Hilliard Davidson High School softball coach Kate Speakman doesn't believe that her team has any glaring weaknesses.
However, consistency in all phases of the game has been an issue for the Wildcats, who were 8-7 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Central Division after losing to Marysville 7-0 on April 22.
"We have all of the tools we need to win games," Speakman said. "We've hit the ball well, played good defense and had good pitching against some very good teams. Our biggest issue has been consistency, because we've had games where we haven't played well in one or more of those areas. The more consistent we are, the more success we'll have."
Among the Wildcats' offensive leaders through 14 games were pitcher Taylor Moore (.406 batting average), catcher Cassidy Rowe (.373) and second baseman Ally Doty (.360).
First baseman Charlee Clark had two home runs to lead the Wildcats, who were averaging 5.3 runs through 14 games. She hit a two-run homer in a 12-9 win over host Olentangy Orange on April 2 and a three-run homer in a 7-5, eight-inning victory over host Upper Arlington on April 15.
"Typically, our hitting has been consistently good," Speakman said. "We didn't hit the ball well (April 18 in a 10-0 loss to) Olentangy Liberty, but we've hit consistently well in the rest of our games."
Speakman has been pleased with the play of Moore and Rowe and said shortstop Lizzy Doby has been the team's best defensive player in the infield.
Davidson made a strong showing in the Valley of the Thunder tournament April 12 and 13 in Portsmouth by going 3-0. The Wildcats defeated Wheelersburg 2-1 and Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 6-2 on April 12 and defeated Smithville 7-5 the next day.
"We played great competition under the lights at the Valley of the Thunder and our girls responded well to the challenge," Speakman said.
However, the Wildcats' defense let them down in league losses to Central Crossing (8-7 on April 4 and 3-2 on April 10) and Dublin Coffman (8-4 on April 8).
Davidson held a six-run lead over Central Crossing in the bottom of the third inning of the first matchup and had a one-run lead against the Comets through five innings in the second matchup.
The Wildcats had a three-run lead in the bottom of the third inning against Coffman.
"We have great potential, but we need to learn to play better with the lead because we've had a couple of games where we've made a bunch of errors and collapsed in the late innings," Speakman said.
Jaguars searching for winning recipe
Bradley won only three of its first 12 games.
"We're struggling, to say the least," said coach Kevin Moody, whose team defeated Darby 5-4 on April 22. "We're just not mixing well. We're playing about five good innings per game, but we have one or two innings where we'll implode.
"We need to get better in every aspect of the game. Our pitchers need to hit their spots more. We need to hit with more confidence and we need to cut down on our defensive mistakes."
According to Moody, outfielder Paige Wiley has been the Jaguars' most productive offensive player and shortstop Meredith Miller has been their most consistent player in the field.
Bradley travels to Westerville South on Friday, April 26, for an OCC-Cardinal game. The Jaguars lost to the Wildcats 6-3 on April 10.
"It would be nice to beat one of these teams that beat us earlier in the season," Moody said. "The good news is the kids' attitudes are still strong. They are still willing to fight."
Panthers' offense starting to pick up
Darby went 2-3 last week, beating Dublin Scioto 8-4 in an OCC-Cardinal game April 17 and Whitehall 11-8 on April 20.
Against Scioto, catcher Abby Schuster hit a two-run triple and pitcher Savannah Pizzurro threw a six-hitter.
Pizzurro pitched the final two innings against Whitehall to earn the win and first baseman Kerri Hay went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
"Our hitting is coming around and we've been scoring more runs lately," coach Erin McClincy said. "Savannah Pizzurro and Logan Cortelletti both pitched well for us in our win over Dublin Scioto, too."
Darby will play host to Westerville Central on Thursday, April 25, in a league game.
"Westerville Central is one of the top performers in our league, so it would give us a big confidence boost to beat them," McClincy said.