Cleveland resigns as baseball coach
Anthony Cleveland resigned May 9 from his position as Johnstown-Monroe High School baseball coach.
On May 10, interim school district superintendent Thomas Slater said Cleveland was asked to resign over an incident during a 12-1 loss May 6 at home against Loudonville.
"We had an incident that we thought was unprofessional," Slater said. "Since it's a disciplinary issue, we can't go into details for legal reasons. We had a conversation with (Cleveland) and he decided to resign."
Assistant coach Todd Sammons is taking over the team for the remainder of the season. The Johnnies were 8-16 overall before playing Centennial on May 11 and are 5-8 in the MBC.
Athletics director Nick McIlwain said he had "no comment at this time."
"I turned in my report on the situation (May 8)," Cleveland said. "On (May 9), (McIlwain) called and told me I was suspended for the rest of the season. I asked if that was including tournaments, and (McIlwain) said, 'Yes.' He added that the board and the superintendent also thought I should resign and they wanted my resignation by 3 p.m."
Cleveland said he has left the program in better shape than when he took the position.
"I put in a lot of work at Johnstown and tried to do well by the program," said Cleveland, who was 19-32 overall and 11-16 in the MBC with the Johnnies. "We now have a true home-plate area and a real pitcher's mound. When I got here, we didn't have baseballs or batting tees, now we have a batting cage. My focus was to make (Johnstown) an incredible program and make it known throughout the state."
On Tuesday, May 14, the 17th-seeded Johnnies play in the first round of the Division III district tournament at 13th-seeded West Jefferson, which beat Johnstown 9-5 on May 4.
The winner advances to play at seventh-seeded Galion Northmor on Thursday, May 16. The Johnnies have not played Northmor this season.
That winner plays second-seeded Fredericktown, 19th-seeded Fairbanks or 20th-seeded Cardington in a district semifinal May 20 at Worthington Kilbourne.
Last season, the Johnnies lost to Fredericktown 4-3 in the second round after defeating Fairbanks 8-1 in the first round.
Also on May 4, senior left-hander Preston Hiles threw a six-hitter with four strikeouts in an 8-2 win over Williamsport Westfall.
Junior Josh Kirkpatrick (INF) had three hits and junior Loren Queen (OF) had two hits and drove in two runs.
The Johnnies also lost to Northridge 5-0 on May 7.
Softball team opens with Mount Gilead
The softball team is seeded 10th in the Division III district tournament and opens Monday, May 13, at home against 19th-seeded Mount Gilead.
The teams have not played this season.
"I was very pleased with the draw," said coach Steve Smith, whose team was 12-12 overall before playing Newark Catholic on May 11 and are 8-5 in the MBC. "We were able to get a home game and play Mount Gilead, but it doesn't make a difference who we play. Everyone is always giving 100 percent in the tournament because you have to be ready or you go home."
The winner plays Wednesday, May 15, at fifth-seeded North Union. The Johnnies have not played North Union this season.
That winner advances to a district semifinal May 20 at Pickerington North against second-seeded Heath or 17th-seeded Grandview.
Last season, the Johnnies lost to Bloom-Carroll 6-0 in the second round after a first-round bye.
Johnstown had won eight of 11 games before losing to River Valley 14-1 in six innings May 9.
Freshman Maddi Lusk struck out 10 in a three-hit performance May 3 in an 8-1 league win over Fredericktown. Freshman Erin McConnell (C) doubled and drove in two runs and junior Natalie Carpenter (SS) also doubled.
Lusk drove in two runs and tripled while also picking up the win in an 8-3 league victory over Loudonville on May 6.
Johnstown lost a 1-0 pitchers' duel May 7 against Northridge. Lusk took the loss against the Vikings' Kassi Davison. Carpenter tripled for the Johnnies' only hit.
"The girls played well and it was a heck of a ballgame (against Northridge)," Smith said. "But it just goes that way sometimes. That Davison girl was throwing good pitches and it was just her night. I'm definitely not disappointed in any way."
Girls track team aims to defend MBC title
The track and field teams will compete Tuesday, May 14, in the MBC meet at Loudonville.
Last season, the girls team won its third MBC championship in four years by scoring 149 points in the league meet. Loudonville (123) finished second, followed by host Fredericktown (118), Danville (73), Northridge (61), Centerburg (57), East Knox (31) and Utica (31).
The boys team was fifth (82) behind Loudonville (133.75), Utica (112), Centerburg (102) and East Knox (88.75) and ahead of Fredericktown (74.5), Danville (47) and Northridge (15).
In the Licking County Honor Roll Meet on May 8 at Granville, which pits the top eight performers in each event from throughout the county, sophomore Elizabeth Blenk led the girls team by winning the long jump (16 feet, 4 1/4 inches). She also was fifth in the high jump (4-9 3/4) and 300-meter hurdles (49.55 seconds).
Senior Kendall Colvin won the high jump (5-3).
Blenk joined senior Marissa Sheets, junior Kylie Workman and junior Tanner Jakeway on the fifth-place 800 relay (1:53.53).
The 3,200 relay of junior Jessica Turner, junior Taylor Thomas, freshman Grace Mast and junior McCalah Mast was sixth (10:47.33) and the 400 relay of Jakeway, Workman, freshman Abi LaRoche and Sheets also was sixth (54.18).
Sheets was fourth in the 400 (1:01.49) and seventh in the 200 (28.18). Senior Abby Smith was fourth in the shot put (29-3 1/2) and eighth in the discus (69-2 1/4). McCalah Mast was fourth in the 3,200 (12:59.94).
Junior Alex Workman led the boys team with a fifth-place finish in the pole vault (12-5 1/4).
Sophomore Marcus Nogaj (200; 24.74) and freshman Josiah Annis (pole vault; 12-0) both finished seventh.