The Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team experienced the highs and lows of the sport in a two-day period.
On April 22, the Johnnies defeated Northridge 11-3, handing the Vikings their first MBC loss. A day later, they rallied to tie Utica in the sixth inning and took a three-run lead in the seventh, only to fall short in a 7-6 league loss.
"We played well (against) Northridge, so I guess the softball gods blessed us this time," coach Steve Smith said after his team's 14-hit attack against the Vikings. "Our bats fell silent the (previous) three games (losses to Teays Valley 6-0 and Watterson 5-3 on April 20 and a 3-0 loss to East Knox on April 18), but they came back, hopefully for a while."
The offense also delivered against Utica, but it wasn't enough in the seesaw game. Senior Keymell Cartwright (INF/OF) hit two home runs, a single and scored three times after singling twice and scoring twice against Northridge.
"We were thinking about (the Northridge) game all weekend," said Cartwright, who has committed to play at American International College in Springfield, Mass. "We came out and it was 'go time.' We came out ready to play."
Junior shortstop Natalie Carpenter doubled, singled, drove in four runs, scored three times and stole a base against Northridge.
"We knew we had to come out ready to play and get our bats going," said Carpenter, whose team was 6-9 overall and 4-3 in the MBC after beating Fredericktown 7-4 on April 25 and before playing Danville on April 26. "(The Vikings) were unbeaten in the league and we knew we had to play our best."
Junior Rachel Shadwick (OF) singled three times and scored three runs against the Vikings, and senior Lauren Baldwin (OF), senior Kourtnee Derflinger (1B) and freshman Erin McConnell (C) all had two singles. Freshman pitcher Maddi Lusk had five strikeouts and three walks.
"They really came together as a team and the bats came alive," Smith said. "We're glad to have won (against Northridge), but we can't get too high because there's a lot of softball left to play."
Lusk took the loss against Utica, striking out seven and walking three, and she also had two singles. Shadwick doubled and singled, and McConnell singled twice.
The Johnnies had a league game at Loudonville postponed April 19 and rescheduled for May 10.
Baseball team bounces back
The baseball team was 4-10 overall and 2-5 in the MBC after losing to Fredericktown 13-2 on April 25 and before playing Danville on April 26.
The Johnnies lost to Northridge 7-4 on April 22, but rebounded to defeat Utica 9-1 a day later.
"We can't dwell on (the loss to Northridge)," coach Tony Cleveland said. "This time of year we have games every day. You have to be ready to play every day."
Johnstown trailed the Vikings 3-0, but rallied to tie the game at 3 in the sixth inning before giving up four runs in the seventh.
"We fought hard and persevered," Cleveland said. "This can be an up-and-down game."
Against Utica, senior Preston Hiles (OF) had two singles, scored two runs and drove in one, and junior Clayton Bullard (1B/C) had two singles and two RBI. Junior Jakob Cramer (INF) had an RBI single and two stolen bases.
Junior Zach LaRue gave up one run and struck out three in six innings.
The Johnnies dropped two games April 20, losing to Gallipolis Gallia Academy 8-0 and Williamsport Westfall 10-4.
Johnstown had a league game at Loudonville postponed April 19 and rescheduled for May 10.
Girls track team edged by Redbirds
The girls track and field team finished second (95) of four teams behind host Loudonville (108) in a meet April 23.
Junior McCalah Mast won the 1,600 meters (6 minutes, 2.11 seconds) and the 3,200 (13:42.55), and sophomore Elizabeth Blenk won the 100 hurdles (18.11) and 300 hurdles (50.06). Senior Kendall Colvin won the high jump (5 feet).
Coach Jerry Tackett said the boys team finished third behind champion Utica. Freshman Kaleb Walker won the 800 (2:25.52).