Coach Tony Cleveland is looking for a boost for his Johnstown-Monroe High School baseball team, and the Johnnies figure to receive that when senior Scott Sammons returns to shore up the outfield.
Sammons, a two-year starter who suffered a pelvic fracture playing basketball, was expected back April 13 for a doubleheader against Caledonia River Valley.
"Scott was supposed to be a mainstay in center field for us and we would build things around him," said Cleveland, whose team was 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the MBC before playing East Knox on April 12. "We didn't have many guys with a lot of varsity time in the outfield. Preston Hiles is our only (other) returning outfielder that had a lot of quality playing time.
"When you have a guy like Scott Sammons who basically played his sophomore and junior years behind a couple of good senior classes, he learned how to play the game, and he was going to play center field and rule the roost. He paid his dues and his time is now, but he had to start the year by sitting and watching."
Big innings have plagued the Johnnies. In a 6-1 loss to Utica on April 8 in the MBC opener, they gave up four runs in the seventh to break open a one-run game.
On April 9 in a league game against Danville, they gave up 10 runs in the first inning and lost 15-5 in five innings.
"Right now, we need to work on the little things," Cleveland said. "Defensively, we're making too many errors and we need to settle in and find ourselves a bit."
The Johnnies defeated Piketon 6-2 on April 6 at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe. Josh Kirkpatrick picked up the win, striking out five and surrendering one earned run. Jakob Cramer had a double, single and two RBI, and Zach LaRue added a double and single, one RBI and scored twice.
"Maybe being run-ruled by Danville might be the best thing to happen to us," Cleveland said. "We probably should be 5-2, but we haven't been finishing games. Maybe that woke us up."
Track teams prepare for Thompson Relays
The boys and girls track and field teams will be the hosts Thursday, April 18, for the Vic Thompson Relays.
The event also includes Lakewood, Millersport, Newark Catholic and Northridge.
Last year, the Johnstown girls won with 57 points, finishing ahead of Newark Catholic (27) and Northridge (21). The boys finished second (48) behind Newark Catholic (55) and ahead of Northridge (8).
Softball team hitting ball 'all over' field
The softball team was 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the MBC before playing East Knox on April 12.
The Johnnies opened league play by defeating Utica 4-1 on April 8 before losing to Danville 9-7 on April 9.
"We would have beaten Danville except we had seven errors that led to seven unearned runs, but I guess that's just a part of softball," coach Steve Smith said. "We had been playing well defensively, but something always happens when we go to Danville and it never seems to be good."
Winning pitcher Maddie Lusk struck out seven and walked one against Utica. Lusk, Natalie Carpenter and Rachel Shadwick all had one double.
Carpenter had two doubles against Danville, while Lusk and Erin McConnell both doubled and singled.
Johnstown also won a pair of non-league games April 6, defeating Westerville North 4-2 and Westland 15-5 in five innings.
"We played well against Westerville North and Westland and really played to our potential," Smith said. "That game against Westerville North was just one heck of a softball game. Good pitching, good defense, timely hitting ... it was great to be a part of that.
"We have been hitting better this year, putting the bat on the ball. We have been hitting the ball all over the place and that's something we need to continue to do."