, Patrick Jackson and Brian Snesac have provided depth out of the bullpen.

Central Crossing returned all four of its starting pitchers in Tommy Black, Simon Davis, Cody McManaway and Tyler Miller, and Todd has not been disappointed.

"Our pitching staff has been unbelievable," he said before the Comets beat Whetstone 11-1 and Olentangy Orange 6-4 last Saturday.

"We have a team ERA below a 3.00. When teams score runs on us, they earn it. Our losses were not because we were beating ourselves, the other teams just put the ball in play and are getting hits."

The status of the pitching staffs will be a big question mark Saturday.

Weather postponements have bottlenecked OCC schedules for Central Crossing and GroveCity.

Starting last Monday, Central Crossing had five OCC-Central Division games scheduled and Grove City had four OCC-Ohio games scheduled this week.

"It'll come down to whoever has the best pitchers left by Saturday," Alexander said.

"Everyone is playing so many games, it'll come down to starting pitching by Saturday."

Westland dropped to 5-8 overall after a 12-5 loss to Worthington Kilbourne last Monday, and Franklin Heights fell to 3-14 after losing to Mount Vernon 31-0 last Monday.

Franklin Heights is back in the event after Northridge took its place last season.

Grove City has won all three Classics.

Last season, the Greyhounds beat Westland 11-7 and Northridge 16-0. The first Classic was scheduled in 2005, but the event was canceled because of bad weather.

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Central Crossing and Grove City baseball teams:

CENTRAL CROSSING

*April 21 -- Game vs. Upper Arlington postponed. No makeup date has been announced.

*April 22 -- Lost to Dublin Coffman 5-1

*April 23 -- Defeated Worthington Kilbourne 14-1

*Last Friday -- Lost to Hilliard Darby 9-0

Last Saturday -- Def. Whetstone 11-1; def. Olentangy Orange 6-4

*Last Monday -- Lost to Hilliard Davidson 3-2 in 10 innings

*Last Tuesday -- Played Coffman

*Last Wednesday -- Played UA

*Today -- At Westland

*Friday -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Saturday -- At South-Western City Schools Classic at Grove City vs. Grove City. Franklin Heights will play Westland in other semifinal. The winners will play the final at Westland, with the third-place game at Grove City.

*Monday -- At Thomas Worthington

Tuesday -- At Marion Franklin

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Westland

Of note: The Comets were 9-5 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game

GROVE CITY

*April 22 -- Def. Reynoldsburg 10-8

*April 23 -- Lost to Newark 4-3

*Last Friday -- Def. Groveport 10-3

Last Saturday -- Def. Licking Valley 7-1; def. Licking Valley 11-1

*Last Monday -- Def. Lancaster 6-3

*Last Tuesday -- Played Gahanna

*Last Wednesday -- Played Newark

*Friday -- At Gahanna

Saturday -- Home South-Western City Schools Classic

*Monday -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Pickerington North

*Wednesday -- At Pickerington North

Of note: The Greyhounds were 14-4 overall and 6-2 in the OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio game