Hilliard Davidson High School softball coach Angelo Forte never is one to shy away from tough competition and that again will be the case Friday and Saturday at Beekman Park.
The Wildcats will play three games against top-flight teams in the Centennial Stellar Classic. They open at 9 p.m. Friday against Westerville Central and will play two games Saturday -- 5 p.m. against New Concord John Glenn and 7 p.m. against Strasburg-Franklin.
"We have a daunting task in front of us, but that's the competition we like to face," said Forte, whose team lost to OCC-Buckeye Division-rival Grove City 5-1 last Monday and played Upper Arlington last Wednesday. "We'll just have to suit up and get better.
"We always try to get one game under the lights and we have that with our opener. It's always good for the girls to play under the lights because it's such a great atmosphere."
John Glenn was 9-1 overall before last Monday. The Muskies lost to Circleville 4-3 in a Division II regional final last season at Pickerington Central. Strasburg was 11-2 after defeating Navarre Fairless 4-1 and Lancaster 3-1 last Saturday. The Tigers were ranked third in the Division IV state poll last week. They lost to eventual state champion Dalton 3-2 last spring in a Division IV regional final at Kent State.
"Westerville Central will be very good and John Glenn is always an outstanding team," Forte said. "You add in games with Grove City (last Monday) and Upper Arlington (last Wednesday) and it makes for a pretty busy week."
Last year in the Stellar Classic, Davidson beat Brookville 1-0 and Toledo Start 3-0 and lost to North Union 11-0, but the decision against North Union later was reversed, giving Davidson a win after North Union was forced to forfeit for using an ineligible player.
"This is the fifth year of the tournament and we started with 32 teams and this year we are going to have 52," said Larry Howell, who coaches the host Centennial team. "It's a lot of fun, but it seems like you can always have some sort of snafu when it comes to scheduling. This year we had three teams -- Bellbrook, Vermilion and Sandusky -- drop out all on the same day last week. That had us scrambling, but we were able to fix things. (Hilliard) Darby will come in and pick up two of the games for us."
Davidson had lost three consecutive games before winning a doubleheader last Saturday at Tipp City Tippecanoe. The Wildcats won 3-1 in nine innings in the opener and also 3-1 in the second contest.
"We played well defensively in the first game (against Tippecanoe) and that is something that has been a problem for us," Forte said. "We made some mistakes that had been putting us behind early in games. We were also hitting well (last Saturday), which always helps"
One defensive liability has been shuffling the lineup because junior third baseman-shortstop Abbey Parsley has been out with an ankle injury.
We brought Mallory Sodders up (from junior varsity) to play second base against Scioto and she had a double, a single and scored a run," Forte said.
"Having Parsley out has been tough because she really kind of solidifies our defense."
Through 13 games, Zoe Allegretti was hitting .402 and Alex Schueler was at .382. Livi Allegretti was hitting .321 with 11 RBI.
Schueler was 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA in 24 innings. She had 27 strikeouts and four walks. Erika Reese was 4-6 with a 1.75 ERA in 64 innings. She had 62 strikeouts and 20 walks.
"I'm really excited and looking forward to the second half of league, which (started last) Wednesday," Forte said. "I think we're ready to get on a roll right here before the tournament starts."
The drawing for the Division I district will be May 4 at Pickerington North, with first-round games beginning May 12.
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Davidson softball team:
*April 14 -- Lost to Dublin Coffman 6-4
*April 16 -- Lost to Westerville North 4-1. Megan Banaag had two hits, including a triple and Alex Schueler added an RBI-single.
Last Friday -- Lost to Dublin Scioto 6-2. Banaag had two singles and Mallory Sodders had a single, double and scored. Amy Friloux doubled and Livi Allegretti added an RBI-single.
Last Saturday -- Defeated Tipp City Tippecanoe 3-1 in nine innings and 3-1. In the first game, Schueler pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts and two walks. She also doubled, singled, scored twice and drove in another. Allegretti had two singles and Tessa Kilgore singled with two RBI. In the second game, Erika Reese struck out nine with one walk. Schueler was 3-for-3 with a double, run and RBI. Allegretti singled twice with two RBI and Friloux added two singles.
*Last Monday -- Lost to Grove City 5-1
*Last Wednesday -- Played Upper Arlington
Friday -- At Beekman Park vs. Westerville Central in Centennial Stellar Classic
Saturday -- At Beekman Park vs. New Concord John Glenn and Strasburg in the Stellar Classic
*Monday -- At Reynoldsburg. The Wildcats won 5-4 on April 9.
*Wednesday -- At Coffman
May 1 -- Home vs. Centennial. Davidson won 11-1 in six innings last season.
Of note: The Wildcats were 7-7 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Wednesday.