The South-Western City Schools Classic will honor high school baseball in the district on Saturday. The SWCS Classic is not a new concept. It has been around since 2005. Yet after what occurred since last year's tournament, it takes on a higher meaning.

The South-Western City Schools Classic will honor high school baseball in the district on Saturday. The SWCS Classic is not a new concept. It has been around since 2005. Yet after what occurred since last year's tournament, it takes on a higher meaning.

"We're playing baseball now because the voters in the South-Western School District decided to give back to the schools and bring back sports," Grove City coach Ryan Alexander said. "It definitely means a lot to our district as a whole."

Grove City, Central Crossing, Franklin Heights and Westland comprise the four-team, two-game tournament. According to Central Crossing coach Scott Todd, the final matchups haven't been determined. The first round games are at 10 a.m. Saturday at Central Crossing and Westland. The championship game is at 1:30 p.m. at Westland with the consolation game at 1:30 p.m. at Central Crossing.

"This means a lot to our kids," Todd said. "The tournament, as a whole, is a great atmosphere. Kids from all the schools grew up playing baseball together so it makes sense to play some very competitive games with one another. A lot of passion is shown by the players at each school."

Grove City won its fourth South-Western City Schools Classic title in a row last season. The Greyhounds beat Central Crossing 5-2 and then defeated Westland 12-0 in five innings as Luke Smurthwaite pitched a no-hitter.

Grove City appears to be the favorite again this season. The Greyhounds were ranked No. 4 in last week's Division I state poll behind defending state champion Cincinnati Moeller, Liberty Township Lakota East and Olentangy Liberty.

"Our guys are definitely working to remain at that level," Alexander said. "We're not blowing anybody out, so we better play good defense and pitch well. Those two things have happened for us."

While Grove City's pitching is led by University of Mississippi recruit Mike Mayers, the Greyhounds offense had two players, Tyler Raymond and Joey Ford, batting around .500 entering last Friday.

"We're getting a lot of production out of the top half of our lineup," Alexander said. "Korey Ayers bats second, Ford third and Raymond fourth."

Through 14 games, those three combined to drive in 54 runs.

Meanwhile, Central Crossing entered the season with inexperience throughout its lineup. As a result, the Comets offense got off to a slow start averaging 4.7 runs in its first 10 games.

"Our hitting has continued to improve," Todd said. "A lot of our guys worked hard in practice to correct some flaws they may have had earlier in the season."

Now, Central Crossing has more base runners, but the Comets are still searching to collect key hits on a consistent basis, especially with two outs.

Individually, the offensive emergence of Connor Spradling and Kevin Logan surprised Todd. Through 15 games, Spradling led the Comets with a .415 batting average followed by Caleb Woodson (.400), Chris Siders (.389) and Logan (.354).

"(Connor and Kevin) are both in their first year on varsity and among our top (four) hitters," Todd said.

As for the SWCS Classic's final two teams - Franklin Heights and Westland - they were a combined 6-25 overall and 0-15 in the OCC before last Friday.

"We're getting better," Westland coach David Daniels said. "I can see signs of life with us. We're starting to be more threatening offensively. We're cutting down on some of our mistakes."

At a glance

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

CENTRAL CROSSING

*April 14 - Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 9-2

*April 16 - Lost to Thomas Worthington 4-3

April 17 - Lost to Franklin Heights 8-7 and 9-8

*April 19 - Defeated Westland 13-11

*April 21 - Lost to Dublin Coffman 10-0

*Last Friday - Lost to Hilliard Darby 15-0

Last Saturday - Def. Brookhaven 15-1 and 18-3

*Last Monday - Game against Hilliard Davidson postponed

*Last Wednesday - Played Upper Arlington

*Friday - At Worthington Kilbourne

Saturday - At South-Western City Schools Classic

*Monday - Home vs. Thomas Worthington

Tuesday - At Gahanna Christian

*Wednesday - At Westland

Of note: The Comets were 6-11 overall and 1-8 in the OCC-Central before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Central game

GROVE CITY

*April 14 - Def. Gahanna 10-9

*April 16 - Home vs. Pickerington Central suspended because of darkness. The Tigers lead 12-7 in the top of the 11th inning with a runner on second base and no outs. Game will be completed before the second-round meeting Monday at Central.

April 17 - Lost to Huber Heights Wayne 8-7; def. Huber Heights Wayne 7-1

*April 19 - Def. Pickerington North 4-3

*April 21 - Def. Reynoldsburg 7-3

*Last Friday - Def. Groveport 11-1

Last Saturday - Def. Upper Arlington 7-1 and def. Hilliard Davidson 8-3 to win the Newark Tournament

*Last Monday - Game against Lancaster postponed

*Last Wednesday - Played Newark

*Friday - Home vs. Gahanna

Saturday - At SWCS Classic

*Monday - At Pickerington Central

*Wednesday - Home vs. Pickerington North

Of note: The Greyhounds were 16-2 overall and 8-0 in the OCC-Ohio before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Ohio game