Coach Jeff Wilson wanted to turn up the heat on his Northridge High School baseball team.
In its first 10 games, Division III Northridge played three Division I teams and one Division II team. The Vikings lost to Olentangy Orange 4-3 on March 30 and to Thomas Worthington 9-0 and Westerville Central 4-2, both on April 13. They defeated Division II Brookhaven 35-0 in five innings April 3.
"Our kids have come to realize that Division I players are just like they are," said Wilson, whose team was 6-5 overall after defeating Shekinah Christian 6-5 in nine innings April 18. "Our kids have found out that they can take the field and play with anyone."
The Vikings defeated Centerburg 8-7 in nine innings April 17 to improve to 3-1 in the MBC before playing Utica on April 19. Senior outfielder Storm Strout led off the ninth with a single and was moved up on a sacrifice bunt by junior infielder Greg Wilson. Senior first baseman Ross Wilson was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second with one out, setting the stage for the game-winning single by sophomore outfielder Clayton Nicks between the first and second basemen.
"We're strong physically, but we have to pick things up mentally," coach Wilson said. "We're still making mental mistakes like not calling players off on routine pop-ups. That's something that we've got to be able to do."
Through 10 games, Northridge had a team batting average of .333 led by Nicks, who was hitting .500 (18-for-36) with 12 runs, six doubles and 17 RBI.
Sophomore Matt Simmons (C/INF) was batting .463 with two home runs, 12 runs and 15 RBI, and sophomore Ethan Chalfant (INF) was hitting .414 with six runs and 12 RBI. Greg Wilson was batting .406 with 17 runs, 18 stolen bases and seven RBI, and sophomore Jerrad Carr (C) was batting .379 with eight runs, three doubles, one homer and 11 RBI. Strout was hitting .345 with 13 runs, six stolen bases and five RBI.
The Vikings fell to Fredericktown 4-3 in eight innings April 15 for their first MBC loss.
On April 16, Northridge led Loudonville 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when play was suspended because of rain and lightning. The game will be resumed Thursday, April 25, with no outs and runners at second and third for the Vikings.
Girls track team takes second in relays
The girls track and field team finished second (57 points) in the six-team Vic Thompson Relays on April 18 behind host Johnstown-Monroe (80) and ahead of Lakewood (40), Newark Catholic (39), New Lexington (38) and Millersport (15).
The boys team was fifth (36) behind Lakewood (70), Millersport (48), Newark Catholic (45) and New Lexington (39) and ahead of Johnstown (33).
The girls team won five events, including the discus and shot put. Jana Choberka threw 82 feet, 5 inches in the discus, followed by Belinda Marcum (78-4) and Christa Patton (57-5). In the shot put, Taylor Rose threw 28-1, followed by Choberka (27-4) and Patton (24-4).
The Vikings won the long jump as Caitlyn Tulloss cleared 14-9 1/4, followed by Jillian Choberka (13-7 1/2) and Cortney Schneider (12-9 1/2).
Hayley Menix, Ellie Shedloski, Hannah Shank and Tulloss won the 400-meter relay (56.4 seconds) and 800 relay (1:50.6).
"We had our big four go in the (sprint) relays, and they did well for us," coach Jeff Dingess said. "We also did well in the field events."
Winning ways continue for softball team
The softball team defeated Newark 4-1 on April 18 and was 11-1 overall and 4-0 in the MBC before playing Utica on April 19.
The Vikings lost their first game April 13 while splitting a doubleheader with perennial state power Lakewood. They lost the opener 6-0, but won the second game 3-2 in 10 innings. Freshman infielder Savannah Legg doubled and singled in the opener and sophomore infielder Mikaela Pankuch added two singles.
In the second game, Legg had two doubles and junior outfielder Courtney Legg and sophomore infielder Megan Hatfield both had two singles.
Northridge defeated Fredericktown 3-1 on April 15. The Vikings also beat Centerburg 3-2 on April 17 when senior pitcher Kassi Davison scored the winning run on an RBI single by senior outfielder Faith Hiser. Hatfield and Pankuch both had solo homers, and Davison struck out 12 and walked none in a three-hit performance.
An MBC game at home against Loudonville was suspended after three scoreless innings April 16 because of bad weather. It will be resumed Thursday, April 25, and the non-league contest at home against Licking Valley that day was postponed.