With a third consecutive MBC championship out of the picture, the Northridge High School softball team has focused its attention on the postseason.

With a third consecutive MBC championship out of the picture, the Northridge High School softball team has focused its attention on the postseason.

The Vikings have dropped three of their last four league contests to fall to 8-4 in the MBC, three games behind first-place Loudonville (11-1) with two games remaining in the league schedule.

Northridge lost to East Knox 5-4 on April 20 and Centerburg 4-3 on April 23 before defeating Fredericktown 10-0 in five innings April 24 and losing to Loudonville 9-1 on April 25.

"Our schedule has been tough, but we scheduled the non-conference competition that we did with the tournament in mind," coach Bobbi Jones said. "There won't be any easy games in the postseason, so hopefully this will prepare us for that."

The Division III district tournament draw is Sunday, April 29.

"It really doesn't matter where we are seeded or who we play," Jones said. "We have to come out and play like we are able to play. If we do that, we'll be OK."

The Vikings also lost a pair of non-league games April 21 in the Gahanna Showcase, falling to Oregon Clay 3-0 in eight innings and Tipp City Tippecanoe 2-1.

Against Centerburg, Northridge allowed four runs in the third inning. Kara Barclay hit a two-run home run in the
seventh.

"We had 11 hits, but didn't put them together to score," Jones said. "We have to be more selective at the plate and get the timely hits.

"Everyone is putting a lot of pressure on themselves. They are trying to hit a home run every time they go to the plate. We just need to make contact and string some hits together."

Kassi Davidson tossed a no-hitter against Fredericktown.

Baseball team preps for tourney

The baseball team was 15-6 overall and 7-5 in the MBC after losing league games to East Knox (8-5 on April 20), Fredericktown (20-5 in five innings April 24) and Loudonville (22-9 in five innings April 25).

Northridge has been without leading hitter Ross Wilson, who was batting .548 though 11 games. The junior third baseman and pitcher rolled his left foot April 16 in the third inning of a 5-4, nine-inning win over Johnstown-Monroe.

"Losing Ross was tough and we had to rebuild our team chemistry," said coach Jeff Wilson, whose team played a doubleheader against Heath on April 28. "But Ross is healing fast and he came back and was available against Loudonville (on April 25) as a pinch-hitter. We hope to ease him back and use him in some capacity."

The Vikings play host to Utica on Monday, April 30. They handed Utica its only MBC loss, 5-3 on April 13.

"We plan to approach the Utica game as a do-or-die playoff game," coach Wilson said. "We gave them their only league loss two weeks ago, so we expect them to be coming at us hard to avenge that loss. If we play a solid game, put the ball in play and play solid defense, we can beat them. That's what we're going for."

Northridge was third in last week's Division III district coaches poll behind Bloom-Carroll and Fredericktown. The Vikings will learn their postseason path Sunday, April 29, in the district tournament draw.

"We have a very strong record in the district and we're hoping to have the possibility of getting a first-round bye," coach Wilson said. "I would like that so we could have some time to prepare the kids (for the postseason). There are some things we need to work on as well as the fact it will give us time to heal."